Whitefish Lake Golf Club is a Public, 36 hole golf facility located in Whitefish, Montana. The facility has two 18-hole golf courses. They are The South Course and The North Course.
South Championship 18
Stats Yardage Slope Rating
Blue 6551 131 71.6
White 6128 125 69.3
Red 6361 126 71.2
In the late 1920's several Whitefish residents bought 104 acres of land for $1600 just west of Whitefish for a golf course. In those days money was hard to get, and the course development became a slow process. They cleared the land for what was to become fairway number one and two as well as part of number three (present woods nine).
At that time, grants could be received for municipalities to build emergency landing fields. The City applied for and received the grant to build the golf course / landing field. The property owners, golfers, donated the land to the County on October 29, 1933 which then transferred it to the City of Whitefish on January 15, 1934 with the stipulation that it would become a golf course for local golfers and double as an emergency landing strip.
This was accomplished in 1935 with the funding coming via the WPA, which also built the Log Clubhouse / terminal finishing that project in 1937. Brad Seeley, a civil engineer, came to Whitefish from Helena to approve the final project. The Grand Opening Tournament was held on May 24, 1936.
The City of Whitefish began operating the golf course, incurred debt and lost money at the same time. In the 1940's the City considered closing the golf course, when local golfers incorporated the Whitefish Golf Lake Golf Association and leased the course from the City and also assumed the debt. From that time until the present the Whitefish Lake Golf Association has operated the course on a not for profit or break even basis.
In the 1950's the WLGA bought the adjoining property for $8400 necessary to add the Lake Nine additional nine holes. This property was developed during the early 1960's Whitefish thus becoming an eighteen-hole course. Mr. G.A. MacMillan design the new addition. Most of the development work was done via volunteer workers and donated equipment but still cost the association nearly $70,000 to complete. Numerous young golfers earned golf privileges by picking rocks off the fairways. In 1964 the Golf Association purchased the original driving range for $7,000, that land is now part of the South Course.
As the popularity of the 18-hole course grew the WLGA began to look for ways to update the land operated irrigation system to one that was automated. In 1973-74, matching Federal grants became available from the Bureau of Land Management and Recreation, whereby an agreement to donate the Lake Nine (LOT 4) to the City of Whitefish was reached that enabled the WLGA to upgrade the irrigation system. This agreement called for the continued use of the property exclusively for golf with preference given to local golfers. In addition, the Whitefish Lake Golf Association helped the development of City Park property across the highway spending $17,000 for tennis courts and helped with the soccer fields.
With the continued growth of golf in Whitefish the existing 18-hole course was soon operating at near capacity. The population was growing with demand for golf exceeding availability in Western Montana, so a group of local entrepreneurs bought property south of Highway 93 across from the existing course. This group, Grouse Mountain Development and headed by Tim Grattan, built additional nine holes that was called the Mountain Nine and completed in the early 1980's. The Grouse Mountain Development principals leased the completed nine holes to the Whitefish Lake Golf Association for one dollar per year of 75 years with a renewable option with the same terms. The property was covered by covenants that state the only use of the land will be for golf course operation, with WLGA assuming all responsibility for maintenance and taxes and all other operating costs. Throughout the 1980's the course operated as a 27-hole facility. Also in the early eighties the another group of golfers expressed to the Board that additional property was available to build another nine holes to make Whitefish Lake Golf Course a 36 hole facility. The Board declined to exercise that option from Walt Nussbaum and Don Jensen due to a perceived lack of need.
The Association did however; feel that a needed upgrade or remodel of the original 18 holes (North Course) was due.. Golf course Architect, John Steidel was hired and the remodel was accomplished in 1983 for the Woods Nine and 1985 for the Lake Nine at a cost of nearly $750,000. The move proved extremely popular with the members and green fee players to the extreme that often in order to obtain tee times two days in advance a player would need to be in line by 4:30 A.M. It was then in the late 1980's that the WLGA Board of Directors began the acquisition of land to add another nine holes to form the South Course. The South Course development took four years to be built, grow in and finally open in June of 1994. The total cost of the additional nine holes and remodel of the now incorporated Mountain Nine was $1,200,000. Golf Architect John Steidel was again engaged to design the addition and remodel phases of the expansion project.
Unfortunately, five of the wettest years in history occurred during the early 1990's and sections of the South Course were flooded beyond playability in April of 1996. The WLGA returned to various agencies for permits in order to reclaim the flooded property. Raising the entire area adjacent to Lost Coon Lake by over 4 feet and rebuilding the affected fairways, greens and tees costing another $400,000 to re-open the course in July of 1998.
Throughout all of the time it has taken to build the Whitefish Lake Golf Course into a 36-hole complex in Montana, the Golf Association and their Board of Directors, have always operated on a volunteer basis. All of the monies generated from the operations have been put back into course improvement, equipment, other capital expenses or paid out to the City of Whitefish as Lease payments. The goal of the Association is to continue it's cooperative relationship with the City of Whitefish, while maintaining the highest quality golf facility at an affordable price for local golfers.
$41 (cart included), played on Friday, July 2018 at 1:39 PM
There are two courses here the North and South. The south is rolling through the hills and pines that offers views and a hearty walk. Greens and fairway in real good shape. Some very large greens. The ability to turn the ball is a huge plus here. Because it goes through the hills watch out for the sloping fairways that will bounce you into bear country. $63 plus $38 for a cart. Very good test of golf. My rating A-.
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