In Flathead Valley, Mont., getting to know Whitefish, Kalispell, Columbia Falls, Bigfork and Glacier National Park can be done while enjoying a great game of golf. Golf courses nestled among the forests of Montana offer golfers an exciting mix of the state’s top tourist attractions: geographic sightseeing and wildlife viewing.
Golf magazine ranked the Flathead as one of its top 50 golf destinations, likely due to its scenic backdrop of lake views and lively birds. (Flathead Valley is home to over 95 species of birds.)
Those wishing to see wildlife can be appeased on the greens as encounters with all kinds of animals are possible. This year a moose was sighted in Whitefish and bear sightings usually occur in the fall.
Nine championship courses lie within a 45-minute drive of each other, thus different courses can be easily played without having to find multiple lodgings.
Both private and public courses are available, such as Whitefish’s 36-hole public golf course, Kalispell’s two riverfront public courses and exclusive Big Mountain Golf Courses, Columbia Falls’ Meadow Lake private course, Bigfork’s Eagle Bend and 18 holes beside Glacier National Park.
With new golfers in mind, most area courses offer clinics and classes including women-only clinics and juniors and beginners classes.