Golf doesn’t get much better than it is in the Gallatin Valley. With a vista that is equal parts blue sky, mountain ranges, and green rolling hills, the greatest game is at its best. Black Bull Golf Club is the pinnacle of golf in an already fantastic Gallatin Valley.
As the sun rose over the mountains and illuminated the green rolling hills, I walked on to the putting green at Black Bull Golf Club. It was there that I met my host for my first trip around Black Bull, Nick Obie. A gracious host and even better stick, Nick who works as a wealth manager in the Bozeman area, had invited me to play Black Bull after hearing of my journey the night before we played. We visited about the courses I had played around the state so far and Nick assured me that I would love my first round at Black Bull.
He wasn’t lying.
The friendly game Nick had organized for Saturday morning included the Assistant Pro at Spanish Peaks and older brother to one of my former teammates, Marcus Geer. We teed it up from the tips at Black Bull and embarked on what would me my longest course of the trip so far. From the aptly named Back 40 tees the course measures in at 7,239 yards.
The 1st hole at Black Bull is a 444-yard par 4 with water left immediately off the tee box that gives way to a long and winding bunker in the left rough. The fairway slightly turns to the left and gives way to a large green that slopes off near the sides and has a pair of bunkers to the right.
After the opening hole at Black Bull this challenging course showed its real teeth when we made it to the par 3 2nd. The par 3s at Black Bull are a brutally long to say the least with three of the four measuring in at over 200-yards from the tips. Plans are in place to lengthen the shortest par 3 so all the par 3s can be over 200-yards long.
The 2nd at Black Bull is a 215-yard par 3 that is protected by four bunkers. Requiring a towering long iron tee shot into an undulating green, walking off with a par on this par 3 or any par 3 at Black Bull is an accomplishment.
As Nick, Marcus, and I made our way around Black Bull’s rolling green fairways, doing our best to dodge the deep pot bunkers and long fescue rough with our tee shots, we visited about golf and especially golf at Black Bull. This golf course demanded the best of our games especially off the tee.
One of the most intimidating tee shots I have ever come across was the one I faced on the par 4 6th hole. At 468 yards, this monster of a par 4, has a tee box where you tee off from the far side of the lake and have to carry your ball over 250 yards in the air to find the fairway on this hole that doglegs left. The farther you attempt to cut the corner the more danger you are in of losing your golf ball to the depths of the large pond that that stretches near the horizon. A pair of fairway bunkers sit in the right rough past the pond ready to swallow up any tee shots that aren’t daring enough. Adding to the challenge are the trio of bunkers blanketing the area around this crowned green on this challenging hole.
On the back nine, one of the best holes in my opinion was the par 4 14th. Finding the Back 40 tees that are a small hike back from the cart path was almost as difficult as the tee shot that must avoid the long fescue along the left rough and the deep bunkers on the right of the fairway 270 yards from the tee box. This uphill green sits protected by a pair of bunkers and features a small ridge that will make putting for birdie difficult if you are on the incorrect side of it.
As Nick, Marcus, and myself wrapped up our round in perfect weather at Black Bull I had to thank Nick again for the great round of golf. Sitting around after our round, the three of us enjoyed talking about this course almost as much as we did playing it.
Black Bull is one of the best golf courses I have ever had the privilege of playing. There aren’t many places where 7,239 yards can be simultaneously daunting and absolutely wonderful. Golf in the Gallatin Valley is as fantastic as it gets, and my day at Black Bull was about as good as it is ever going to get.
I can confidently say Nick Obie was right. I did love Black Bull.