“It’s the Place to Make an Ace” at Pine Meadows Golf Course

Walking in the shade of the pine trees and up the rolling hills of Pine Meadows Golf Course in Lewistown, Montana I had a thought, “This wouldn’t be a bad place to make my first hole-in-one.”

Standing on the sixth tee of Pine Meadows on a perfect afternoon with just a slight breeze at our backs, Pine Meadows Course Manager Keithon Walter even started talking about it.

“I’ve always wanted to get my first hole-in-one on this hole,” said Keithon. “It’s just perfect.”

The 153-yard par 3 sixth is pretty much perfect and I thought my shot on the hole was as well, until it didn’t clear the tall pine tree protecting the right-hand side of the green.

“I wonder how many holes-in-one that tree has ruined over the years” Keithon joked.

The sixth works its way from an elevated tee box across a small canyon bathed in the shadows of the pine trees for which Pine Meadows is named. An undulating green on the sixth funnels tee shots from the left and back of the green toward the pin located right behind the world’s most infuriating evergreen.

That evergreen didn’t ruin Dale Huffine’s tee shot a few groups ahead of us on Monday afternoon as he recorded his first ever ace on the par 3 sixth and was celebrating in the Elks Bar when we moseyed our way into the clubhouse. Graciously accepting a free drink Keithon and I congratulated Dale on his monumental feat and had to laugh.

“No wonder mine didn’t go in,” I remarked.

I found out while drinking my Bent Nail IPA compliments of Dale Huffine, that the sixth at Pine Meadows has surrendered its fair share of aces including two in the same day a few years back.

It was a couple of years ago that Jim “JR” Rutherford and his son Tyler were playing in the Pine Meadows Club Championship when they both had holes-in-one on number six.

JR recalled, “Mine was a terrible swing, a really ugly worm-burner that just kept going towards the green. But the tree blocked it out, so I didn’t get to see it go in. Tyler’s on the other hand, he actually hit a really nice golf shot and it ended up going in.”

As we swapped golf stories and those of us without a hole-in-one sat back dreamt of the day we might be lucky enough to get one, the thought became clear to me, “I’ve got to play the sixth at Pine Meadows more often.”

Pine Meadows is a fantastic nine-hole golf course I would put at the top of any list to play in Montana. With a variety of holes that will challenge your golf game and a majestic beauty that is hard to parallel, this unique course that was built in 1948 is a gem to say the least.

The fifth hole at Pine Meadows is a dogleg right par 4 from which you tee off in the shade of the evergreens from an elevated tee box with a very distinctive aiming point called the Huffine tree. Sitting about 150 yards out on the 384-yard hole is an evergreen the same Dale Huffine who hit a hole-in-one the day I was playing the course, planted some 50 years ago. The shot of choice on the fifth is a high fade and a tee shot just past the Huffine tree will leave you with a short wedge into a green that dramatically slopes from back-to-front.

The greens at Pine Meadows Golf Course were simply remarkable. Soft, receptive, undulating, and dangerous if you were located above the hole. They rolled as true as any greens I’ve played on this trip so far.

Pine Meadows Golf Course is a truly remarkable nine-hole golf course with tremendous hospitality and gorgeous views of the many mountain ranges surrounding Lewistown.

I just wish I could have been lucky enough to make my first hole-in-one at Pine Meadows, because I know some folks at the Elks Bar who I owe a drink to.

 

A tremendous thanks to the Keithon Walter and the staff at Pine Meadows Golf Course in Lewistown for an awesome afternoon of golf and hospitality. I’ll definitely be back.

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“Hunting for My Tee Shots” at Judith Shadows

Just outside Lewistown, Montana sits an 18-hole course in its early adolescence called Judith Shadows Golf Course.

With tall fescue roughs and undulating greens, Judith Shadows can bear its teeth if you aren’t hitting the ball in the right spots. A wayward tee shot or two and you will be hunting for your golf ball with little hope of finding it in British Open type fescue.

My playing partner and golf ball hunting partner for yesterday morning’s round just happened to have the course record at Judith Shadows and after the first few holes I could see why. Lewistown’s Keithon Walters found fairway after fairway during our trip around the links at Judith Shadows, while I did not.

One of the most gorgeous views of my trip so far was on the par 4 fourth hole at Judith Shadows. A 390-yard hole requiring the golfer to lay up with a long iron or hybrid before taking aim at a difficult to hold island green. The fourth hole is not only spectacularly beautiful with Western Meadowlarks landing on the cattails surrounding the island but also the most difficult hole on the golf course.

Another hole requiring a precise tee shot is the par 3 13th hole that plays 160 at it’s longest. With water short and to the right of the green the only miss is to the left and long on this dangerously short hole. As we walked around the water and towards the hole I was again stunned by the beauty of this golf course and scenic Lewistown area.

In this area, Jeff and Maria Whitcraft decided to build a golf course twenty years ago that features genuine Montana hazards like untreated rough and natural water features that complement the backdrop of the region.

The finishing hole at Judith Shadows is an uphill par 5 that requires the tee shot to carry over a small creek running across the fairway some 250-yards from the tee box. The second shot presents the opportunity to finish the round with a birdie or better if your long iron can be precise and find the small green that sits underneath the eye of the Judith Shadows Golf Course clubhouse.

My trip around the 18-hole Judith Shadows Golf Course in Lewistown, Montana was an enjoyable one despite the golf balls claimed by the long fescue. One thing the round at Judith Shadows confirmed was that I will never be a betting favorite in the British Open.

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