Originally conceived as an exclusive residential facility, the Wilderness Club is now public access and a surprise find in northern Montana. It was principally designed by Brian Curley, with Faldo’s influence being to perhaps make the place more demanding than it otherwise would have been. The small, contoured targets are certainly tougher than at most of Curley’s Asian projects, and only accepting of very precise approach shots. A couple are a little cruel, such as the 4th with its sunken back tier, but most of the greens are quite fun and often have a safer side to miss.
Aside from the tricky greens, the most memorable part of the course is through the early stages of the back nine. The 10th is an interesting short par four with a tall Pine in the middle of the fairway and an anorexic green set beyond a lake. The decision from the tee is whether to layup short of the tree and leave a horrible angle across the water, or play further up the fairway and then pitch along the length of the green. The right bending 11th is more conventional, and with its push-up green complex bunkered attractively in the front. Next is a disjointed par five that plunges dramatically down alongside a pond followed by a beautiful short hole at the 13th.
Montana is a beautiful state and, along with Rock Creek, this is the course that probably gets closest to matching good golf holes with great scenery.