John Steidel designed a simple nine-hole loop in Whitefish, Montana during the ‘80s, however the growing population and tourist desirability of the region brought him back a decade later in order to add 27 new holes to the property. The South Course, consisting of 18 new holes, is the better-ranked of the pair.
Part of this ranking boost comes from being on the water. Holes nos. 6, 7 and 8 are not on the title lake, however, but rather the smaller Lost Coon Lake. The seventh is a par three that will require both a carry of the lake and some accuracy in order to keep your ball dry. The other two holes are par fours that feature the lake all along their left sides, so fade accordingly.
After this, players will head into the hills. The course does not return to the clubhouse after nine, but rather complete its 18-hole loop. It eventually finishes along the Grouse Mountain Lodge, a resort associated with the public-access facility. Combining the South and the North Course at Whitefish Lake makes for a fun day of golf in a region better known for its outdoor endeavors.
Whitefish Lake South starts with a tough, long uphill par 4. The 2nd is a good birdie oppty. Favor the left off the tee. The green is protected front left with a bunker. The 3rd is an extremely forgettable par 3. The 4th runs parallel to 2 and is essentially the same hole, except a wee bit tighter and a couple extra bunkers. The 5th is a big dogleg left with a bunker on the inside elbow with an uphill approach to a green with bunkers front left and back. Favor the right off the tee to ensure not being blocked out. Not sure why this is the number one handicap hole. The 6th is a polarizing hole, you either love it or hate it. A short downhill then uphill par 5 with a stream crossing the hole in the landing area. Extremely big hitters can carry the hazard to set up a relatively easy approach to the elevated green. The rest of us should layup and play it as a 3 shotter. The 7th is a good par 3 with a a quasi-redan green with bunker left front the entire green and one back right. Oh, I forget to mention the water carry. This is a very long green, so pay attention to pin location. The 8th looks tougher than it is from the tee. A water hazard runs down the entire left side. A decent drive will give you a relatively straight away approach to another long green. The 9th is a fun hole. It is a short uphill par four and you tee off from a peninsula in the lake. Bunkers front right and left, good birdie hole.
The back starts with a reachable par five, albeit more traditional. Favor the left on both your tee shot and 2nd shot as the hole lists hard right. The opposite applies for 11. To have a chance you must favor the right. Your approach needs to be a good 15 yards right of the flag, huge slope left. The 12th is a ho-hum par five that bends slightly left. The 13th is a short downhill par 4. There is a water hazard in front of the green that starts about 100 yards out. Plan accordingly. The 14th is a quirky little hole. The contour off the tee is left to right with a swamp/marsh/puddle water hazard right. The green slopes hard right to left. Big hitters should consider laying up. A decent drive still puts an attack wedge in your hands. The 15th is a long tough par 3. A narrow green that slopes left to right with a water hazard right. The 16th is the shortest and easiest hole on the course with a green with 4 bunkers, one on each corner. The 17th is a birdieable benign par four. Front green side bunkers left and right. The 18th is a testicle grabber. Long, narrow with a guitar pick green with bunkers front right, left and back. If you finish with a par you deserve a drink.
A good course, unfortunately, i did not have the oppty to play the North, so i cannot provide guidance.