Entrepreneur Tim Blixseth established the Yellowstone Club at the start of the new millennium as a private ski resort for seriously wealthy members, hiring Tom Weiskopf to lay out an 18-hole golf course for play during the summer months when the ski slopes are free from snow.
What the architect fashioned is a mountain course overflowing with substantial elevation changes and sensational views, where the game is played out on bluegrass fairways and bent grass greens that are designed to offer resort golf players an engaging round of golf.
Notable holes include the 434-yard 4th, with a pond to the right of a fairway that rises up to a an elevated green; the 203-yard 6th, where a waterfall sits to the left of the putting surface; and the 541-yard 12th, which plays downhill to a green that’s fronted by a creek feeding into a pond on the right side of the fairway.
The original plans for The Yellowstone Club were quite ambitious. Created by original owner Tim Bixseth and his then wife Edra - the idea was to have multiple clubs throughout the world where deep-pocketed members could access in their travels.
The facility would have its own private mountain for well-heeled individuals to ski in total seclusion. There was also the addition of a Tom Weiskopf-designed 18-hole layout for golf enthusiasts.
Bixseth went through a number of financial situations -- ending with him losing the property. The Yellowstone Club is now under ownership from Discovery Land Company, based in Scottsdale, AZ.
How good is the golf?
Weiskopf smartly created a very fair and mostly mild challenge. The most noticeable aspect when playing is the absolutely stunning vistas that take in the Big Sky area. There's a reason why the area is called that and when you play you can't help but stare in wonderment at all that Mother Nature provided.
The Yellowstone Club has its moments where the design shows promise -- the par-4 2nd and the long par-3 3rd are both good strong holes. But, when you add in five par-3 and par-5 holes respectively, you get a constant desire to please the broadest masses of players. Vanilla golf design doesn't exactly push the envelope but it can be easily forgotten when the off-course views are as striking as what you find here.
by M. James Ward