I changed my mind on where to go today as I pulled out of the campground this morning, decided to go to Montana (added a new state to list of states I've been to and played in). There was one cool sounding course listed 67 miles out of my way (134 round trip), and when I looked it up online to see if it would be open as early as 7am, I found another course listed for that city that was not in the 2008 print guide, but was built in 2001. There are just deer everywhere, one was standing 10' from my tent when I got out this morning, surrounded by 500 people in tents and campers she just didn't care. Then there was one on the highway, and about 25+ dead ones on the highway. I stopped to get some great pictures of two deer running atop the ridge of a mountain, and while I was taking those pics, a deer ran up from the field beside my car 25' away and crossed right in front of me. It was 49 degrees when I teed off, and 84 less than 2 hours later when I finished the first round.
Glendive, MT- Makoshika State Park:Stunning mountain course situated at the base of mountains on the edge of the Badlands. The holes are actually mostly flat, running right up to towering mountains of rock and straight walls of sand. There are washes everywhere, plateaus, tiny mesas, and no trees. Several baskets up on the sides of mountains, but the best is one on a mesa, with a 10-20' cliff all around it and only about 100 sq ft to land on on top. It's very short, and somewhat hard to navigate, several times the basket right in front is not the one you seek (they are not numbered), or it is hidden behind 4 rows of canyon walls. Absolutely an amazing experience. Wear long pants no matter what- I had a tick on me in the parking lot before the round. There are cacti, snakes too, and watch your step every step you take.
Glendive, MT- Dawson Community College:Conveniently located just around the mountain from Makoshika, this 9 hole course is much longer and tougher. It's not as mountainous, but actually more and steeper hills. There are a few 500+' uphill holes with the basket on a plateau where if you go far left, right or past it you go down a 50' cliff. The first hole is 500' downhill, to a basket completely surrounded by a dry creek bed. The grass is knee high, some tee pads had thick weeds growing up in them. There is a course map to look at, or you could have trouble.
Spearfish, SD- Black Hills State University:This course was packed, 5 hours and 240 miles after my morning rounds. It's right on campus- with some tees or baskets being within the circle from a dorm. It's mostly open, often throwing back and forth across this one tree line with a man made stream in it that really comes into play..twice for me. The water is clear and cool and feels good to land in it though. It features an ace run hole- 250' wide open, with a brick wall right behind it 5'. You can just wail at it and automatically get the 2, or an ace.