BIG SKY, Montana – Standing on the 17th tee of the Reserve at Moonlight Basin, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the challenge ahead.
Forget the altitude bump at 7,500 feet above sea level and the fact that the hole plays downhill. The 676 yards from the Lone Creek tees still feel long. Wisely, I’m not playing from the tips, which are 101 yards back.
At 777 yards, the 17th is one of the 10 longest holes in America. It’s a big reason why the 8,000-yard private Jack Nicklaus design is one of the longest courses in the world. Even though I teed it forward, I lived up to the 7 I mentally wrote down on the card even before teeing off. Playing at extreme distances can be intimidating.
Thank goodness, yardage from the tips is largely irrelevant for amateurs like me who don’t hit it like Bryson. Most of us tee up from more manageable distances by moving up a tee box or two.
But, when we’re talking about the longest holes in the country, they tend to attract golfers looking for a unique challenge. I wouldn’t recommend playing them from the tips every day for pace of play and sanity’s sake, but giving them a go once in a while might be fun.
Here’s where to find them.
#4 – 777, 17th, Reserve at Moonlight Basin, Big Sky, Montana
Mountain scenery doesn’t get more spectacular than Moonlight Basin. Nicklaus has a reputation for building tough courses. At least this par 5 plays downhill, shortening its actual playing length to a mere 650 yards or so.