(Editor’s note: Throughout the remainder of the summer, MontanaSports.com’s Alec Bofinger will be visiting golf courses in and around the Billings area to feature ‘signature holes’ or holes that tie in to what makes the courses unique. A difficult par 4 at the Miles City Town and Country Club and Stillwater Golf Course’s slew of doglegs started off the series. Eaglerock Golf Course’s driveable par-4 sixth offers golfers a risk/reward hole that can punish those who are inaccurate off the tee.)
SHEPHERD — Shepherd’s Eaglerock Golf Course features a pair of par 4s that, if you can hit it long enough and straight enough, are reachable off the tee box.
“We are blessed to have two of them here,” said Eaglerock PGA Director of Golf and PGA Professional Dave Doherty. “This is one of our premier holes, No. 6, because it’s probably the shortest of the ones you can get to. But there’s a lot of risk/reward here. … If you choose to take it, you better have your game up to par.”
The sixth hole has trouble left where a creek runs and also has a bunker just to the right of the green. It’s similar to most of the holes on the course in that finding the fairway is critical. Taking an aggressive line, though, could pay off.
“You name it, there’s danger everywhere you go, left and right, so it puts a premier on accuracy,” Doherty said. “We do have wide fairways developed here, but if you take the wrong aiming lines … you will pay a heavy price for it.”
Wayward shots on this links-style course could lead to bogeys piling up on the scorecard. Eaglerock also features elevated approach shots into nearly every green on the course, making it increasingly difficult late in the summer to get the ball to stick on the greens. Often, players will need to bump-and-run short chip shots to avoid sailing past the hole.
“If you ruin (your round) early, your mind is somewhere where it doesn’t need to be. Your score will reflect that later, and so will your partners,” Doherty said.