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Signature series: Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Golf Course features long, picturesque par-5 No. 5

Posted at 10:43 PM, Jul 23, 2019

(Editor’s note: Throughout the remainder of the summer, will be visiting golf courses to feature ‘signature holes’ or holes that tie in to what makes the courses unique. To view more courses highlighted in our Signature Series, please click here. Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Golf Course’s par-5 fifth is billed as the longest hole in Montana.)

FAIRMONT — Its claim: the longest hole in Montana.

The par-5 fifth at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Golf Course is 649 yards, dead straight, to a green exactly a mile above sea level.

“You definitely want to hit yourself a good tee shot, because you’re still going to have, most likely, a little bit maybe under 500 yards left on the second and third (shots),” said Mikal Harpster, the head golf professional at Fairmont. “There’s no hazards. I guess the real hazard on this hole would be the length. It’s just a long one.”

That’s likely underselling it. It’s a straight fairway with no hazards, but even the best golfers are only getting to the green in three shots.

“Usually everyone thinks just swing as hard as you can, which is probably good advice. Swing hard in case you hit it, right? But, really, you want some accuracy and some length here,” Harpster said. “I mean, this is a 649-yard par 5. It’s going to take three good shots, even for myself, to get there. It’s all you got, and usually, unfortunately, the wind’s a little bit into you, so it makes it about 700 yards, I’d say, on an average day.”

On the walk down the long fairway, golfers will find an encouraging sign: “Hang in there, only 200 yards to go.”

Once on the putting surface, golfers still face their challenges.

“It’s a green that slopes back to front. It’s got a middle tier that’s probably a two-to-three feet drop right in the center that runs all the way through it and kind of snakes right through it,” Harpster said. “So, if you’re on the front and the pin’s in the back, you’ve got to go up that. Then if you’re on the back and the pin’s in the front, you’ve got to really have some touch. It’s a good green.”

As much as the distance awes people, No. 5 is one of the most picturesque holes at Fairmont. The Pintler Mountains overlook the course behind the green and to the right of the fairway. A drainage and native grass lines the left of the fairway on a hole free of hazards.

Golfers don’t have to work around water or bunkers on No. 5, which fits the style of the open front nine. The back nine is a little tighter.

“There’s definitely more creeks, there’s kind of a creek that runs through the whole back nine. Then there are two ponds on the back nine that you’ve got to hit over, so there’s a couple water hazards,” Harpster said.

“This is a very fair golf course, I think, to the average amateur,” Harpster added. “There’s plenty of hard holes, plenty of easy holes, small greens. You’ve got to be accurate. I’d say that’s kind of maybe its defense, is smaller greens. We do have some bigger complexes, but overall they’re generally pretty small. We’ve done a lot of work in the last couple years to get the tee boxes kind of in the right positions, some bunker adjustments, and then we also put in a new irrigation system last fall. All that totals right around $2 million, so we’ve definitely put in some work onto the golf course, and we’re very proud of it and hope to just continue that.”

This course is one of the 51 courses included in the 2019 Golf & Go Summer Pass, which is available through for $99. To purchase a pass granting you access to 18 holes at each of the 51 courses, please click here.