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Ever Gone Cowboy Golfing? I Have and It’s a Riot

Golf Ball Near Hole
kevron2001/ThinkStock

Earlier this month, as part of our annual family reunion held in the Pierre-Fort Pierre area, I got to do something for the very first time – I went Cowboy Golfing.

What’s Cowboy Golfing you ask? It’s a hoot, that’s what it is. At first I was “luke warm” to the idea, but little did I know I was about to have the time of my life..

The course is located on the Willow Creek Wildlife Hunting Preserve, which is about halfway between Fort Pierre and Hayes, just north Highway 14.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Willow Creek is primarily a 16-thousand acre hunting preserve, but to keep busy during the off season they’ve opened up a cowboy golf course.

Picture in your mind a golf course consisting of lush green fairways, perfectly groomed greens and well manicured tee boxes surrounded by spectacular views.

OK, that’s NOT Willow Creek. Willow Creek is just the opposite – there’s not a blade of grass on the fairways (just weeds) and the greens are dirt (they were sand at one time).

When we first drove up the driveway I have to admit I was less than thrilled, but after teeing off on the first hole (over some old machinery) I knew we were going to have fun.

And the best part – we were the only ones on the course, so all the girls got to golf together (there were nine) and all the guys golfed together (we also had nine).

And then there were the handful of family members who just walked along taking pictures and heckling the teams as they “attemped” to sink their putts.

Here’s why I say attempted:

Photo by Michelle Sandal
Photo by Michelle Sandal

Having just had my knee scoped I asked if they had any golf carts. “One that runs,” they said, which turned out to be a John Deer Gator. They did have an old three-wheeled golf cart but that was extra being it came with a sun roof (half its top was missing).

Photo by Michelle Sandal
Photo by Michelle Sandal

My favorite hole was hole #8, the buried toilet seat.

Photo by Michelle Sandal
Photo by Michelle Sandal

Every hole was unique – for example, hole #1 was a buried grill, #2 was an old kitchen sink, #3 was an old tire, #4 was an electric grill – every green was different.

After we all got done and reconvened in the clubhouse (a-k-a hunting lodge), we all admitted how much fun it was. Even the real serious golfers admitted they had fun.

So if you ever find yourself on Highway 14 between Fort Pierre and Hayes and you have a couple of hours to kill, do yourself a favor and turn off on Willow Creek Road.

There’s a little nine-hole golf course in the middle of nowhere that’ll challenge even the best.


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