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Getting To Know: Moonlight Basin

An Insightful Interview With Greg Wagner, PGA Head Golf Professional

By Brian Weis


Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Greg Wagner who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.

Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
Moonlight Basin is an epic 8,000 yard Jack Nicklaus Signature Design Golf Course in Big Sky, Montana surrounded by dramatic views of Lone Peak, Fan Mountain, the Spanish Peaks, and the Madison Valley. Playing Moonlight is like golfing in a National Park. With the West Entrance to Yellowstone just one hour away, golfers can expect to see and hear a wide variety of wildlife, making this one of the most memorable golf experiences the game has to offer. Moonlight has almost ten miles of cart path expanding over 800 acres of truly wild golfing terrain.

In addition to the 18-hole golf course, members and guests enjoy a three-acre short course and practice field along with a double-sided range with five target greens and two putting greens. No excuses for poor play here! Sitting at 7,000 feet above sea level, Moonlight Basin is known for personal best long drives as the ball travels an average of 14 percent farther compared to courses at sea level.

The summer days are long in Big Sky, Montana and members and guests here tend to take advantage. Following a round of golf Moonlighter's tend to challenge each other to five stand sporting clays, 3D Archery, or a mountain bike ride across the intricate trail network in Moonlight. Others sneak down Jack Creek Road, a private road for members, to the Madison River where some of the best fly-fishing in the state takes place. It's safe to say that Moonlight Basin is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise and anyone looking for wild adventure and a golf course that demands creativity would feel right at home here.

If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Anyone that truly loves the challenge of the game of golf would appreciate the treasure that Jack Nicklaus created within the terrain of Moonlight Basin. Golfing Moonlight is unlike any mountain golf experience in the world. Players that come here have typically played golf all over the world and we continually hear Moonlight would be in their top 10. For someone looking for a truly unique and unforgettable golf experience, Moonlight is the place to play. Just don't forget your camera!

Moonlight is a private, member's only golf course that provides access to golf and other outdoor activities to non-members who are renting a home in Moonlight Basin. Other than being a guest of a member, access can only be achieved by renting a member's home. With all of the great summer activity in Big Sky, Montana and Moonlight Basin, planning a summer vacation here surely won't disappoint.

What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
Moonlight, more so than most, is full of local knowledge and secrets to better scoring. It's a place you have play five or six times before you even remotely start to understand its intricacies. Members love it here because no two rounds are alike and every pin position and tee box can completely change a hole. It is very important that a player finds the tee box that suites their game.

With the course being 8,000 yards from the championship tees, the yardage can be intimidating, especially to higher handicappers. Moonlight has four sets of tees and three combination yardages, which helps players find the perfect yardage for their ability. Shorter tee boxes, however, do not always equate to easier scoring as they often bring in trouble and narrow landing areas.

Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
At Moonlight we are most proud of the culture we have created within our team and the membership. Members and guests leave here talking about the golf experience. The golf course itself is truly incredible, but the opportunity to golf with your dog at your side or cast a fly at a cutthroat trout on hole #9 are things you can't do in many places. Golfing Moonlight is full of surprises. You never know what wildlife is around the next corner or if you'll actually have to put the bear spray found in each golf cart into action. The Cabin, a fully stocked comfort station with every treat under the Big Sky sun, is another testament to the uniqueness of this golf experience. We are so proud of how people feel after spending a day here with us.

What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
One of the most talked about holes at Moonlight Basin is #17. At 777 yards, this beast stands alone in the golf world as one of the more remarkable holes in golf. Not only for it's daunting yardage, but for the sheer overwhelming beauty. Not to mention the smile on a player's face when their tee shot carries the hill and they find a drive that came to rest at over 400 yards long. For a longer player, the hole is actually reachable in two shots, which is remarkable considering the yardage on the scorecard.

What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
It's almost impossible to narrow it down to one favorite hole at Moonlight. There are so many great golf holes with different incredible views here. It is hard to put into worlds or a photo what it is like to actually stand on some of the tee boxes on this golf course. We recommend golfers see it for themselves and make their own favorite memories.

Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
The key to ending a day of golf at Moonlight is with a home made personal pizza from our outdoor pizza oven and a Montana craft beer from the bar. Most certainly enjoyed over a game of corn hole, reminiscing on the best shots of the day.

Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
The course record at Moonlight holds a special place in the hearts of those in our community. Our Assistant Golf Professional, David "Chainsaw" Wanninger, holds the course record from the championship tees with a two over par score of 74. Anyone that has played golf at Moonlight knows that 74 from the back tees is one heck of a score! David passed away unexpectedly in March of 2016 and his record still holds true today. We know he is looking down on us every time we tee it up, chasing his record of course.

Back Tee Stats
Par: 72
Yardage: 8000
Slope: 148
Rating: 76.8

More Information
Moonlight Basin
510 Moonlight Trail
Big Sky, Montana, 59716
http://www.moonlightbasin.com


 

Revised: 11/16/2016 - Article Viewed 2,406 Times


Written By: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.


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