GOLF COURSE HANDBOOK
Buffalo Hill Golf Club
Buffalo Hill Golf Club facilities, including the golf course, clubhouse, driving range, putting greens, and maintenance operations, place it among the top public facilities, not only in Montana, but the Pacific Northwest as well!
Membership in Buffalo Hill Golf Club carries with it certain privileges, along with certain obligations and responsibilities that we hope this handbook will address. We encourage all members to purchase a copy of “The Rules of Golf” in the Pro Shop to become familiar with golf course etiquette, rules and regulations. Please be a role model for our juniors and others so they can learn by way of good example from members like you.
Not all details of club procedures and regulations can appear here, but we ask you to read and become familiar with the information on the following pages. In doing so, you will become a more enlightened member and be proud to say, “I belong to Buffalo Hill Golf Club!”
To promote Buffalo Hill Golf Club and provide the best possible golf experience for the members and guests of Buffalo Hill by offering first class customer service and superior playing conditions at an affordable rate.
- Provide consistent, accessible, responsive and quality services to our member and guests.
- Nurture and cultivate long-term relationships.
- Respect members, guests, staff, and management.
- Perpetuate our rich traditions.
- Be fiscally responsible.
- Maintain and improve Buffalo Hill Golf Club.
- Golf Course
Buffalo Hill Golf Course features 27 holes of unrivaled golf experience. The tree-lined fairways and push-up greens make the Cameron Nine one of the most challenging nine-hole courses in Montana. The charm and beauty of the Championship 18 along with the scenic splendor and panoramic views will bring you back time and time again.
- Practice Facilities
Buffalo Hill features a BRAND NEW STATE OF THE ART PRACTICE FACILITY with four target greens framed by white sand bunkers. This first class facility boasts the largest teeing area in the state of Montana, so you’ll always be hitting off grass – NEVER mats! Take out the driver and hit full compression, Pinnacle golf balls as far as you can!
In addition, there are two large putting greens and a chipping green to improve your short game. The chipping green also doubles as an “extra” hole if warranted by construction or course conditions, which may take another green out of play.
- Full-Service Clubhouse
Many improvements have been made to this log structure originally constructed in the mid 1930’s. Food and beverage service for individuals, groups, special events or tournaments plus a fully stocked Pro Shop make the clubhouse a focal point of the operation. Meeting rooms and locker rooms for men and women are available.
Staff members represent the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA), Club Managers Association of America, (CMAA) and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
Membership in the Kalispell Golf Association shall be on an annual basis. Memberships begin January 1st of each year and expire December 31st. Memberships are non-refundable and non-transferable.
The following pages describe amenities and benefits available at Buffalo Hill Golf Club. We encourage all members and guests to enjoy the clubhouse and amenities.
BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP
- 27 Holes!
Buffalo Hill members enjoy 27 holes of fabulous golf, which includes the Cameron Nine and the Championship 18. Golf on the Cameron Nine is on a first-come-first serve basis while advanced tee times can be made three days in advance for the Championship 18. The entire 27 holes are professionally groomed and maintained.
- Voting Privileges
Membership in the Kalispell Golf Association is attained by those adults who have paid annual greens fees and any other fees imposed by the Board of Directors of the KGA. The annual meeting of the KGA is held in April each year (Board of Directors will set appropriate date each year) for the purpose of the election of directors and transaction of other business.
- Special Rates
Members receive discounted tournament entry fees for Buffalo Hill events and receive discounts on motor cart rentals (Golf Cart Punch card). Members can also apply for open charge accounts for clubhouse and Pro Shop retail purchases.
- Cart & Club Storage
Cart storage for private motor carts is available to paid KGA members. Club storage is also available to all adults and junior members. Fees are due by March 31st of each year. Early discount dates may also be available.
- Flathead Valley Golf Association
Members may purchase FVGA “Tour Cards” which provide discounted green fees at area courses.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors, who are elected by the KGA membership, serve on a volunteer basis, and represent the membership as a whole. The Board is responsible for making policy, rules and regulations consistent with the laws of the State of Montana. In addition, the Board (Executive Committee) is responsible for staffing the general management of Buffalo Hill Golf Club. Members interested in serving on the Board should contact the Board President or General Manager for upcoming vacancies and information about serving. Five consecutive years of membership in the KGA is necessary to be eligible to serve on the board. A roster of the current Board of Directors and Committees is available in the Main Office.
- Structure and Purpose
The nine members of the Board of Directors meet 11 times a year to discuss the goals and direction of Buffalo Hill Golf Club. They determine what changes will be made to the grounds, and how funds are to be allocated for major improvements to the course and clubhouse. The board also periodically reviews the KGA By-Laws and recommends any additions, changes, or deletions. By-Law changes must be approved by the general membership. Each director serves on at least one committee and is on call for special meetings and other duties. Any director of the KGA may not serve consecutively more than two three-year terms elected by the membership.
- Committees (Current)
Greens Committee – Operation and maintenance of the golf course and grounds.
Finance and Audit Committee – Capital expenditure and general operational budget formulation. Monitor financial position of KGA.
Rules and Tournament Committee – Enforce the rules of golf and such local rules as may be adopted. Assist with planning and staging Buffalo Hill events.
House Committee – Operation and maintenance of the clubhouse and its immediate area. Plan and carry out the social program of the KGA.
Personnel (Executive) Committee – Review existing management contracts and performance evaluation.
Grievance Committee – Responsible for customer grievances, problem resolution, enforcement of rules and regulations; and determines proper sanctions for course violations.
- Access Policies PDF
- Tee Times
Tee times may be made three days in advance for the Championship 18 by phone or in person with the starter at (406) 756-4530. Tee times are not taken on the Cameron Nine as play is conducted on a first-come-first-serve basis. All players are encouraged to pair up into foursomes whenever possible to maintain reasonable pace of play.
- Player Responsibility
All players must register with the starter 10 minutes in advance of scheduled tee time. All players must have their own clubs and bag and be familiar with golf etiquette and club rules. All players must start on the #1 tee. All players must sign in before each round and have paid the appropriate green fees and cart fees if applicable.
- Pace of Play
Please remember, your group’s place on the golf course is behind the group in front of you, not ahead of the group behind you! Reasonable time to play the Cameron Nine is 2 hours. Reasonable time for the Championship 18 is 4 hours 20 minutes. Be ready when it’s your turn to hit, and play ready golf from the appropriate tees that suit your handicap. It is recommended that the back tees be used only by players with less than a 10 handicap.
- Non-Playing Children
We welcome and encourage children to play golf, but for liability and safety considerations, non-playing children under 15 years of age are not allowed on the golf course. All players, regardless of age, must have paid an appropriate green fee or have purchased a membership fee before playing golf.
- Slow Play
1st Warning – If your group falls out of position, you will be asked to re-establish your starting position.
2nd Warning – If your group fails to re-establish its starting position in 30 minutes, you will be asked to pick up and move up to the group in front of you.
3rd Warning – If you are unable to maintain this position, as a courtesy to your fellow golfers, your group will be asked to leave the course.
- Motor Carts
Operators of any motorized golf cart (rental or privately owned) on Buffalo Hill Golf Course must have a valid driver’s license. For the safety of others, and in consideration of liability risks, children may not operate any motorized golf cart.
For the safety and consideration of our members and guests, pets of any kind are not allowed on the premise.
- Dress Code
While there are no specific requirements for the type of clothing, it is required that shirts, shorts or pants, and suitable shoes for golf (for care of the greens) be worn at all times.
- Soft Spikes
No metal spikes. The benefits related to soft spikes since 1997 are evident in the daily condition of the greens. All courses in the Flathead Valley allow only soft spikes.
- “No Shows”
“No Shows” are expensive and costly to Buffalo Hill. Please be sure to cancel your tee time so that we may sell or assign it to another customer.
- Tourney & Prize Winnings (“Sweeps”)
Buffalo Hill Golf Club hosts tournaments, leagues, and other events in which amateur players are eligible to win prize money (sweeps) redeemable for merchandise in the Pro Shop. Prize winners of these tournaments are automatically entered into a temporary database in the Pro Shop in order to redeem their “sweeps”. Please be sure to tell the Pro Shop clerk you want your purchase charged against your “sweeps”. Players have the remainder of the season, plus the entire following season to redeem any tournament winnings. Otherwise, “Sweeps” expire on Dec 31st of the following year. To inquire about your “sweeps” account, check in the Pro Shop.
- Your Responsibility
Golfers are responsible for any property damage or personal injury resulting from inappropriate action or conduct.
If you witness inappropriate actions or club rule violations, please report them to the marshal, pro shop, or management for immediate action.
- When is Course Open for Play?
In general, the golf course is open for play whenever it is possible for it to be mowed. Early in the spring, especially when frost remains underground the course may look playable, but it will remain closed until all the frost has thawed. This will prevent damage to the course. Please believe us when we say that we want you out there as soon as possible in the spring!
Heavy rains may force closure of the course during the season, but these closures usually last a day or less. In the fall, when the ground begins to freeze and daytime temperatures barely reach above the freezing mark, is when we consider closing the course for the season.
- Frost – When is it Safe to Play?
Frost damage is very difficult to predict. Sometimes walking on frost-covered turf results in turf grass injury and death. Sometimes there is no damage. In general, we feel that once the air temperature rises above freezing, the likelihood of frost damage seems to diminish even though there may be visible frost. We take a “better-safe-than-sorry” attitude when it comes to play on frost; accordingly, we prohibit play until the frost has melted.
- Sand and Seed for Divots
Out on the course, there are several sand and seed bins where you can refill your containers for use in repairing divots. Our recommendations is that the sand and seed mixture be used on all divots instead of replacing your divots. If you do not have sand and seed with you, then please replace your divots! Containers are available for purchase in the Pro Shop.
- Temporary Greens
We mow our temporary greens in the fall and during greens aerification. Please take a free drop off the temporary green whenever they are mowed.
- Aerification and Topdressing
We aerify and topdress the greens to control thatch. Thatch is the “spongy” material you feel underfoot. If it gets too thick, the greens will get bumpy, slow, and eventually fail. Aerification and topdressing removes and controls the thatch layer.
- Fertilizers and Spraying
Golf courses are not naturally occurring entities. They are highly manipulated playing surfaces and utilize fertilizers and pesticides to keep them at optimum health and playability. We apply as little as possible, but as much as we can afford. If you would like to be notified of pending applications, let us know.
- Mowing – Who has the Right of Way?
We wish we had the budget to hire enough people and purchase additional equipment to get the course mowed and prepared for you before you arrive. Since this is not possible, we do the best we can, but we can always use your help! If you can, please wave us on to keep mowing whenever the noise will not bother you. Given the large size of Buffalo Hill and our limited staff, we have to move quickly and efficiently. Every time we stop to wait, it dramatically affects the time it takes to mow the golf course. Please forgive us if we get too close!
- Greens Speed
It is our goal to make the greens as fast and smooth as possible, but the slope on several of our greens will limit the speed of our greens to about 9.5 feet on the stimpmeter. For special events, we may quicken them up a little, but on a daily basis, we will shoot for 9.5 feet.
- Hole Locations
Our staff moves the cups on a daily basis during the heart of the golf season. During the spring and fall, we install multiple cups in the greens and recommend that each group move the flag to a different hole location upon completion of the hole. We direct our staff to try and place cups in “fair” locations, which would generally be no closer than 12 feet from an edge and not on or near slopes that are severe. This is not an easy task on some of our greens, like Championship #3 and Cameron #7.
- Mud, Mud and more Mud
We have a significant earthworm population and these little guys bring a lot of mud to the surface. On short-cut areas like fairways, this can create a problem for both the golfer and our mowers. The mud smothers the grass and makes hitting a good shot even more difficult, and it can quickly dull our mowers. It is easy to confuse earthworm mud with over-irrigation. They are not the same. There are no direct measures we can take to remove the earthworms, so we must learn to live with them!
Do not hit into a golf course maintenance employee unless you are sure he/she is aware of your intentions. Your impatience may result in a serious injury, and no one wants that! There are liability issues to consider as well, so please think before you hit. Would a few more seconds really be unreasonable to wait? Thanks for your help!
- Golf Carts
A few things to remember about golf cart use at Buffalo Hill:
- Use the cart paths and the 90-degree rule when possible.
- Use the minimum number of carts per group. Four golf carts for five players is poor golf etiquette.
- Slow down in the parking lot and near the clubhouse. Always be aware of pedestrian and automobile traffic.
- Broken golf carts out on the golf course may not be removed or towed by an automobile or truck. Contact the Cart Repair Service for proper towing at 885-2785 (Gary Clark.
- Play begins on #1 Tee Box
Do not start play on any hole other than #1 unless authorized by the Pro Shop. This is unfair to other players who may be cut off, and dangerous for your maintenance staff who may not be aware of your sudden presence.
Grievance & Problem, Resolution Procedures
Customer grievances and violations are resolved through the Kalispell Golf Association’s Grievance Committee. The committee is comprised of three board members and three appointed members from the general membership. The board president may vote in case of a tie.
If a customer has a grievance and would like to be heard before the grievance committee, the customer must contact the board president in writing about the complaint. The board president will then schedule a meeting with the grievance committee to review the complaint. The grievance committee must render a written decision within 10 days of the scheduled meeting and notify all pertinent parties of such decision. The decision of the committee is final.
The Grievance Committee also addresses club violations that may be brought forth against a customer for inappropriate actions or violation of club policy. The customer will be contacted to attend a meeting of the committee in order to resolve such issues. If the customer is not present at the meeting, the grievance committee will make its decision based on the information discussed at the meeting. The decision of the committee is final.
Sanctions and disciplinary actions are at the discretion of the committee. These sanctions may range from a basic warning to indefinite suspension. Note: “Customer” is defined as members, guests, and patrons of Buffalo Hill Golf Club.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO HILL
“Rich in tradition”. That is what best describes the beautiful Buffalo Hill Golf Club and the members of the Kalispell Golf Association who are responsible for development and enrichment of Buffalo Hill Golf Course. Dating back to 1915 when a few ambitious players hit the sand greens, Buffalo Hill has seen seven major renovations and layouts and has evolved into one of the best golf courses in the State of Montana.
In the early 1930’s, land was purchased where part of the Cameron 9 holes now resides. The Cameron Course is named after Dave Cameron, who donated land to the city for golf course development.
The original 9 hole course operated until the late 1930’s when the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built a nine hole, irrigated, green grass course; some holes are still in service today while others have been modified during subsequent expansions.
In 1964, the club made a major improvement with the construction of nine more holes, four of which are incorporated into the Championship 18 course. In 1974, dedicated members of the Kalispell Golf Association decided to expand the course to 27 holes with construction of new golf holes around and over the Stillwater River (lower holes leading down to present #5, and out near River View Greens and the Fairway Blvd. residential sub-division). The nearly $1,000,000 expansion project was financed by donations from the Buffalo Hill members, sales of debenture bonds, and matching funds from the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. The cooperative efforts and commitment to the completion of this expansion reflects the heart, dedication, and vision of the leaders of the Kalispell Golf Association of that era.
On August 11, 1978, the great Arnold Palmer was on hand to celebrate the Grand Opening of the “New Championship 18”. Designed by Robert Muir Graves, the course was referred to as a “monument” and rivals as one of the best golf courses in the Northwest.
Over the last twenty years, the golf course has continued improvements by rebuilding greens, tee boxes, upgrading irrigation systems, installing a de-watering system in the lower holes, re-shaping and improving sand quality of bunkers, paving cart paths, parking lots, upgrading maintenance and clubhouse facilities, and many other projects to make Buffalo Hill a first class facility.
In 2011, the BGHC membership voted to expend up to $600,000 for renovations to the driving range and Cameron 9. The improvements to the driving range distinguishes Buffalo Hill as a premiere, first class facility in the Pacific Northwest.
Buffalo Hill Golf Club is fortunate to have such a dedicated, loyal membership to share the joys of the great game of golf. Enjoy each and every round, and remember to give back to the game and Buffalo Hill Golf Club for the benefit of future generations.
P.O. Box 1116
1176 North Main Street
Kalispell, MT 59903-1116
Tee Times: 406-756-4530
Main Office: 406-756-4548
Pro Shop: 406-756-4547
Food & Beverage: 406-756-4551
Course Maintenance: 406-756-4556
Cart Service: 406-756-4557
Web Site: www.golfbuffalohill.com
Buffalo Hill Golf Club
Buffalo Hill Golf Course Handbook
Adopted by the Kalispell Golf Association Board of Directors
May 7, 2003