In the early part of the century, during the late 1920’s, several Whitefish residents, headed by D.P. Dedon, bought 104 acres of land west of Whitefish for $1600 so that they could build a golf course. In those days money was hard to get, and the course development became a slow process. These hard working people had cleared the land for what was to become fairway number one and two as well as part of number three (present woods nine) when one of the local politicians came up with a program whereby grants could be received for municipalities to build emergency landing fields. The City then applied for and received the grant to build the golf course / landing field.
The property owners, golfers, donated the land to the County on October 29, 1933 which then transferred it to the City of Whitefish on January 15, 1934 with the stipulation that it would become a golf course for local golfers and double as an emergency landing strip. This was accomplished in 1935 with the funding coming via the WPA, which also built the Log Clubhouse / terminal finishing that project in 1937. Brad Seeley, a civil engineer, came to Whitefish from Helena to approve the final project. The Grand Opening Tournament was held on May 24, 1936. The golfers paid off the purchase price of the land, bought equipment and fixtures for the Clubhouse by individual contributions as well as the sale of $25 personal bonds.
Construction of the club house or "administration building for a nine-hole airport" began in 1936. Using timbers from the surrounding forest, the lodge pole pines were crafted to create the crisscrossed beams overhead along with the walls and ceiling. The original clubhouse extended only to the far side of the bar and was completed in 1937.
On August 3, 1939 the first airplane landed at the course causing considerable speculation for golfer safety. Planes continued to use the course into the early 1940’s even during golf tournaments, but golf soon took priority. The course was still designated as an emergency landing field into the 50s and 60s.
The City of Whitefish began operating the golf course, incurred debt and lost money at the same time. In the 1940’s the City considered closing the golf course, when local golfers incorporated the Whitefish Lake Golf Association and leased the course from the City and also assumed the debt. From that time until the present the Whitefish Lake Golf Association has operated the course on a not for profit or break even basis.
Throughout all of the time it has taken to build the Whitefish Lake Golf Course into the only 36-hole complex in Montana, the Golf Association and their Board of Directors have always operated on a volunteer basis. All of the monies generated from the operations have been put back into course improvement, equipment, other capital expenses or paid out to the City of Whitefish as Lease payments. The goal of the Association is to continue its cooperative relationship with the City of Whitefish, while maintaining the highest quality golf facility at an affordable price for local golfers.