Few golf courses present the opportunity to stand on the side of a mountain, at an elevation of 7,500 feet, and tee off across a canyon while praying that your ball sticks on an infinity-edge green. This may explain why Hank Kashiwa, the affable vice president of marketing at the Yellowstone Club, will offer to send you a copy of photographer Charles Lindsay’s Lost Balls: Great Holes, Tough Shots, and Bad Lies (Bulfinch, 2005) after a round on the resort community’s course. And it is why Tom Weiskopf, the golf architect who designed this curse-inducing course and owns a home at the Montana resort, always has the last laugh.
The Yellowstone Club’s relaxed atmosphere may be typical of private resort communities, but this year-round retreat’s facilities are anything but standard. Foremost among the club’s features are the Weiskopf course and a 2,200-acre ski area, which usually hosts no more than 50 skiers, maybe 200 when the resort is full during the Christmas holidays. With the completion of the new Warren Miller Lodge last year, Yellowstone Club now has most of its infrastructure in place. The lodge houses a Champagne and caviar bar, a pro shop and lockers, 21 condominiums, and the Buffalo Bar & Grill. (An adjacent spa and skating rink are in the planning stages.)
Yellowstone Club also is close to completing its initial phases of home ownership offerings. About 75 custom single-family homes have been completed, and another 75 are under construction, with prices ranging from $3.95 million to $17 million. All four 160-acre ranch sites at the resort have been sold, and the next land subdivision to be offered will be on Pioneer Mountain, near Rainbow Lodge, the club’s mid-slope restaurant with a heated pool and hot tub and a row of guest cottages.
Although most private clubs prefer to operate under the radar, Yellowstone Club owner Tim Blixseth is not averse to publicity. He recently announced plans for a $155 million, 55,000-square-foot estate called the Pinnacle, which he is building in the southwestern corner of the resort. The Pinnacle will be connected to the mountain via its own gondola, and the home’s helipad will feature a retractable base that descends to a 30-car garage. Who says membership doesn’t have its privileges?