Help Us Save Open Space


1. That the University of Montana Golf Course is worth preserving.

2. That Missoula College (formerly College of Technology) Campus should be located on the already existing COT campus west of Fort Missoula. 

3. That The University of Montana main campus has adequate space for future expansion

On October 2, 2013, University President Royce Engstrom announced that the Missoula College building authorized by the 2013 Montana Legislature would be built on an East Broadway site at the mouth of Hellgate Canyon. Concurrently, Missoula College will not be built on the athletic fields that currently support the University Golf Course. The many thousands of Missoula residents who opposed destruction of this iconic municipal open space are extremely pleased with this decision, and the Advocates are grateful for the support received in achieving this result. We believe this decision was the direct result of activity by the Advocates for Missoula's Future, and we intend to continue that activity because it is not clear that this is a long term, permanent solution. 

The history of the UM Administration with regard to the open space athletic fields has lacked integrity from the beginning, and President Engstrom has continued to insist that future expansion of the University of Montana will eventually require creation of a “South Campus”. Credible evidence to the contrary exists. It is unlikely that the University of Montana will exceed the capacity of the current campus in 25 or even 50 years. Nationally, it is predicted that on-line learning will reduce the size of most four year institutions in the United States and even eliminate many smaller colleges.

The function to be served by Missoula College remains to be determined.  Integrating two-year students onto the main campus was not prescribed by the Lumina Foundation grant or the resulting College!NOW program; and two-year students will still be required to shuttle among several separated campus areas and be academically disadvantaged in classes with four-year students. Some members of the University Faculty believe the flagship liberal arts University of Montana is being dismantled by these and other changes (

There are decisions to be made by the University Administration and the Board of Regents that will shape the University of Montana for many years. In the degree that recent and past history can be helpful in making these decisions, this website will continue to provide background material that has been difficult to find and usually ignored in the past. The following subject areas will be included:

LEGAL. The letter from Attorney Quentin Rhoades to OCHE Clayton Christian and the supporting documents showing that University Alumni purchased the athletic fields area for athletic purposes only.

REGENTS. Some of the many contacts by Advocates for Missoula's Future with  the Board of Regents listing our objections to the proposed construction on the athletic fields

UM FORUMS. The University of Montana has a long history of sponsoring “public forums” that are, in fact, closely controlled presentations. Time after time, the public has been invited to attend a presentation in which a new plan or proposal is offered without any public input or opportunity for feedback.  Typical examples are presented here.

PUBLIC FORUMS. By contrast, and for the first time, ever, in June, July, and August of 2013 the tenured faculty of the University of Montana proposed three public forums to allow discussion of the purpose and eventual location of Missoula College. The format included 7 speakers representing a broad selection of the interested public and the University of Montana.

TIME LINE. Dates relating the long history of the athletic fields and the associated events that influenced the area. This includes a complete timeline for the inception and demise of the Hydrogen Futures Park at Fort Missoula.

OPEN SPACE. An update of the users and uses related to a multi-million dollar asset – the athletic fields containing the University of Montana Golf Course. This is not just a golf course, and it is important that the value as open space in the City of Missoula be recognized.

HISTORY A summary of previous attacks on the athletic fields and the continuing need for permanent resolution.

As of January 20, 2014, most of these revisions are complete.  For the entertainment of those who reach this website, here is a short historical document ... please note the date.

FEEDBACK has been removed because it had been targeted by some clown with nothing better to do than email garbage. 

UM golf course: It's a love-hate thing
May 12, 2005 12:00 am
(0) Comments
Well, it looks like the University of Montana will retain its beloved golf course.
On Tuesday, the Board of Regents, in their finite wisdom, voted down the big, fat condominium project that would have replaced the UM golf course with … uh … big, fat condominiums.

For the record, I'm not opposed to condominiums. I happen to own one of those glorified apartments.  They're absolutely wonderful. You get all the pleasures of apartment living n shared walls with neighbors, the square footage of a hamster cage, beer cans in your driveway n with additional bonuses that include the fact you don't actually own any land and $150 monthly condo fees that cover garbage disposal and toilet flushing.

However, I'd much rather have a golf course, which is why I'm hopeful this Iraq war thing works out because I need some practice out of the sand. Though the UM golf course is a "lower tier" course in golfdom n I think they just barely lost the bid to host the U.S. Open in 1995 n many golfers in this town, including me, have very fond memories there and yearn to make more of them before we are killed by lightning.

Like hole No. 1, for example. I think it's absolutely adorable when 75 people are behind you belching and sucking down beer while you're teeing off. It gives you that "extra edge" when some slob burps up some Bud Light and chunks of hot dog, causing you to cringe in revulsion during your backswing and shank your tee shot onto the driving range.
Really, that's an exaggeration. I love the UM golf course.

Hole No. 3 is the most beautiful on the course. What you do is walk up the side of a mountain then hit your ball into 17 acres of weeds. From there, it's a mere 73 strokes or so before you finish. If you're careful and manage to not smack it to the right, you can avoid the weeds and hit the ball into a forest instead. Then it's only a little "chip shot" through 8,500 branches and over an alligator-infested marsh to the green with a 280-yard 3-wood for a birdie attempt.  Really, that's an exaggeration. I love the UM golf course.

Some golfers I know have complained over the years that the duffers who gravitate toward the UM course know as much about golf as they do about how to perform a vasectomy with a butter knife. The key is to heat the butter knife first, and then make the incision. Never, EVER use a cold butter knife.  Oh, and clean off the butter first also.

It's true that very few of the golfers who play the UM course are lining up for a Callaway contract.  During the summer days, the course attracts lots of younger amateur golfers who enjoy the sport but don't necessarily know which end of the club to hold. They also tend to think "bogey" is '70s slang for a marijuana joint.
Really, that's an exaggeration. I love the UM golf course.

Although all golf courses have their share of beginners, the UM course has become sort of a repository for these types of golfers, a round being relatively inexpensive there. It's fairly easy to spot such beginners. Look for the teenagers in baggy pants chasing around the wildlife with a putter in between hitting the ball sideways 34 feet a whack.
Really, that's an exaggeration. I love the UM golf course.

The course is actually perfect for guys like me who are decent but don't take the game so seriously that we suffer heart attacks and fits of white-hot rage that cause divorces and funerals.  It's a pedestrian course, a bit rough around the edges. Depending on the crowd, of course, a round will take about as much time as it takes to translate the Dead Sea Scrolls into pig Latin. But it is in no way without its charms.  I can't think of one right now, but I'll get back to you on that.

Oh yeah. The dog-leg left No. 8, a par 4. I love that hole. What you do is get out your driver, tee up the ball and crush it to try and cut the corner. After it careens off the trees and out of bounds into a pile of dirt, it's a mere 600 yards to the parking lot, where your car is waiting.
Really. That's an exaggeration. I love the UM golf course.  Really, I do.
Jamie Kelly is a mediocre golfer who once stuck it tight from 230 at the UM golf course. Trouble was, it was his 15th stroke. Reach him at 523-5254 or at

Advocates for Missoula's Future (AMF) is a grassroots organization of individuals who care about the University golf course as open space and value the residential housing areas that surround it. We favor the construction of a new facility for the Missoula College, but not at the enormous cost that accrues to the students and community in the development on top of dedicated athletic fields/open space. We care for the University and support the Missoula College with its own campus. Construction at the Fort Missoula location would have joined the scattered facilities of the Missoula College (formerly College of Technology) in one place, preserved the valuable open space and residential communities in southeast Missoula, and provided a winning solution for all concerned. We collected, and represented, over 6,000 signatures on petitions to preserve the golf course and build Missoula College at the Fort. We believe that the main campus, with completion of unfinished space and appropriate scheduling can provide adequate classrooms for any foreseeable growth of the University of Montana.

Advocates for Missoula's Future
P.O. Box 8506
Missoula, MT 59807