Imagine teeing off under the midnight sun, surrounded by the Alaskan wild. The links-like course is one of the northernmost in the world, challenging you with uniquely Alaskan hazards: for one thing, it was built right on top of the Alaskan tundra with little-to-no top soil. But the relaxing environment, fresh mountain air, and spectacular panoramic scenery make playing Black Diamond's 9-hole golf course a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
A Tin Can and the Honor System
The course, in one form, first opened in 1995. Owner Mary Usibelli —born and raised in Alaska—and her sister started it because they had a hayfield in the family, and they decided to turn it into a driving range, with an honor-system can where people paid to play. Over the years they added a clubhouse, a 9-hole course and a restaurant, as well as branching out into offering tours, such as ATV and Covered Wagon Tours. Their first year, they had two employees, but now have around 90 (including college students from around the world)during a busy summer; they pride themselves on giving to charity and always looking for ways to improve the course.
Moose Hoof Prints and a Scheming Fox
The course is located right next to a serene mountain lake where wildlife abounds. Mountains tower over your game and wildflowers surround every hole. For a lot of golfers, this is a great opportunity to see what the original courses in Scotland were like. The rugged grass is challenging to say the least, but still designed for easy walking or driving via power cart. Hazards, however, are of the only-in-Alaska variety include moose-hoof prints, tundra marsh, and a local fox that steals your ball off the second green.