The Smith Lake Disc Golf Course is a public disc golf course that is located on Montana DNRC Trust Lands. Through a land use permit agreement with the Montana DNRC the Whitefish Disc Federation LLC operates the Smith Lake Disc Golf Course. With the aid of local players and the 501c3 non-profit Flathead Valley Disc Golf the disc golf community raises a minimum of $2100 annually to keep this course open. The $1500 we pay annually to use this beautiful land is used for funding schools in Montana.
The Smith Lake Folf Course, Smith Lake 1.0, was built and designed in 2002 by local disc golfer Carter Allen. The DNRC allowed Mr Allen to put in posts with metal tones for targets at the north end of Whitefish Lake where the road to Smith Lake begins. Smith Lake 1.0 was shorter tree course that represented a different time in Whitefish where people were completely unfamiliar with disc golf. The agreement was loose and the DNRC let it happen as long as no baskets, signs, or anything was put in the ground. It was viewed as a place people through discs in the trees.
In 2005 with the departure of Carter Allen the Whitefish Disc Federation LLC (WDF) was formed with Ken Deeds and a few other local disc golfers. At that time the WDF and the DNRC started discussing building a course near Murray Lake as well as making Smith a permanent course. Several projects were close but never finalized. In 2015 the DNRC reached out to the WDF and decided to make Smith Lake a permanent course. The agreement would give disc golfers a place to have a dedicated course and allow the DNRC to address problems that arose with Smith Lake 1.0. Issues with garbage, fires from cigarette butts, safety (close holes), parking, soil erosion, and soil compaction were addressed. In 2016 the WDF entered our first agreement with the DNRC and in 2019 signed a longer term agreement.
Using new terrain with views of Whitefish Lake to the Mission Mountains the 2018 Smith Lake 2.0 rebuild altered the face of Smith Lake. The new layout added 9 holes making it a 27 hole layout. 2 holes were used from Smith 1.0 and the rest of the holes took advantage of logging operations that occurred in 2007 and 2008. The DNRC also requested the course reached the upper Smith Lake parking lot so this created a lot more distance to the course and far more elevation change. Smith Lake 2.0 bridged the gap of a technical and tournament style course.
In spring of 2020 shortly after the completion of Smith Lake 2.0 a historic blow down occurred in the area and over 60% of the course trees were leveled by 100 mph winds. The DNRCs cleanup of the area has continued into 2021 and in July of 2021 the WDF received approval of the new Smith Lake 3.0 layout. The new layout uses about 50% of the Smith Lake 2.0 course. The rest takes advantage of the blow down and lumbering and adds 4 new par 4 holes and more length and technicality to the course. Version 3.0 is closer to a true tournament course.