For the Love of Golf
A Brief Glimpse of the History of Valley
View Golf Club
as Seen Through the Eyes of Jeanne Roby
By Nina Sims
Close to the end of World War II, Jeanne Roby
met and married a US serviceman in Cambridge, England.
It was 1944 and she was 21 years old. When the war ended,
she and her husband, Harold, moved to their new home
in Bozeman and joined Valley View Golf Club. But was
a far different golf club than it is today.
The Club, which was already established when Jeanne
arrived on the scene, was located on the property which
today is euphemistically known as “Nob Hill”.
The boundaries were South Church, Kagy (which at that
time was nothing more than a dirt lane), and Highland
The first hole started at the bottom of the hill on
Church, and the golfer reached the green by hitting
uphill all the way to a dog leg to the left built into
the side of the hill. The second hole was at the extreme
top of the hill. There were no powered carts in those
days; indeed, there were no pull carts. So golfers carried
their clubs, and occasionally their infants in a carryall,
to navigate the course. Jeanne remembers carrying a
2, 3, and 4 wood, a 5, 6, and 7 iron, a mashie and a
putter in a canvas bag. Eventually pull carts came into
being which made golfing much easier.
Caring for the green was no problem. They were made
of sand. Before putting a scrapper was dragged between
the ball and the hole so putting could take place on
a smooth surface. The members would periodically oil
the green to enhance the putting surface.
The log clubhouse was located on South Church. It had
a deck, which wrapped all the way around and when dances
were held, the members would dance around the clubhouse
on the deck. Some years later this structure was sold,
converted into a home, and is still in existence.
The membership, composed of less than 60 people, was
a young group. Many of the men had returned from World
War II and were embarking on new careers or attending
MSU on the GI Bill. The Golf Club was the focal point
for much of their social life. There were parties, Sunday
breakfasts prepared by members, dances, bridge games,
and a women’s golf group, which played on Tuesdays,
just like today.
The dues were very reasonable, around $15 annually.
Revenue was derived from dues and slot machines in the
clubhouse and members did much of the work that needed
to be done.
When the decision was made to move the club to its present
location, the members were ambivalent. The close knit
group knew they were going to miss the camaraderie and
good times they had at the old location. But they looked
forward to the new and better course and clubhouse.
In the mid-sixties visionaries in the golf club saw
the advantage of moving from Kagy and Church to the
present location on Kagy. In order to finance the move,
the land on which the old course was located was traded
to Gene Graf for bottomland on Kagy plus options on
In the beginning it was a nine-hole course with a driving
range on Kagy to the right of the present Club House.
At first the clubhouse was a trailer but, anxious to
have their own club house, the members decided to build
one. The members donated the majority of the labor and
many of the fixtures were contributed also. The men
did most of the building on Saturday and the wives took
dinner to them so they could get as much finished as
possible. All the members did a variety of things to
raise money for equipment and for appliances.
In the meantime the course was taking shape. About that
time the City decided to make Kagy a proper street and
much of the dirt and gravel removed to form the ponds
and lakes are part of the roadbed of Kagy.
At that time, like today, Bozeman was experiencing a
drought and the biggest problem was getting the greens
to grow. Harold Roby, along with others, hand watered
the greens. Finally members from MSU used their agricultural
expertise to reseed the greens. This resulted in grass
but also in weeds, which had been mixed in with the
hay used as cover to keep the seed moist. This meant
that members met to hand weed the greens and, not incidentally,
an excuse for another pot luck party.
Another problem was rocks. There were rock sessions,
but no music was involved. Members, including children
would go down the fairways and pick up rocks. The success
of their labor is apparent today as one plays down the
All of these things served to pull the already close-knit
group tighter and, although it was hard work, it was
great fun. The members resumed their Sunday morning
breakfasts, dances, dinners, and bridge parties. Their
social life again revolved around the club and, since
the club didn’t have a liquor license, members
brought their own bottles. After several surprise visits,
the inspector finally warned the members they would
have to have a liquor license or suffer the consequences.
Fortunately, through the intervention of a friend of
the club who “happened” to be on the Liquor
Board, an open liquor license was granted to the Valley
View Golf Club.
For ten years it was a nine-hole course, however, realizing
there would have to be 18 holes in order to be a viable
golf course, plans were made. Ultimately it took several
years and lots of work to reach that goal. The driving
range was sold and the money used to help finance the
construction of the additional nine holes. Again the
members donated their time and labor to reach this goal.
Dana Schrupp planted the willow trees to the right of
the driving and left of Hole #10. The trees, which were
veritable sticks when he planted them, are now tall
willows. And, once again, the membership turned their
attention to raising money.
At that time a high level conference of Naval personnel
and others, including such notables as Wernher von Braun,
was scheduled to be held in Bozeman. Betty Babcock,
then the Governor’s wife, asked Jeanne to chair
a social committee which would entertain the wives.
Naturally, one of the activities Jeanne arranged was
a cocktail party at Valley Golf Club for the men and
their wives. Jeanne remembers seeing the hat rack, which
looked, like a sea of gold braid. Ray and Kay Campeau
set up several bars around the 9th hole and, together
with the women of Valley View, served drinks and hors
doeuvers, which the women had made. Mrs. Von Braun requested
a cup of hot tea and there was a bit of a scurry as
someone made a run to the store to purchase tea. The
party was a success and Valley View had more money for
their expansion program.
Today Valley View is a beautiful and challenging course
with a nice clubhouse and all the amenities. But ask
Bill and Lou Ogle or Dana and June Schrupp about the
old days. Like Jeanne, they will probably tell you that
nothing can replace the grand times and camaraderie
they had when they were young and full of life. The
times when, like mountain goats, they used to trudge
up and down the old Valley View Golf Course, all for
the love of golf.