The Journey of Red Fox Restaurant

From Pastures to Fairways: The Fascinating Origins of Fox Ridge Golf Course and Red Fox Super Club and Lounge

In May of 1987, the Hoff family acquired a 297-acre ranch in the Northeast Helena Valley near the capital city of Helena, with a vision to establish a vibrant golf community. Nestled in the picturesque landscape, this location offers convenient access to the Helena Valley Reservoir, Lake Helena, Hauser Lake, and expansive National Forest Lands, presenting an array of possibilities for outdoor sports and recreational activities. The breathtaking surroundings include tranquil vistas of the Sleeping Giant, Mount Helena, and The Great Divide Ski Range, while nearby Lake Helena and Hauser Lake add to the allure of the area.

The development of the property commenced in a measured manner. Initially, the crucial tasks of securing layout, design, engineering, and financing were undertaken. Concurrently, efforts were made to clear the ranching debris, repair fences, and initiate hay production. Furthermore, a meticulous process involved the transplantation of around 2,800 trees across the designated golf holes. These trees were carefully staked and diligently watered by hand, ensuring their successful integration into the landscape.

Confronted with challenges in securing local financing for the project, the owners assumed full responsibility and spearheaded the development themselves. With a hands-on approach, they personally designed and constructed the inaugural 9-hole Par 3 course. This ambitious undertaking encompassed various tasks, including the meticulous planting of trees, sculpting the fairways, erecting tees, greens, and sand traps, as well as excavating and lining ponds. Additionally, the owners installed comprehensive irrigation systems and diligently prepared and seeded the course. The Par 3 course officially opened its gates in September of 1991 and swiftly captured the admiration and support of the local golfing community.

Nevertheless, the owners faced challenges when seeking approval from Lewis and Clark County for an RV Park neighboring the initial nine holes of the Par 3 course. Undeterred by the setback, they resolved to enhance the Par 3 course by adding an additional nine holes. With unwavering determination, they embarked on the endeavor of transplanting trees, shaping greens and fairways, excavating and lining ponds, and implementing irrigation systems. This ambitious expansion project culminated in the unveiling of the second nine-hole segment of the Par 3 course in May of 1994.

The enthusiastic response garnered by the Par 3 course from golfers in Helena and East Helena, coupled with the owners’ significant personal contributions to the project, paved the way for securing financing for the initial nine holes of the Championship Regulation Course from Mountain West Bank in Helena. This milestone achievement materialized in July of 1995 when the first nine holes of the Championship Regulation Course were officially inaugurated.

In response to the increasing influx of golfers at the development, the owners placed significant emphasis on the construction of a clubhouse. The clubhouse, an expansive 10,800 square feet in size, encompasses essential amenities such as a Pro-Shop, a full-service lounge, a restaurant (Red Fox Supper Club and Lounge), and an inviting outdoor deck. Completed in May of 1998, the clubhouse proved instrumental in elevating the overall golfing experience for all visitors, providing a welcoming hub for relaxation, socializing, and access to various services and facilities.

Unfortunately, the development faced a setback during the final stages of the clubhouse’s completion. Unexpectedly, the president of Mountain West Bank in Helena initially withheld the payment owed to the clubhouse contractor, leading to a dispute with the owners. After much deliberation, the bank president reluctantly agreed to release the payment to the contractor. However, regrettably, the bank president declined any further commitment to support the completion of the project, leaving the owners to find alternative solutions to overcome this challenge.

Undeterred by the obstacles, the owners remained resolute and embarked on an extensive two-year quest to find a bank that shared their vision and was willing to collaborate towards the completion of the project. During this search, a homeowner within the development generously extended their assistance in completing the construction of the back nine holes of the Championship Course. Through the combined efforts of this homeowner and the owners’ unwavering commitment to the project, the remaining phases of the subdivision were diligently pursued, bringing the project ever closer to its culmination. In the year 2000, the final nine holes of the Championship Course were proudly unveiled, marking a significant milestone in the completion of the development.

Beyond the confines of Helena’s financial community, the owners discovered a bank that aligned with their vision and shared their unwavering commitment to realizing the project. The First Continental Bank in Harlowton, Montana, emerged as a dedicated partner, offering the essential support required to bring the development to its successful completion. With their assistance, the owners were able to overcome obstacles and advance toward their shared goal. The collaboration with The First Continental Bank marked a pivotal turning point, providing the necessary resources and backing to ensure the project’s ultimate success.

Currently, Fox Ridge Golf Course caters to a wide range of golfers, providing an exceptional experience for both beginners and seasoned professionals alike. Golf enthusiasts can select from an 18-hole par-3 course or an upscale championship 18-hole Regulation course. The Regulation course, renowned for its challenge, features a formidable three million-gallon pond water hazard, earning its reputation as “One of the most difficult in the west.” This sizable water hazard adds an element of excitement and difficulty that sets it apart. However, Fox Ridge Golf Course isn’t solely geared towards seasoned pros seeking a test of skill. It also offers abundant opportunities for beginner golfers to hone their abilities. Amenities such as a spacious driving range, practice putting greens, a practice bunker, and a dedicated chipping area are available, providing a supportive environment for beginners to practice and refine their techniques.

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