The Old Works Golf Course is not only the only Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course in the state, it also has the distinction of being the only course built on a Federal EPA Superfund site.
Once, the site was home to Anaconda's century-old historic copper smelter, and Nicklaus made use of the existing elements to design a unique golfing experience. For example, the black slag byproduct of the smelting process is found in all the course bunkers and waste areas, making for a unique and stunning contrast to the white sand found on most golf courses. The material is said to be fairly dense and plays much like traditional sand, with a sand wedge the recommended club.
The course also features the other elements you'd expect to find on such a location, including rugged-looking, copper-streaked hills, rock outcroppings and mounds, along with tall, native grasses and rolling terrain. There's a bit of water on the course as well, including a small pond and a lake around which several of the holes play, and Warm Spring Creek, which runs alongside several others.
Some of the more noteworthy holes include Hole No. 4, a picturesque par-3 that epitomizes the namesake of the course. Playing downhill, tee shots must carry brown rough and rocks and aim for the green, with the mountainous, copper-streaked remnants of Flue #5 looming in the background.
On Hole No. 6, the black slag used in place of sand is especially apparent, and golfers may find it a bit disconcerting to see so much black stuff lining both sides of this twisting fairway.
The next hole is the longest par-3 on the course at 238 yards from the back tees, but plays slightly downhill. Similar to the previous hole, the green sits amid a see of black slag, making for a stunning visual sight, especially with the sun shining and highlighting the island of green at its center.
Hole No. 12 is a par-4 that plays downhill to a bunker-less green, which is said to make judging the proper yardage more difficult. This hole also provides a stunning contrast, as tall, golden-brown grasses invade the green fairway from the left, while the 200-foot-tall cliffs that once separated the Upper Works and Lower Works loom on the right.
One of the most difficult and picturesque holes at Old Works is hole No. 16. This par-4 curves around a small lake, then plays to a green guarded by black slag and the foundation wall of the old Silver Mill. In the background loom some of the area's small mountains.
The Old Works course practice facilities are said to be the best in the state and include a 40,000-square-foot Bent grass teeing area/driving range with five target greens, as well as separate putting and chipping/bunker practice greens. There's also a three-hole practice course called the Little Bear Course, which allows players to experience actual course conditions before starting their round.
The Old Works course also features a brick clubhouse, which houses a golf shop as well as a restaurant with beautiful views of the Anaconda-Pintler Mountains.