Destination: Northwest Washington

Updated: May 1, 2018

The far Northwest corner of Washington state offers up some great golf all in various shapes and sizes of plush greenery.

The area north and south of Bellingham booms with golf personality and championship caliber challenges. Bargain prices, stellar maintenance, beautiful layouts and breathtaking views combined with the upcoming pristine spring and summer weather makes the Northwest corner of the state a can’t-miss golf destination.

From Arlington to Blaine, there’s always a fine-tuned layout to play, a posh place to stay and a price that’s guaranteed to be well worth the investment.

At every dogleg, there’s a new gem to find in the area. Every golfer, from novice to pro, can find something that suits their game and satisfies their golf appetite. Go take a bite out of some of the state’s best courses and a region filled with enough quality to make it worth a summer tour.

North Bellingham Golf Course
North Bellingham Golf Course opened in 1995 and is a Scottish style links golf course. The openness leaves one exposed to the elements and one’s game at the mercy of the wind at times.

The greens are firm and fast, making a balky putter something to leave at home. The well-manicured greens roll true and put a premium on good putting.

The layout offers 12 ponds, making 14 of the holes play with a water hazard and 58 white-sand bunkers. In fact a two-year bunker project with new sand in all the bunkers throughout the course was completed in 2014. North Bellingham also has plenty of holes that grab your attention early and keep it the rest of the round.

There’s plenty to like as you stand on the first tee at North Bellingham and look at the links layout, including the course being one of the driest in the area and a course with some of the best greens you will putt on. The club tournaments also feature some terrific payouts.

Semiahmoo Resort
The 36-hole destination resort, located in Blaine, offers two of the toughest and also acclaimed public courses in the state with Loomis Trail and Semiahmoo Resort courses. Both are top ranked courses and are extremely challenging with plenty of water hazards to add to the fun.

Loomis Trail was ranked as the No. 1 public course in Washington by Golf Digest (2005) and was the only Washington state course ranked in the nation’s Top 100. Loomis Trail, open to the public on even days of the month, combines the magic of scenic beauty and dry conditions suitable for year-round play.

Tree-lined Semiahmoo, ranked the No. 3 public course by Golf Digest (2005), offers five holes with water and a course that can stretch to 7,005 yards from the tips. This course is open to the public on odd days of the month. Some great golf and a restful stay at the resort are sure to be a winning combination.

Both courses are a treat, and many golfers head north just to play a golfing doubleheader on alternate days. While the golf is stellar, the resort is world-class too.

Semiahmoo features a tough one-two punch with hazard-filled hole Nos. 11 and 12. Water lines the right side of the fairway at the 371-yard par-4 11th hole and flanks the green, making both the tee shot and approach tough on even the most skilled golfers.

No. 12 is a 173-yard par-3 requires a tee shot over water. There is bailout room left to avoid water, but miss it right and you’re wet.

Shuksan Golf Club

With the Shuksan Golf Club in Bellingham, the theme is nature. There are wetlands throughout the golf course and the first bit of water trouble comes into play on the very first hole.

Elevated tees and greens are prominent throughout the layout as the course varies over 100 feet in elevation. Ten Mile Creek meanders throughout the layout and cuts across many of the fairways to keep golfers on guard.

Shuksan Golf Club added length to the course recently and it now stretches beyond 7,000 yards from the back tees. And as a result the ratings from the white tees went from 121 to 131. Newly re-designed bunkers, water features and more have added to the course. Golf Digest has always rated this outstanding with course four stars since opening in 1991 and the course keeps that rating year after year.

A new 250-seat outdoor terrace has opened for golf events, wedding receptions and more. The new Clubhouse Grille is also a hit with golfers at Shuksan.

Homestead Golf Club
Homestead Golf Club is located on the outskirts on Lynden on what was once dairy land. The course plays to 6,927 yards with a slope of 140 from the back tees. The fairways are generous but water comes into play on many holes but because the course is very flat it is often not visible from the tees or fairways so to prevent any surprises, refer to the yardage book for safety. The course is well bunkered so golfers must be careful and again, use the yardage book. Reviews of the course repeatedly refer to the great service by the staff.

The signature hole is the par-5 525-yard finishing hole with an island green (the only one is the state) that offers gutsy long hitters the opportunity to go for the green in two, but the shot requires a precision shot to carry the water and to hit the island green. If you stay dry a birdie is a possibility, but par is still a good score on this beautiful hole. Golf Digest once ranked the hole’s green as one of the nation’s top island greens.

Homestead Farms Golf Club also includes a restaurant and a fitness center for vacationers. Stay and play arrangements are available at the Silver Reef Casino in nearby Ferndale,Wash.

Avalon Golf Club
The kingdom of Avalon, home of All-Day golf – Avalon Golf Links of Burlington is the only 27-hole facility in the area and well worth the 50-minute drive from the Seattle area. Three separate nines make up the 27 holes and are simply named the South, West and North Courses.

The name Avalon means an island represented as an earthly paradise in the western seas to which King Arthur and other heroes were carried at death, is a golfing paradise just off Interstate 5.

The Robert Muir Graves-designed course is a bargain all the way. Avalon offers an all-day promotion seven days a week, 365 days a year (rates vary depending on the day of the week). Avalon also provides golfers a free round on their birthday with proper identification of course.

Lake Padden Golf Course
If you are looking for some of the best in public friendly golf, then look no further than Lake Padden, located just south of Bellingham.

The course has undergone plenty of great changes through the years and improved maintenance has the course featuring some solid fairways and greens that roll true.

The course is also home of the Bellingham Amateur, which is held every Labor Day weekend.

Sudden Valley Golf Club
Sudden Valley Golf Club is known for its two distinctly different nines. The front nine, which winds past the southern shores of Lake Whatcom, is relatively flat and open. The back nine, which feels carved from a forest, wanders through the trees and offers some narrow fairways and variation in elevation. The Bellingham course, designed by Ted Robinson and ranked a four-star offering by Golf Digest, has improved drainage on all 18 holes.

Eaglemont Golf Club
Mount Vernon has a true treasure in Eaglemont Golf Club with its meandering fairways, shots over wetlands and eye-opening views Mount Baker and the Cascade mountain range. Golf Digest ranked the course ninth in the state of Washington along with awarding it four stars in 2009. Eaglemont is a challenging course, and provides multiple sets of tees to accommodate golfers of all skill levels.

The John Steidel-designed course has challenging long carries over wetlands off the tee and on approach shots on several holes. It’s these kind of shots that give the course it’s unique appeal. The clubhouse sits on a hilltop with a spectacular birdseye view of the second and third holes and the natural wilderness/mountain setting.

The new superintendent, Troy Russell, has worked at Bandon Dunes and Wine Valley, has worked hard to put the course in top condition. New ownership group, Eaglemont Operating Partners, has implemented improvements to the wedding area, upgrades to the clubhouse and more.

Whidbey Golf Club
Set in the midst of a quiet, lake and tree-lined glen of Oak Harbor you’ll find the natural beauty and unique character of one of Whidbey Island’s best-kept secrets. Welcome, to Whidbey Golf Club, established over 52 years ago. Whidbey Golf Club is a semi private, family oriented club that boast of one of the Northwest’s most exciting golf courses that accommodates all levels of play from champion to super senior.

With its natural beauty, thrilling year-round play, and first-class dining facilities make WGC a natural choice for any occasion. Whether enjoying a round of golf, celebrating a wedding, or meeting for business, Whidbey Golf Club delivers an affordable quality that simply can’t be beat. Oak Harbor sits in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains resulting in an average annual rainfall 50% less rainfall than most of the Puget Sound area. The lower rainfall, combined with the soil conditions makes the golf course very playable in the winter.

San Juans Islands
A trio of nine-hole courses including Orcas Island Golf Club, Lopez Island Golf Club and San Juan Golf & Country Club provide quality golf to vacationers in the San Juan Islands. Orcas Island is the oldest of the three courses, as it was designed and built in 1960. It’s a popular destination in summer and was recently purchased by a young local family, the Taylor Family. Lopez Island was built more than 40 years ago and is open to the public.

Gateway Golf Course
Gateway Golf Course is a serene and picturesque course on the scenic route of Highway 20 located in Sedro Woolley. Gateway has undergone several major improvements over the past few years including a complete renovation of the course for major improvements.

Swinomish Golf Links
The Swinomish Tribe got into the golf business by purchasing Similk Beach Golf Course and turning it into their own Swinomish Golf Links. The course is part of the Swinomish Casino and Lodge, a place with water views, RV parking, restaurants, gambling and more. The golf course is also a good test and the tribe has put money back into the course to give a new look and some solid conditioning through the 18 holes.

Camaloch Golf Course

Located on Camano Island, Camaloch Golf Course has not only an 18-hole championship course but also a par-3 course to offer. Camaloch is located in the Puget Sound’s Sun Belt and receive about one-half of the annual rainfall of nearby courses, keeping it dry year-round.

The course is located just 15 minutes off of Interstate-5, giving it easy access for those looking for a round right off the freeway. The course plays to 6,234 yards from the back tees but offers reasonable distances for all levels of players.

The course also features a new bar and grill called Rockaway.

The scenery is always good and the holes are challenging, giving you more reasons to make the trip to Camaloch Golf Course.


Gleneagle takes a lot of pride in their greens and course condition and they are now in the process of a bunker renovation, adding 450 tons of sand. “Some of the better sand you will find at any public course in Western Washington,” said head professional Paul Melohusky.

The course is only 5,050 yards from the white tees with a par 70, but can stretch to 5,949 from the back tees. This makes Gleneagle fun for short hitters, while allowing longer hitters some birdie opportunities. Gleneagle is running its third annual “Horse Race” competition series, with two races a month and always on Friday – call for details.

Annual memberships are $900 at Gleneagle.



Looking for some options on your drive to Northwest Washington? You might want to take a look at places like Cedarcrest Golf Course in Marysville, just north of Seattle.

Premier Golf, which runs a variety of courses in the Pacific Northwest, recently took over management of Cedarcrest. Built in 1927, Cedarcrest Golf Course is Snohomish County’s most established public golf facility.

This picturesque 3-star course, redesigned by golf architect John Steidel, offers an unparalleled golfing experience – challenging play, natural beauty, meticulous greens and endless fun. An abundance of mature evergreen trees line the fairways, natural water features are plentiful and the addition of 52 sand bunkers installed in 2010 guard the small undulating greens.

Measuring just under 6,000 yards with a par of 70, the course is not long by today’s standards, but golfers must be on their game if they wish to score here. The course has plenty of tradition dating back to 1927, but in 1996 the city of Marysville closed the golf course and began a $3 million, 16-month makeover. Holes were re-modeled, new greens were put in play and a new drainage system was created. The course got bumped to nearly 6,000 yards and a par-70 with the new look during the re-model almost 20 years ago.

Kayak Point
Golf Digest has selected Kayak Point in Stanwood, Washington as one of “America’s Top 50 Public Courses to Play”. The land Kayak Point sits on was originally destined to be a refinery, but after the people of Snohomish County voted down the project, 640 acres were sold back to the county by Atlantic Richfield to be turned into a park development including a golf course.

The course plays through a forest with tree-lined fairways on every hole. Elevation changes add to the fun and provide a bit of excitement to the round.

Kayak Point is constantly improving itself – a few years ago they gave a new look to the clubhouse complete with new carpet, new bathrooms, new pro shop and a new pavilion was added that can hold groups from 50-70.

On the course, work has been completed on an irrigation control system that allows water to parts of the course that need it. Crowned tees have been flattened and steps in between holes have been removed and replaced with bricks.