A close-up look at Lake Padden Golf Course

Updated: December 30, 2022

With so many golf courses in the Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue area, many golfers would be surprised at the number of high-quality golf courses north of Everett. Specifically, the Bellingham area. It has been billed as ‘Monterey North’ due to the high concentration of golf courses in and around Bellingham. It should be pointed out that the courses in this area are some of the top courses in the state, making the trip north even more rewarding.

One of the first Bellingham courses you will encounter on a trip north would be Lake Padden Golf Course, about one-hour north of Everett, or approximately 80 miles from Seattle. Once north of Everett traveling on I-5 the speed limit bumps up to 70 mph which can reduce the travel time.

If you were to put a label on Lake Padden, you’d have to call it a Parkland-style course, as it presents a track weaving through a wooded landscape with generous fairways framed by tall trees, some reaching up to 150 feet tall. The wilderness-like setting gives the feeling of playing in a park or on your own private course. With a variety of holes and undulating large greens, the course is not a pushover. Doglegs, elevation changes and well maintained greens make this course a local favorite, enjoyed by all ability levels.  Lake Padden takes pride in its reputation for well conditioned fast greens that roll fast and true.

At 6,524 yards from the back tees, its not long by today’s standard, but it has enough teeth to challenge every golfer, no matter their skill level. There are three sets of tees; the White tees are 6,107, a comfortable challenge for the average golfer; the Black/Red combo tees are set at 5,448 yards which are popular with seniors, juniors and ladies.

Between 1991 and 1995 the course went through a complete course-wide upgrade following the design of John Steidel, one of the state’s foremost golf architects; costing $1.7 million.  Golf writer and author, Jeff Shelly, in his 3rd edition of Golf Courses of the Pacific Northwest, compared Lake Padden to Spokane’s Indian Canyon, which, if you’ve ever played Indian Canyon, you realize what a complement that is.