Spectacular natural beauty and a diverse array of courses mark the golf experience in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Towering evergreen trees line emerald green fairways with breaks for shimmering water and snow-capped mountain views. Fourteen courses dot the landscape, the majority of which are open to the public. Traveler can enjoy a variety of golf experiences in a multi-day trip.
Golf Week magazine has recognized Semiahmoo Resortâ€™s two championship golf coursesâ€”Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club and Loomis Trail Golf Clubâ€”among the top 10 â€śPlaces You Can Playâ€ť in Washington State. Open to the public year-around on alternate days, the Arnold Palmer-designed Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club and the Graham Cooke-designed Loomis Trail Golf Club offer premier back-to-back golf experiences within minutes of each other. Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine is the only resort in Washington with 36 holes of high-caliber â€śclubâ€ť golf open to the public, along with a full complement of accommodations, spa, meeting space and other resort amenities. www.semiahmoo.com.
Recognized as one of the finest municipal golf courses in the Pacific Northwest, Lake Padden Golf Course is carved out of a second growth forest, with many tucked away holes offering a private, secluded feel. This 18 hole championship course measures 6,675 yards. It is home to the Bellingham Amateur Tournament each Labor Day weekend. www.lakepaddengolf.com
Crystal views of Lake Whatcom are a central feature of Sudden Valley Golf and Country Club, which is rated â€śfour starsâ€ť by Golf Digest. The front nine is flat with many water hazards, while the back nine is hilly and heavily wooded. There are lots of houses on the course and many elevation changes. The course was designed world renowned golf course architect Ted Robinson. www.suddenvalleygolfclub.com
An entirely different experience awaits at North Bellingham Golf Course, which is flat, open and windswept with stunning views of Mount Baker. North Bellingham was designed as a â€śScottish-style Links Course.â€ť It is surrounded by open fields of flowering meadows with no houses. www.northbellinghamgolf.com
The pastoral setting continues at Shuksan Golf Course, which was named after a nearby Cascade peak. This course was created out of two farms, but is not flat. The course varies more than 100 feet in elevation, with lots of ups and downs, and offers 18 unique landscapes. Wildlife, evergreens, and natural water features are plentiful, as are long par 5s and short par 3s. www.shuksangolf.com
Noted for its excellent drainage, Raspberry Ridge Golf Course is a 9 hole, par 34 course that is popular year-round. It is easy to walk and offers open fairways, with four holes on one side of Hannegan Road and five holes on the other. Bill Robins Sr. built the course out of his raspberry farm in 1984. The course plays in about two and a half hours and the Grill features some of the best burgers around. www.raspberryridgegc.com
Dakota Creek Golf Course in Custer, WA calls itself â€śa walk with nature,â€ť as bald eagles, deer and salmon spawning grounds are frequently seen on this 18-hole public course near the Canadian border. An old farm house and dairy barn still stand on the site. www.dakotacreekgolf.com
Homestead Farms Golf Resort in Lynden, WA is an 18-hole flat, residential course with lots of water and sand. The 18th hole features the only par 5 to an island green in the Pacific Northwest. The course features a hotel, restaurant and plentiful views of Mount Baker. www.homesteadfarmsgolf.com