Bellingham Golf: North B'ham GC Review
They play old school winter golf at the North Bellingham Golf Course (18 holes, $36).
The course is spacious, well groomed, and busy, but soggy as a Maine Labrador in the "off season". I joined a professorly couple from Vancouver, BC for an 18 hole round on December 27th, 2018. The chilly morning mist (38 degF) gave way to damp overcast conditions through mid-day. A nearly imperceptible warming occurred somewhere around hole 4, but the chill returned as soon as we crossed the bridge on 15. I carried my bag, which meant my feet were wet immediately and my lower legs were positively soaked by the turn. Despite the dish sponge-like footing, no actual rain materialized all day. So we had that going for us, which was nice.
My cheery, erudite partners played the course consistently and generally very well. I put three balls in the water, mixed in a few pars, chipped and putted decently, hit my hybrid well (about 20 times), but found myself writing down a shocking number of 6s and 7s. I didn't use my 3, 4, 5, or 6 irons and could easily have played the course with just a 4 hybrid, 9 iron, sand wedge, and a putter. It seemed like every other hole I was ranging fairway shots at 175 yards and approach shots from 55.
The links-style course is fairly long and has tons of room between holes. While you tend not to play from these areas, they provide a good buffer from other parties, making for a very pleasant walk even when the place is full. Trees are a factor on just one hole. There is a good deal of topography along each fairway and no shortage of ponds, wet swales, and stiff-sand bunkers. Draw shots off the tee are rewarded far more often than fades. Heavy faders will find themselves navigating thick rough or eye to eye with a mallard. Playing well at North Bellingham GC requires confident fairway club play and pinpoint wedge work from 30-60 yards.
All in all, I had a really nice day, met some new friends, and learned a new course. Its a relaxed and well cared for facility with a good pro shop. The course sees quite a bit of traffic year round.
The take away: Don't let your first impression fool you. Its not flat and it ain't that wide.