The Northwest’s Best Golf Day Trips

Published on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 in News | Slider

Bear Mountain Ranch in Chelan

People ask us all the time, “Where do you play most of your golf?” And the answer is that as producers of Cascade Golfer, there is no one course that we play all that much more than any other. Instead, we feel a duty to go out and see as many different courses each year as we can — I personally play about 25 rounds or so a year, and unless I am playing 36 in a day at the same course, they will all be at different tracks.

That said, there are a few that seem to make the list every single year — particularly when it comes time to schedule a day trip. Suncadia, Semiahmoo, Gold Mountain … some courses are so good, we just can’t let a year go by without hitting them at least once. Here are a few of our favorite summer day trips.

Location: Roslyn, Wash.
Distance from Seattle: 83 miles

It doesn’t really matter which one you’re going there to play — Prospector and Rope Rider are each among our favorite courses in the state, and each have made appearances in our bi-annual rankings of Washington’s Top-10 Public Courses. Prospector is more scenic, with a lot of elevation change and some of the most memorable holes you’ll play all year. Rope Rider has a few more risk-reward holes, though, a slightly easier layout, and a fascinating backstory. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Play one, or play them both, and you’ll have a heck of a day.

Location: Blaine, Wash.
Distance from Seattle: 114 miles

Blaine sounds far away, but it’s really not — at less than two hours from Seattle, it’s closer than you think. An easy morning drive puts you on the tee box at either of Semiahmoo Resort’s two semi-private tracks, Semiahmoo (open to the public on odd days of the month) and Loomis Trail (open to the public on even days of the month). They couldn’t be more different — Semiahmoo is a traditional, Northwest-style course, with tree-lined fairways, lots of elevation change, and small greens. Loomis, meanwhile, is a wetlands track, with far fewer trees, but water in play on seemingly every shot. Play them twice, or spend the night and play both (or, hit one of Bellingham’s many terrific courses on the way back home) — you won’t be disappointed.

Location: Olympic Peninsula
Distance From Seattle: Variable

We’re lumping these together for our purposes, because it’s honestly just too hard to choose. But you can guarantee that at least once per season, we’re heading across the water to play 36 at two of the Peninsula region’s outstanding tracks. We’ve paired the two courses at Gold Mountain — the Olympic and Cascade — Trophy Lake and McCormick Woods, White Horse and Port Ludlow, Cedars at Dungeness and Discovery Bay, Salish Cliffs and Alderbrook … you name it. The Peninsula has so many great courses, you could make your choice by simply throwing darts at a map and you wouldn’t go wrong. Most are in the lower to middle price points, too, making this a day trip that won’t bust your budget.

Location: In a 40-mile radius around Wenatchee
Distance From Seattle: Variable, but roughly 147 miles

Central Washington is another place that sounds too far away to do as a day trip, but it’s easy to leave at a normal breakfast hour, play 36, and be back by bedtime. We should know — we make this trip literally every year, piecing together some combination of Leavenworth Golf Course, Kahler Glen (both in or near Leavenworth), Highlander (East Wenatchee), Desert Canyon (just up the river in Orondo), Bear Mountain Ranch or Lake Chelan Municipal (the latter two in Chelan). Every one of them is worth the greens fee you’ll fork over, ranging from the low (Kahler, Leavenworth, Lake Chelan) to higher (BMR, Desert Canyon) ends of the spectrum. We typically like to take from one of each — say, BMR and Lake Chelan muni, or Leavenworth and Desert Canyon. Leave home at 7 a.m. and you can be teeing off in the Central Washington sunshine by 10. Finish your first round by 2:30 (if you’re slow), hit your next course at 3:30, finish at 7:30 (afternoon rounds are usually faster) and be home by 10. It’s a day trip we never miss.

Location: Yakima
Distance from Seattle: 150 miles

Here’s another chance to let those 80- and 90-degree days warm you up. One of the state’s most picturesque courses, Apple Tree is another favorite day-trip stop. The front nine winds through an active apple orchard, while the back nine courses alongside a housing development. Of course, most people come to play No. 17 — the famous “apple” green par-3. It’s every bit as memorable and enjoyable as it looks in print — but don’t sleep on the course’s other memorable holes, including No.s 3, 4, 5, 7, 14, 16 and 18. So, basically, all of them.

This is hardly a complete list. We’ll frequently head up to Kayak Point, or Eaglemont, or take advantage of all-day rates at Avalon. Bellingham, as previously mentioned, has plenty of terrific courses of its own, while Hawks Prairie in Olympia makes a good little day trip for someone who wants to put fewer miles on their car. Where are your favorite summertime destinations?

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