It’s April. The 2016 Masters Tournament is this weekend, and for the golfers among us, it’s the month to pull the clubs out from behind the winter coats and hit the green. Here are some of our favorite spots to play 18 holes just a short drive out of downtown Bellevue. These beautiful courses create the perfect backdrop to enjoy a sunny afternoon with friends or wind down after a business trip.
Just on the northeast side of town you’ll find the meticulously groomed Bellevue Golf Course of 18 holes. This municipal facility doesn’t play especially long (it’s just more than 6,000 yards from the blue tees), but the tall evergreens lining many of the fairways present plenty of challenges. Hone your driving skills on the practice range, or perfect your short game at the nearby nine-hole executive layout, Crossroads Par 3.
Set high on a bluff 10 miles southeast of Bellevue, The Golf Club at Newcastle is famous for its grand 44,000-square-foot clubhouse, which affords guests breathtaking views of Lake Washington and Mount Rainier. Choose from two first-class layouts, Coal Creek and China Creek, and its putting course. The on-site Calcutta Grill and its English-style pub rank among the celebrated dining venues of any golf course in the Pacific Northwest.
Northeast of Bellevue in Redmond, Willows Run Golf Complex offers golfing experiences for every skill level, including an exacting 18-hole putting course, a kid-approved nine-hole par-3 course, and two full-length links-style tracks. Of the latter two layouts, Eagle’s Talon plays longer than adjacent Coyote Creek, but water comes into play frequently on both courses, rewarding both precision and steady nerves. An added bonus: you can often spot wildlife at this leafy complex. Keep an eye out for a wandering coyote or bald eagle.
Looking a little farther north, just outside the wine-country town of Woodinville, Echo Falls Golf Club has developed a reputation for its tricky dogleg fairways and one of the most memorable 18th holes of any public course in the state. Bring your A game—this picturesque but treacherous par-3 requires a solid mid-iron to an undulating island green.
(Photo Credits: The Golf Club at Newcastle image courtesy of Rob Perry Photography)