We continued our summer tour at Bellevue Golf Course, which is not a fancy high-priced course on the Eastside, but a municipal course that is very popular with people in the area. But for some people like me, who live on the other side of Lake Washington (or north or south), it might as well be on the other side of the Cascades.
Until recently, I had played it only once – 15 years ago with my cousin Jim Tuff. That was a memorable round, actually my best round ever. I returned to Bellevue again recently for review purposes and, of course, wanted Jim in the foursome with my dad and Craig, who lives 4 miles from the course.
Scott: The course has a reputation for being quite crowded (translation: slow rounds) but we played in four hours and didn’t have to wait to hit. … Conditions of the fairways and greens were good for a municipal course. Love that an average player can score well at the course if he or she plays well, but Bellevue has enough teeth to punish bad shots, which I can attest to firsthand. Four hours with Craig, my dad and Jim. Hanging out with people you enjoy is what I love most about golf, and the built-in down time tends to inspire conversation.
Craig: No. 8 is a splendid par-3 with pond, bunkers and elevated green. Hole would be a welcome addition to ANY course in the state. A heron was in the pond when we played. Double-dogleg par-5 No. 5 is fun and memorable. Good final three holes in Nos. 16, 17, 18. Useful sign on No. 14 tee tells golfers how far it is to pond. We enjoyed good sandwiches in restaurant, beer was cold. Double-decker, 46-stall driving range. Walkable and well-maintained. Seattleites who dismiss the Eastside as being too homogenized would be surprised at the ethnic spectrum of golfers at the course.
Scott: Most holes struck me as nothing special. Also, if you don’t live on the Eastside, leave plenty of time to get there.
Craig: Traffic noise from streets on four holes. Facility could use a practice bunker. Could use more length for single-digit golfers but there’s no land available.
Craig: Course was designed by Californian David W. Kent and opened in 1968. Was called Bellevue Municipal for years but today Bellevue Golf Course is preferred name. Owned by city of Bellevue and operated by Premier Golf. One of the busiest courses in the state. Bogey golfer has chance for good score here, and one reason is that course is only 5,945 yards from blue tees and 5,469 from the whites.
Quote: “Jim, I’d be glad to give you some tips so you can be up here with me,” Craig, after his awful, blooped drive went only 90 yards, but 10 yards farther than Jim’s botched drive.
Craig: I was playing at Bellevue years ago with a friend who had to make a mid-round business call and gave these instructions: “OK, guys, no golf noise or golf chatter when I make this call.”
Craig: When K.C. Anderson was running the course in the 1990s, a Bellevue city official called him during an unseasonably wet and gloomy spring demanding to know why golf rounds and revenues were down. Anderson calmly replied, “Does your office have a window?”
The late Seattle bookstore owner Barbara Bailey belonged to the women’s golf club at the course, and it bothered her that Asian and white women golfers didn’t tend to play together. So she became the driving force in creating an annual event now called The Barbara Bailey East Meets West Tournament that puts Asian and white golfers together in the same foursomes.
Craig: Enjoyable course, especially for bogey golfers. I always have considered it a friendly facility. 2½ stars
Scott: Since we don’t give 2¾-star ratings, I am rounding up. Worth playing at least once, even for us from the other side of the lake. 3 stars.