Photo by Rick Lewis
Rick Northcott cleaned out the No. 1 tee box in preparation for the opening of Bear Creek Golf Course near Winthrop in early April.

Bear Creek Golf Course opened in 2022 on the public open layout owned by the local community.

The course officially opened on April 2, with a number of local players taking advantage of the opening to take advantage of acceptable early season weather conditions as temperatures rose and winds died down early last week. .

Brothers Bart and Rick Northcott are entering their second year of operating the nine-hole, 18-tee, par-72 course under a lease from the Court family, local owners of the property since the 1950s. The Northcotts have been busy ever since the beginning of March, clearing snow from the greens, trimming and felling dangerous trees, maintaining equipment and updating the clubhouse for the new season.

It’s been a constant learning curve for the crew, but the course appears to be, according to local golf fans, in the best spring conditions they’ve seen in years.

Greens, which historically take months to recover from late winter snow mold, are already showing signs of recovery and many are approaching a recently seen state through late May and early June.

Bear Creek Facts

  • Weekday green fees are $24 for nine holes, $36 for 18. On weekends, the nine-hole rate drops to $27, and 18 holes will cost $40. The junior discount is $5 off the posted play fee. An electric cart for nine holes will cost $9 per rider, $16 for a full round.
  • Every Friday evening from June to August, the B&S Barbeque offers a barbecue dinner, with a varied menu from week to week. The cost is around $20-25 per plate depending on the menu of the week and reservations are strongly encouraged by calling the golf course before the date.
  • Freshly made hot dogs and sandwiches are available at the pro shop counter, along with an assortment of snacks and beverages.
  • A disc golf course is also operated on the property. The fee is $14 per spin.
  • Several sizes of buckets of balls, for warm-up or rigorous practice, are available at the clubhouse, for use on the driving range. There is also a small practice field adjacent to the workshop and cart storage building. Bring your own bag full of balls and get ready to clean up when you’re done.
  • Contact information: (509) 996-2284; www.bearcreekgolfcourse.com.

“The punching and sanding of the greens last spring seems to have made a big difference,” said Rick Northcott. “Greens 5, 6 and 7 performed quite well. Number 3 will take a little longer.

Bart Northcott was quick to thank some local Bear Creek Men’s Club volunteers for their efforts on this project in May 2021. “They’ve been amazing,” he said. “And it meant so much to us to have that help.”

There will be another airing and top dressing from early to mid-May, and the Men’s Club has again offered its members a team of volunteers to help with this project.

men’s club

The Bear Creek Men’s Club meets every Wednesday evening through September. The club is governed by a board of directors and volunteer leaders, and hosts a weekly event for members and guests. Departure time is at 5 p.m. Games vary throughout the summer, providing a chance to play and socialize for fun.

The club is registered with the United States Golf Association (USGA). Members can establish and maintain a USGA handicap through the Golf Handicap Information Network. The cost of membership is $65 per year, which includes a monthly BBQ steak or burger dinner, entry to the 2022 Men’s Club Championship Tournament, and handicap. More information is available at the clubhouse or by stopping by on a Wednesday night to register and play.

women’s club

The reincarnation of the Bear Creek Women’s Club is underway. Once a fairly viable and well-attended Thursday daytime event, Judy McBride strives to invigorate the club and seeks to connect with interested women who want to play, learn and have fun.

“I definitely anticipate the women’s club being active again, hopefully more active,” McBride said. “I’m planning a meeting at the golf course for April 18 at noon.” There is an open invitation for interested women to attend.

A schedule, dues and other details have yet to be determined. McBride can be reached at (509) 393-9507 for more information.

junior golf

Silas Shaw runs a week-long summer day camp in early July for kids ages 10-16 interested in learning to play or improving their skills. Paid and volunteer instruction will be available at the range and on the course. Shaw is still piecing together the details, with more information to come, likely in May.