10 Helpful / 0 Not
Glacier DGC - Back 18
Located in Whatcom County, Glacier is a gateway community for the Mount Baker community and is the last outpost on the Mount Baker highway before entering the national forest. The community caters to summer hikers and river rafters, and winter skiers and snowboarders. While Glacier offers food and lodging, there is no gas available, so you will need to return to Maple Falls for fuel.
Nestled in a beautiful valley, Glacier DGC is located just inside the Mount Baker National Recreation Area, and north of the Mount Baker Wilderness Area. The community is about 24 miles west of the Mount Baker Ski Area, and about 32 miles east of the intersection of I-5 and State Route 542 in Bellingham. As other reviewers stated, this course is one of the more beautiful courses in the state. The course has players weaving in and out an old growth forest, incorporating several peaks and valleys with vibrant moss covered trees, massive ferns, winding creeks, and much more native growth making this course very dense.
The holes on the Glacier DGC back 18 are around 200 feet with a few that reach closer to 250 feet. This course utilizes the landscape, creating tight fairway shots which require a great deal of accuracy in order to shoot for birdie. However, the back 18 is much less developed and the dense brush makes lines to the basket much less visible, which also makes navigating more difficult. All holes can be reached with a midrange or putter off the tee like on the other course, and tee pads are all natural and present little issue considering how short the holes are. The same unique baskets on the front 18 are on the back as well and are unlike any other I have played. The hula hoops with the netting make putting a challenge. Baskets lay horizontal about three feet off the ground, and a floating putt will prove much more beneficial compared to a turbo or spin putt.
Navigation on the back 18 is even more difficult then the front 18. Hole one on the back 18 branches off after hole eight or nine on the front 18 and then connects back to the front 18 once finished with the back allowing for all 36 holes to be played in one VERY long round. Again, without the help of the locals my first time, I would have found myself wandering through this densely populated forest in search of the next tee pad at several points during my round. Because Glacier DGC is on the outskirts of the Mount Baker Wilderness Area, getting lost would not be in anyone's best interest considering the area is bear country.
Course design on the back 18, although more hazardous due to all the crossing fairways, is much more balanced in terms of lefty versus righty holes. This course, like the front 18, also lacks much variation when it comes to distance and therefore is most suitable for the intermediate to advanced player. It is a great course to work on midrange and putter upshots, and often requires a balance of finesse and power in order to shoot under on any given hole.
One of my more memorable holes on the course was an anhyzer shot about 175 feet long. Players threw from an elevated tee downward to a hanging basket up in the tree. The design of the hole allowed for multiple lines off the tee and brought yet another unexpected turn to this unique course. Both courses at Glacier DGC were truly memorable for me, with such an amazing way to get out and experience all nature has to offer with its beauty and tranquility, I felt truly blessed.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
A Walk Deeper in the Woods
Pros: The 'back' course is really what it sounds like, an offshoot to the 'front' course which starts about midway through with an inocuous little black marker rock which marks a connector hole (not part of either 18) that bridges the front and back sides. After playing the connector hole which crosses a valley, head right to an obvious looking ceramic marker which signifies the first tee of the back side. From here, you'll be headed up, up, up on a few holes which lead to the top of a small hill and then down, down on the next few (hopefully not too far down in a deep valley that lurks beyond hole 7 and runs parrallel to a few others!). Like its sister course, you'll be putting on the well-constructed hula hoop targets and, again, as on the front side, you won't find variety in terms of distance. BUT, on the back side, you will find a much better balance of right- and left-fading holes. Also like the front side, you'll throw uphill/downhill, soft hyzer/turnovers, and even a couple of short trick shots off the tee but you'll find all of these to be a bit more extreme on the back side with bigger up and downhill shots and harder hooks on a few holes.
Cons: Navigation on the back side is even trickier than on the front, mostly because the first connector hole is labeled as #5 (probably a previous layout). If you are aware that #1 starts at the ceramic marker you should be able to get along alright until the back stretch which gets a bit more confusing. From hole 8, you'll head down what looks to be an old 4wd road to nine and ten. Holes eleven through thirteen play in a tricky triangle formation in which each of the fairways cross over eachother, just play to the most obvious basket off of the tee and you should be able to manage through this section. Near the end of the course, this type of overlapping fairway becomes more frequent so be aware that the fairway you are on may be serving double duty. As on the front side, you won't find much variety in terms of distance with nearly every hole within range of a putter or short midrange. Several holes are quite tight, and while the back side feels perhaps a bit trickier and tighter, experienced players will still not find too much to challenge them here.
Other Thoughts: Similar to the front course, the biggest draw to coming here is the natural beauty of the mountain valley that the town and park reside in. On a clear day, the drive to the course yields fabulous views of the nearby mountains including Baker and Shuksan. The courses likewise have a natural beauty that is impossible to ignore. Moss covered trees, babbling brooks, wooded hillsides full of deep green pines, and dark, chilly valleys are all out here. If you are looking for a more peaceful round, definitely check out the back side as it seems much less visited and offers more tree coverage throughout the course. If you want to spend a weekend up playing the Glacier courses you'll probably want to supplement it with a few other activities - luckily there is amazing skiing and hiking no more than a few minutes up the road at the base of Mount Baker and Shuksan.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Rugged and Fun
Pros: The back 18 course at Glacier is both exhilarating and frustrating all at once. It's tucked back into the property behind the front 18 and is quite a walk to get to in fact the whole property is more like a hike/disc golf combo. Once you do find the start of the back 18 you will see a course that is slightly different from the front; I believe the word "angry" was used on a couple of holes. Just like the front 18 you will see many elevation changes but this course offers even greater change. The lines on this course are a little less visible as it seems to get even less play than the front 18 which doesn't get a ton of play itself. The "angry" up hill holes are fun and tiring all at the same time with many ace possibilities as long as you can land it in the hula hoop. There are some truly epic holes here including the very tricky downhill hole 7 (I think it was 7 anyway) which requires a controlled anhyzer (RHBH) to start and a quick hyzer needed at the end. This hole is quite short but also very challenging like most of the holes out here. If you go long on this hole (like I did) you are looking at a trek to find your disc in the giant ditch which isn't entirely understood when you look from the tee pad.
Cons: The toughest part about this course is finding it!!! You have to walk such a long ways through the front 18 just to find the back, in fact I recommend doing it the way we did and play the first 6 or 7 holes of the front course until you run into the back course and then play on from there. Navigation on this course is much harder and frustrating at times especially when you see multiple hula hoops from one tee pad and there is little navigation other than the painted rocks and little red table flags like you would see at a restaurant that has a number on it. Tee pads on this course have the same problem as the front in that they are short, natural and some have roots or logs on them. Again this course has the hula hoop targets with the netting on the bottom of them to catch discs and although I find it different, creative and fun some of you out there will find them frustrating and annoying; to each his own I say but be warned.
Other Thoughts: I had been hearing about these two courses for years as though they were hidden and secretive but as we asked people in town they were willing to draw us a map and give us directions to find the course when we got lost. It always seemed like an urban legend, hearing about the hula hoop courses but never from someone who actually played, always 'someone who knew someone' who played the course once. I was a little surprised to actually see another group of players out there enjoying themselves on the course, as this is really next to nothing except for a very small town but apparently this is a very popular spot for skiers and snow boarders and hikers going to Mt. Baker. This place is very fun and beautiful and I recommend giving your group (I wouldn't play alone) plenty of time to play and find the holes out here because I believe you are going to have a fun day!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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