City of Bellingham Fails in Negotiations with Local Management for Lake Padden Public Golf Course

The City of Bellingham has put out to bid for new management of the Lake Padden Municipal Golf Course. After suffering for years with a contract with the City, which failed to include the City’s participation in a planned capital maintenance program for this asset, the current management has opted not to renew their contract. The City receives a percentage of the fees charged for each round of golf. Fees which should be used for the capital maintenance of this city asset. The current management has made a reasonable offer to the City of Bellingham which would not only keep in place a professionally trained and established local management of our public golf course; it would improve the course to keep it competitive with the private courses in the area. See links below for the two interviews with Padden Golf Course Directors, and the Managements Attorney and Padden Golf Course members, for a fuller understanding of what was offered and why the current management is unwilling to sign-on for another ten-year contract.

The Arnie Hanna Aquatic Center loses hundreds of thousands of dollars every year and relies upon the City for maintenance. In contrast, the City of Bellingham has benefited from the good will of the current golf course management company to maintain and fix almost all of the City’s assets there. What a deal for them and us! Except, that with the declining numbers in golf rounds, private management is unable to continue operating the course this way. What is the City of Bellingham’s answer? Well, thanks for doing our work for us and we’ll see if we can find another patsy to do the same.

How does that square with an Aquatic Center that is heavily subsidized by the City, while our Public golf course does not receive the funding it needs from our parks’ maintenance tax dollars? The Aquatic Center was voted down a number of times by the voters of Bellingham. Where as, the public golf course received a super majority approval from the voters of Bellingham. Is there a smart-business out there who wants to foot the bill to lose money every year and take out a mortgage on their private assets to keep it running during the cold and wet season?

Because the City of Bellingham failed to negotiate a contract that is a win-win for everyone, this public course is in jeopardy. Will Lake Padden Municipal Golf Course lose its local, well established management to an outsider the community does not know and who does not know us? The golf course has a lot of major infrastructure improvements that the City has not done to keep this gem viable. Will they find a patsy, or will they re purpose the golf course to be used for something else?

We will have to wait and see.

~ Lorraine Newman and Kris Halterman

June 3rd LPGC Interview- Part 1 June 17th LPGC Interview – Part 2

City issues Request for Proposals for the management and operation of Lake Padden Golf Course

Current operator lease to expire at end of year

by Leslie Bryson, Parks and Recreation Director / August 10, 2017 (Thursday)

The City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department is soliciting proposals to provide operation and maintenance of its municipal golf course located at Lake Padden Golf Course, 4882 Samish Way in Bellingham.

The City-owned Lake Padden Golf Course opened in 1971 and is currently operated through a lease agreement that expires at the end of 2017. Consequently, the City is issuing a Request for Proposals to seek an experienced municipal Golf Course Operator to enter into a management services contract or lease with a management company, team, or individual who would assume the management and operational responsibilities for all golf course club house operations, including golf professional staff, pro-shop facilities, the restaurant facilities, driving range, and golf school, as well as all of the grounds and facility maintenance.

Rated by Golf Digest as one of the best municipal courses in the state, Lake Padden Golf Course is a beautiful, par 72, 18-hole, championship golf course with a loyal following of local golfers. Revenue generated at the golf course is used to support the City’s maintenance obligations for the course and to offer golf services to the community.

“Lake Padden Golf Course is one of our valued  community assets,” Mayor Kelli Linville said. “We hope to get a variety of responses to our Request for Proposals.”

Interested parties can view the proposal at the City’s Purchasing website:

All inquiries related to the RFP should be directed to:

Media Contacts / ​Leslie Bryson / Parks and Recreation Director / 360-778-7000 /

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