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Course 71: Maplegate

Round 71 in my quest was Maplegate in Bellingham. It's a tight, tree lined course that has come a long way since I played it in the early 2000s. ⠀

The front nine is the tougher of the sides. Marsh land crosses holes 4-8. Making driving a priority, as anything in the woods forces a layup short of the cross hazard. Holes 5-7 are long challenging par 4s that all run adjacent to each other. It's probably also the best set of holes on the course, even though I don't love cross hazards. They each had their own personality while running up-and-down next to each other. ⠀

The back nine is more subtle. There's space to breath and the land rolls subtly, especially when you turn for home and play holes 14-18. ⠀

The course is rather bland off the tee. The intimidation comes from trees and blind shots. On the front there are only two tee shots where you can see the landing area from the tee. So players have to pick and trust a line. ⠀

The greens were in exceptional shape and rolled very true for late November. They're quite large, without too much extreme movement. Built for fast play.⠀

The shot value at Maplegate is in the approach shots. They are challenging, we played the tips and I wore out my five irons, especially on the front nine. ⠀

The par 3s were very good and tough. I hit hybrid, 5 iron, 6 iron, and 8 iron. I love that variation. ⠀

Like most courses on the ascent, it needs some bunker work and it sounds like they are planning on removing 500 trees this winter. One tree that will likely remain is on the 13th, which stands about 120 yards from the green in the middle of the fairway. Not my favorite.⠀

Some folks messaged me and commented about how far along the course has come in the last five years, while also lamenting the price and pace of play. This is the first course I've played out in this section of the state, but it seems like as a public option it might be the one of the better choices around. Looking forward to verifying that in 2022.⠀

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