Bear Mountain Ranch Golf Course

Bear Mountain Ranch Golf Course
1050 Bear Mountain Ranch Road
Chelan, WA 98816

Additional Update Coming Soon (Sept.10)

Course Review: JR Falkenhagen
Course Review Date: 9.10.2011 – (30 Pictures Below!)

If you have not put Bear Mountain Ranch (BMR) on the courses you need to play in Central Washington you should.  BMR is located in North Central Washington next to Lake Chelan just off Highway 97A, which is the main route directly into Chelan.  BMR is an 18-hole (Par 72) public play course with upscale services and amenities.  The course opened in 2005 and was recently ranked as one of the top six new golf courses in the US by PGA Professionals. recently had the opportunity to visit BMR for the first time.  I have to tell you from the time you turn in the ranch estate you know you are in for a fantastic golf experience.  Driving up to the course you wind through a hillside road where you have epic views of Lake Chelan, multiple vineyard estates and incredible mountain views.  You know when the course you are going to play is through a gated community with an impressive facade you are in for a real treat.  When you go to play this course it’s more than just a round of golf, it is a high desert golf experience that is second to none.  Von Smith, Head PGA Professional at Bear Mountain Ranch and his staff run a very smooth operation to make sure your day is absolutely perfect.

On to the course:

The course is built on the rolling mountain side terrain, taking advantage of the natural plateaus and panoramic views of the greater Lake Chelan territory.  It’s not unusual to see grazing deer in the vineyards, and lately I was told there have been sightings of a momma bear and her cub strolling around the proximity of the course.  In the 4 hours I was there I must have taken over 80+ pictures of the course (see below for the pictures).

I started the day by hitting the driving range to warm up a bit before the round.  The range setting is uniquely cut into a hillside and you shoot slightly uphill all the way past the 200+ markers.  The distances are well marked and there are cleaning stations to scrub and wipe down your clubs which is a nice touch.  The practice green is located closer to the clubhouse down the hill from the range by hole number 10 and is centrally located with some beautiful views.

On the first hole the starter greets you and sets you up with tips about how to play the starting hole since it is a blind shot and a there a few options to position your ball for your second into the green.  They also taught me how to use their state-of-the-art touch screen GPS conveniently located to the right of the cart steering wheel in nice viewing distance to help you plan accurate shots during your round.  After duffing my first tee shot with an audience of course (can you say breakfast ball?) I was able to get my 4-iron out into the fairway and off I went.  As I made it on to the green on the first hole I was amazed at the views greenside and it did not stop throughout the round.

Recap of a few other signature holes:

#1 :  Par 4 – Blind shot to start off with, but like I said they take care of you and set you up with landmark targets to help you play an accurate shot of the tee box even if you duff your first.  HA!

#4 :  A spectacular Par 4 with a 180 degree + view of the lake and an elevation drop from tee to green of 170 feet!  Your aiming point is the right edge of the green.

#6 :  Great Par 4 with a split fairway, but I would stay left vs. right as it gives you a better shot into the green.  You also get a good look at some of the BMR residences that are MONEY!

#7 :  Awesome Par 3 where you have to carry water, but be careful not to go over the green as it makes a tough chip up on to a tiered green.  I can speak from experience.

#10:  A quick tip on this Par 4 is you can cut the corner on the right of the hole and hit center or center right of the sand trap to give you a wedge into the green.

#12, #13 & #14:  Although you are away from the lake views this is a fun and challenging stretch of holes.  This stretch was one of my favorite parts about the course.  It is like a golf amphitheatre.  These holes wrap around a large water area cut into the mountainside with trout jumping out of the water.  #12 is pretty straight forward Par 4 with an elevated green just do not go left OB because finding your ball will be virtually impossible.  #13 is completely uphill Par 4 with a large sand trap you can get into trouble with on the right hand side of the fairway and could make your second shot a challenge.  The elevated green has a bunker directly in the front (I found it out the hard way, doh! ), but the  nice thing is you have a back stop on the back side of the green that could potentially kick your ball back down onto the green which is nice!  #14 is a sweet Par 5 with an elevated tee box that encourages you to grip it and rip it with a generous wide open fairway and a fun long second or shorter third shot over the water to the green if you do not favor the left side on your tee shot.

#16:  You get some of the best views of the course and the lake from this super elevated Par 4 tee box shooting down at the fairway.  It is awesome to watch your ball drop from the sky from that elevation.  AWESOME!  If you are running out of balls at this point you can hike up on the mountain side and stack your bag for your big finish.

#18:  A monster Par 5 (The longest on the course), but is a wide open fairway with not a lot of trouble.  I hit a solid drive off the tee and then hit a pretty good 5-Wood and still had about 130 into the green.  On your green approach you shoot over a creek through a nice opening to a well guarded green with trees surrounding it.


I will play this course every time I go back to Chelan no question about it.  It will certainly be on my “to play hit list,” for any man golf trips in the future as well.  The course conditions are the some of the best I have played in Washington and the greens were rolling perfectly.  What else do you need?  Oh yeah, the views!  There are not many courses that have the typography this course has where nearly every hole you have a jaw dropping 180+ degree view (sometimes a 360 degree view) of water, mountains, vineyards, orchards, etc.  This course is a true beauty and gem in North Central Washington and in the state overall. Score:  24/25
Customer Service: 5
Condition of Greens: 5
“Perceived,” Maintenance Level of Course: 5
Value: 4
Amenities: 5

Rating Notes:

– Von Smith (Head Pro), Sharon (Clubhouse Staff) and every other BMR staff member was very gracious and welcoming.  The gentleman at the cart area gave me and ice cold towel after my round which was a nice touch!  It is that attention to detail that makes BMR special.

– Fairways and greens were in optimal shape for fantastic playing conditions.  The balled rolled out nicely on drives in the fairway which those of us from the western side of the state are not always use to.

– Their rates are good especially with it including a cart with touch screen GPS.  They also have a good twilight rate.

– Great range with sand trap chipping area, very nice club house with a stocked pro shop and a well equipped café with a nice selection of delicious food and beverages.  Outdoor seating/patio looks down on the 18th green so you can watch approach shots.

– For those of you who like tournaments, either planning or playing them, the BMR facilities have a great scoring and congregation area on the lower side of the clubhouse at the café level that is a perfect area for registration, food & beverage serving, etc.

– Thank you to Von and his staff at BMR for allowing us to come out and review their course!

Pictures of Bear Mountain Ranch

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3 thoughts on “Bear Mountain Ranch Golf Course

  1. I totally agree with your review JR. When playing here several years ago, we had an early a.m. tee time before the breakfast bar was open. After checking us in, Von himself took us down to the bbar and helped us scrape some muffins and coffee together before heading out. Von is simply the best in the business. Not only are you playing a great golf course, but you’re being made to feel that you are truly appreciated for coming! Get to venture over there again soon, and am definitely looking forward to it. Now that Don Barth owns BMR (Alta Lake, Desert Canyon) things are looking up even more in the Chelan area.

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