The legacy of Ballinger Golf Course

More than a half century ago, Lake Ballinger Golf Course was a fledgling nine-hole layout near the southern edge of Snohomish County.

Tucked along the north shoreline of Lake Ballinger, the course catered largely to seniors, youngsters, beginners and nearby residents who enjoyed the convenience of a modest, moderately priced golfing venue.

One of the early customers was Jan Japar, who later operated Lake Ballinger GC for many years with business partner Mimi Racicot. But as a younger girl, Japar recalled, “that’s where I learned to play golf.”

For golfers who lived in south Snohomish County back then — before nearby courses such as Lynnwood Golf Course, Walter Hall Golf Course and Harbour Pointe Golf Course opened for public play — Lake Ballinger GC was a convenient and relatively inexpensive golfing option.

But the course also had frequent problems. During the rainy months, the fairways were often soggy, sometimes swampy. And for many years the owners and operators struggled to make money.

Financial problems that became more pronounced during the economic downturn of the past decade — which in turn triggered a corresponding downturn in the golf industry — led to the recent decision to close Mountlake Terrace-owned Lake Ballinger GC.

Former operators Tyrone and Carol Hardy stepped away from their lease agreement with the city in November and the course was closed. Earlier this month, Mountlake Terrace announced plans to turn the property into a passive park with trails, interpretive signs and picnicking facilities.

Japar understands the demise.

The golf course “was always a tough property,” said Japar, who was a Lake Ballinger employee from 1974 to 1979, and then took over management of the course with Racicot from 1979 to 2004. “It’s sad, but it’s not a surprise.

“Everything was always so difficult there,” she said. “I think we had only a few years where we made any money at all.”

Lake Ballinger GC (which in later years was known as Ballinger Lake Golf Course), added a new clubhouse in 1989. The course itself underwent a major renovation in 1999, becoming “a totally brand new layout,” Japar said. “There was not one piece of dirt that didn’t get turned over.”

But in the end, she said, “there were probably too many improvements for what the property could handle. And then the (slumping) economy kind of sunk it.”

More in Sports

Everett’s Patrick Bajkov eyes the puck with Tri-City’s Nolan Yaremko (left) closing at Angel of the Winds Arena Friday night in Everett on April 20, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Tips edge Americans to take 1-0 lead in conference finals

Garrett Pilon scores twice as Everett wins 3-2 to hand Tri-City its 1st loss of the postseason.

Many later-round pass-catchers could be options for Seahawks

With all the attention on the Seahawks losses on defense this offseason… Continue reading

Friday’s prep results

Friday’s prep results, with links: BASEBALL Wesco 4A Cascade 11, Mariner 3… Continue reading

Three observations from the Tips’ 3-2 victory in Game 1

The Sutter line has a tough task; Everett needs to stay out of the box; how will fatigue factor?

Snohomish tops E-W in battle of 3A boys soccer contenders

The Panthers score twice off set pieces and beat the Warriors 2-1 to move into 2nd place in Wesco 3A.

Friday’s prep stars of the night

Here are Friday’s prep stars of the night: Iyanla Pennington, P, Jackson… Continue reading

Hannah Ganashamoorthy practices on the hurdles Wednesday afternoon at Monroe High School in Monroe on April 18, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Monroe freshman phenom is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ athlete

Hannah Ganashamoorthy, 15, is already one of the top-ranked track-and-field athletes in the state.

Petersen’s philosophy guides UW despite success

The Huskies will still recruit players that fit the coach’s framework despite their national stature.

Tips’ hometown hero Wylie surges up NHL prospect rankings

The defenseman was recently No. 71 among North American skaters in the final pre-draft rankings.

Most Read