North Whidbey golf course tees up big plans

A golf course on North Whidbey is undergoing several updates and improvements.

A golf course on North Whidbey is undergoing several updates and improvements in an effort to become a family-friendly attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Deception Pass Golf Center, located on Ducken Road, was bought by Don Kenney and his son, Ian, in January of last year. It was originally built in 1971 by Bill Lam and was formerly known as Lam’s Gold Links.

Don is nearing retirement and he and Ian, who is an avid golfer and experienced groundskeeper, were looking for a project that would keep them both occupied.

“We decided to bite off more than we could chew,” Don said with a laugh.

The father and son duo have been hard at work. They have added a kitchen, bar and sitting area to the clubhouse and recently got their food license to offer hot dogs and beer. An espresso stand, called Tin Cup Espresso, opened Jan. 1.

There is now an outdoor patio with views of the ninth hole. Nearby, there is a stage for live music. They would like to have performers every week in the summer months. Contact for more information.

Golf course staff wanted to make sure there is something for everyone, not just golfers. There is a picnic area on the course, complete with a grill.

“We’re trying to make it an all-around great place to be,” manager Barbie Schwetz said.

The 29-acre course has nine holes. There are two tee boxes on every hole, meaning folks can tee off from two different locations, so there are technically a total of 18 holes. It is a smaller course, but one that is easily walkable as the grounds are mostly flat. Don said it’s a good course for beginners and those who are still learning how to play.

There is vintage mini-golf and a mini-driving range. Staff members are currently in the process of adding a disc golf course around the perimeter of the property, set to open to the public on April 1. Updates on the disc golf course will be posted every Friday online at

The plan is to eventually have disc golf tournaments where the main golf course is temporarily closed, so a total of 18 holes will be available. When the golf course is not closed, there will also be two tee boxes at every disc golf hole – one for beginners and one for more advanced players.

“It makes it more family-oriented,” Don said, adding that attracting families is something he wants to prioritize.

On April 5, co-ed league nights will return every Wednesday. Anyone can sign up to play on league nights and be assigned to a team. League nights are good for all levels of players.

“It makes it a lot more fun to learn the game that way because you don’t get frustrated and you don’t feel like you’re holding anybody up,” Don said.

During the winter months, Wednesday nights will have “glow golf” with balls that light up.

“It looks like shooting stars when you’re hitting (the balls),” Don said.

Don and Schwetz have big plans for the golf center’s future. They want to host charity tournaments, as well as weddings.

Don, a masonry contractor, works with stone, block and brick. He has built stone paths on the course and a charming, arched bridge by the course’s lake, famous for being the most picturesque hole on the course.

“We think we have some great views,” Don said. “And in the summer it’s really beautiful.”

“The sunsets are just to die for,” Schwetz added.

Sounds like a hole-in-one.