Bidwell Park GCBidwell Park Golf Course

Bidwell Park Golf Course
3199 Golf Course Rd
Chico, California 95973
Butte County

Phone(s): (530) 891-8417
Fax: (530) 891-8417

The 18-hole Bidwell Park Golf Course in Chico, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1922. Bidwell Park Golf Course measures 6366 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 127 and a 70.4 USGA rating. The course features 4 sets of tees for different skill levels.

Bidwell Park Golf Course
4.5 stars out of 5 (based on 2 reviews)
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View of a green at Bidwell Park Golf Course.View of a pond at Bidwell Park Golf Course.View of the 6th green at Bidwell Park Golf Course.View of a green at Bidwell Park Golf Course.

Golf course details

  • Holes: 18
  • Designed by: Jim Summers
  • Public/Private: Public
  • Year opened: 1922
  • Golf Season: Year round
  • Guest Policy: Open
  • Tee times welcomed: Yes
  • Fairways: Bermuda/Rye
  • Greens: Bent/Poa


  • Pro in house: Yes
  • Driving range: No
  • Rental clubs: Yes
  • Rental carts: Yes

Green fees price ranges

Course policies

  • Metal spikes allowed: No
  • Dress code:
  • Credit cards accepted: None

Length, slope and rating for each tee

Tee Par Yardage Slope Rating
Blue 72 6366 127 70.4
White 70 6019 121 68.8
Gold 67 5440 115 66.2
White (W) 73 5991 131 74.7
Gold (W) 72 5440 121 71.2

Reader Ratings / Reviews

  • Bidwell Park Golf Course
    4 stars out of 5
    by Tony G
    on March 25th, 2012 07:26
    Very enjoyable to play.. The park setting and herds of deer gives this course a peaceful back drop to your round. The friendly staff is another plus..
  • Bidwell Park Golf Course
    4.5 stars out of 5
    by Dan
    on May 27th, 2009 12:50
    This course opened in 1922 with sand greens. My grandfather was the first player to break 40 on the old nine, back in the late 1930s. I started playing golf here in 1961, shortly after what was then the new front nine had been added to the venerable old nine. The course was in relatively poor condition in those days, suffering from indifferent management by the City of Chico.

    A few years later, the city contracted with private management, and things improved fast. A few more years brought the creation of a membership association (green fees, not handicaps), which helped provide the foundation for a major realignment of the course.

    Three holes on the old nine were abandoned. The old #10 was one of the toughest par-3s in the Valley, nearly 200 yards uphill to a tiny, steeply sloping green. Old #11's green is now the #1 green, reached by a fairway that was the old driving range (the lack of which now is one of the course's only drawbacks), while the new #10 green occupies part of the old #11 fairway.

    #3 and #4 were brand-new, using land that previously was on the other side of the old access road. That road was realigned when the course was redesigned. The remainder of the old classic nine was unchanged, except for stretching old #14 into the par-5 #5 by moving the tees back into the area of the abandoned old #13 green.

    The old front nine was weird. ## 1-4 were fine (although the drive on #1 was across the access road), but ##5-9 were essentially parallel driving ranges. The par-35 nine had only one par-3 and no par-5s. It was an adventure to dodge the incoming from the last/next tee while lining up one's approaches; it was also pretty dull.

    The solution for the redesign was to invert the nines. The original back nine, modified as described above, became the front nine. The newer front nine was thoroughly revamped as the back nine and is a much better and more pleasant test of golf than the old layout. Par-5s were created at #11 and #18, and a nice 150-yd par-3 was added.

    By the numbers (white middle tees: par/yards/handicap):

    #1 4/361/9 sharp dogleg left at about 180 from the tee; OB on the left. Easy to overdrive the fairway into light rough and shot-blocking oak trees. No sand, small green with moderate slope.

    #2 3/121/17 old #12. a jewel of a par-3 set into a hillside basin. big trap guarding the right front; green slopes back-to-front. An accurate tee shot gets you par/birdie. One of my favorites.

    #3 4/369/11 a new par-4 that is often windy. The drive from the blue tees is a thread-the-needle job through a narrow opening between oaks, which also guard the left side all the way down. No sand, but a perpetual bog off the green to the right; big green with some nearly impossible pin positions. A par here is good work.

    #4 3/139/13 a new par-3 that plays across a French-drained gully to another tricky green. Pay close attention to pin placement and get your tee shot onto the right level, or you'll get plenty of putting strokes for your golfing dollar. Our dear friend Elsie McClean had an ace here a few years back at age 102!

    #5 5/499/3 the lengthened old #14, straightaway, but nasty ball-stealing hillside right (all the way down) and giant old sycamore trees left. Reachable in two for bigger hitters; big sand left, in-play cart path and landscape materials right. Come in from the left if you can; a huge old tree guards the right-side approach. The green is large and nicely contoured, but it's ready for a rebuild soon.

    #6 4/392/1 old #15. Look for the stub of the old hand pump between #5's trap and the tee. You'd hold a golf ball in the throat of the spout and pump away for a people-powered drinking fountain out of a hole drilled in the spout. This is a suitable #1 handicap hole. Get your tee shot as close as you can to the last sycamore left-center for a good line into the tiny green guarded by a trap right but blessed with a forgiving hillside left. Hit your tee shot right, toward the #8 green, and this one can play like a par-5; get behind those sycamores and a punch will be your only choice.

    #7 3/139/15 old #16, set on a ridge with weedy, oak-studded rough left and the edge of the world right. Stay up on top or bring your wedge for a blind second shot from the #8 fairway. Deep traps right. Big, open green that slopes steeply in the front third; be short of a red flag or watch your putt roll clear off the green. The green is in a hub of activity, with the #1 green and #2 tee right there.

    #8 5/451/5 old #17, the elevated tees are set back by the maintenance yard for a shot across the corner of a pond added for the redesign, to a wide-open fairway with lots of landing room. Reachable in two, but that second shot had better be long AND straight. Gaping trap left, trap and huge sycamore right. Your best approach angle is right up the middle of the fairway through the throat to the green. Big, flat green that has seen better days.

    #9 5/471/7 old #18, and a beautiful finishing hole. The dense riparian jungle of Chico Creek lines the entire right side, and the pond comes into play for long drives left. Don't get your drive too far right; lots of bad lies in lumpy ground off-fairway. Reachable in two, but that second shot had better be Tiger-esque. The green is tucked away where only a corner is visible from 200 yards out, guarded by a strategically placed digger pine on the right and hillside bunkers left. The green may be the toughest on the course; terraces, steep slopes, big. The old #18 green was up on top of the hill, where the practice green is now.

    #10 4/351/14 parts of old #10 and #11. Very sharp dogleg left at about 200 yards out; oaks guarding the corner you want to cut. Draw a 3-wood well here and bring your wedge. Big, contoured green with a backdrop of oaks.

    #11 4/5/430/480/2 a new tee and fairway lead to the old #1 green. Plays as a par-5 from the blue tees and a par-4 from the whites. Hit your drive big and make life easy, or fall short and get some bonus strokes. Weedy, swampy ditch 100 yards out, weeds left and right, dogleg left in the last 100 yards. Hard to see the pin through the thicket of oaks left. Big, flat green. A tough hole that rewards strong, accurate shotmaking.

    #12 3/168/16 old #2. Downhill with creek jungle left all the way down, traps on both sides, access road right, long, narrow, flat green.

    #13 4/357/8 old #3. Bidwell's signature hole. Elevated tee for a shot across Big Chico Creek to a wide fairway that angles left. Ball-eating olive groves right, creek jungle left. Hit your drive to the right of the 150 stake for a clean approach. Huge digger pine and deep bunker left, flat green on the hilltop. If you only have a few minutes to have a look at the course, this tee is right on the access road and a great spot to watch groups hit across the creek. The women's tee is tucked into its own little shelf to the left, and there's an alternative tee on the other side of the creek. A beautiful, satisfying golf hole.

    #14 4/403/4 old #4. A long, straight par-4 to a sunken green. Creek jungle left all the way and a tricky treeline if you stray right off the tee. Long, narrow green with perpetual mud to the right.

    #15 4/332/10 most of old #5. Dogleg right at about 200 yards; narrow fairway with few good approach angles to a large, undulating green. A 3-wood placed left of center is ideal.

    #16 3/150/18 a new par-3 with its green where the old #8 tee was. Ringed by trees, it's otherwise straightforward tee-to-cup.

    #17 4/368/6 parts of old ## 7 and 8. Plays longer than the stats due to an uphill approach to another of the course's trickiest greens. Easy to fall way off the green left with an errant approach, but a forgiving hillside catches misses to the right and often guides them onto the green. An easy 3-putt if you don't watch pin placement and get on the right level.

    #18 5/490/12 old #9 stretched to a par-5 with an elevated tee near the old #8 green. Severe jungle left all the way down, tree trouble right ditto. It is very possible to hit a pretty good drive a bit to the right and have only a short punch back to the fairway available; no good options. A centered tee shot sets up a second shot that can reach the green. Trap right, weedy rough behind and left. Ho-hum green.

    What's special about Bidwell? Its setting, for one. It's part of Bidwell Park, more than 4000 acres along nearly ten miles of creek frontage ranging from the valley floor up into the foothill canyon. It's the second-largest municipal park in the western United States. The course is laid out at the transition zone from foothill to valley and follows natural contours beautifully. All of the front nine except #3 is sheltered from winds by virtue of its location below a rim, and the back nine is even more sheltered by the canyon walls.

    One of the first impressions, especially if you're used to flat valley courses laid out on square plots of land, is the profusion of natural, mature trees. Enormous oaks, pines, and sycamores line virtually every fairway and come into play frequently. They may be 90% air, but you'll know it if your shot finds the other 10%. It makes for lots of shade on hot summer days.

    I feel the greatest charm of the course is the wildlife, which enjoys the sanctuary of the park. Herds of black-tailed deer roam the fairways, and the pond at ## 8 and 9 supports a waterfowl population to marvel at. Two fat brown geese may walk a hole or two with you, and we're watching a brood of Canada goslings grow inches a day (May 2009). Squirrels abound in the trees along with a profusion of songbirds. Hawks and vultures soar overhead, and the creek gurgles its year-round way down into town. If you go looking for a stray ball, take an iron with you and keep a sharp eye out for the occasional rattlesnake. Sightings are rare around the course, but it is prime habitat.

    Rates are very reasonable by modern standards, and the twilight rates midweek especially so. Pace of play is kept up by friendly, attentive marshals, and the ambiance is Chico-friendly. No alcohol is allowed in the park, however, but your 19th hole can easily be found in Chico (turn right leaving the upper park and head down East Avenue for the nearest watering holes).

    As a pure public course, Bidwell Park is the jewel of the valley and a fine test of golf. Enjoy.

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