The Baylands Golf Links, formally known as the Palo Alto Golf Course, is a municipal course and opened in May 2018 after 2+ years of renovations.
Important! If you are playing this course for the first time and no one in your group has played it before, download or print out the yardage guide (located on the Baylands website). There are a number of holes where you could end up going for the wrong flag because it’s not clear which fairway is for your tee when standing on the tee box.
If you set up a tee time be sure to inform them that you are a bay area resident. They were going to charge the full rate ($90) for our 7:03am tee time until I mentioned that I was told over the phone that I would be paying a lesser amount ($82 as of 6/2/2018) and that I’m a bay area resident. Ask about the Links Card ($49 for bay area residents) if you intend to play here 2-3 times per year to save money. Everyone in your foursome will get the discounted rate too!
It was a clear warm morning (almost 60 degrees at 7am). The first thing to notice about the first tee is that the sign says it’s a par 5, but the score card might say it’s a par 4. The scorecard on the website states that hole #1 is a par 5 and that it’s a par 72 course. While the scorecard I picked up the day of play stated it was a par 4, par 71 course.
The bunkers were thick with sand and will probably get compacted over time, which would help. Almost every shot out of the bunker flew the green because of the fluffy sand. There were a couple small touches of links style course, such as these bunkers:
Without having previous knowledge of the course and no guide on the scorecard, for some holes it was difficult to tell which direction to hit the ball either from the tee box or for the approach shot because the flags and greens were hidden (and because there are no trees lining the fairways).
Number 17 is a 200 yard par 3 (from the blue tees) and you can barely see any of the green let alone the flag. This happened on a few holes, where you couldn’t see the green from your approach shot and only saw the tip of the flag stick.
I played the previous course at this location just a few times before it was closed and comparatively, this course has far fewer trees and I don’t remember the previous course having this type of rough. Holes #1 and #18 are basically the same as the previous course.
This course vaguely reminds me of Chambers Bay because the rough is brown with fescue and sticky bushes that you just want to stay out of. Both are links style courses without trees.
Unlike Chambers, there is hardly an elevation change at Baylands. Baylands is an extremely flat course. This course is walkable, yet seemed to not be made with walkers in mind. A number of holes had no mown grassy areas from the tee box straight down to the fairway. Because of the prickly rough, the players are inclined to walk over to the cart path and take the longer route to get to the fairway.
- The fairways, greens and tee boxes were in good shape.
- The course has its challenges with hidden greens and water hazards that cross the fairway.
- The greens run medium speed (not slow nor fast), have some breaks and tiers. These greens would classify as easy in my book.
- Has plenty of good bathrooms (with running water) on the course and water stations.
- We could always use another course on the peninsula.
- It has a great short game area (free) for chipping and putting. Also, it has a range ($10/medium bucket) with new mats.
- Easy to lose errant balls in the rough.
- The rough is low brush, some have thorns which scratch your legs. Some rough is dry or soggy creek beds.
- The tee boxes have squishy thick grass. This seemed to cause problems with teeing the ball to the proper height.
- While there isn’t a lot of visible standing water, there are misquotes and other bugs, which bite, especially in the early morning (in June).
- The bunkers are thick with deep sand so it’s actually quite challenging to get out of.