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The History of Baylands

Baylands Golf Links is a story about nature. In its early days, the course meandered across the lowlands of Palo Alto’s Baylands. At the estuary of the famous San Francisquito Creek these 18 holes were formed by famous golf course architect William P. Bell and his son, William F. Bell. The two conceived a course where public golf would meet nature, and where players would be afforded the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors along San Francisco Bay in one of the most diverse communities of Northern California. Ultimately the course was finished by the younger Bell, known affectionately as “Billy” Bell.

As time marched along the course became more and more defined by the salty soils and their detriment to growing turf. Finally, in early 2011 the City of Palo Alto began to consider a major rebuilding effort. One that would not only restore and rejuvenate the golf, but would transform the environment to that that matched the Baylands Perserve, a rich and rewarding part of the City’s environmental heritage.

Golf Course Architect Forrest Richardson was engaged to help the City realize this dream. To bring new life and a point of pride back to the Palo Alto golf experience. The result is Baylands Golf Links, a wholly redefined golf course that draws from its past while offering exciting and fun challenges.

This fully rebuilt and restored golf course features new, all-bentgrass greens with flexible tees, native wetland hazards and a links-style experience that remains unmatched through the Bay Area. A variety of drought-tolerant turf called Paspalum has been planted on the fairways. This grass serves water conservation and also provides an excellent links-style surface where shots can be shaped to bump and run. Dunes-like landforms dot the landscape along with such features as a large double-green and the exciting 13th hole with its alternate “left” and “right” options. There are five par-3s and five par-5s to round out the course. It is truly keeping with a links golf experience, something long awaited in Bay Area golf.

Rounding out Balyands Golf Links are separate practice and teaching areas for putting, chipping and short game practice. A designated Youth Course offers three short learning holes for fun, group activities and training. The practice range, a mainstay attraction since the 1940s, remains open throughout the day and evening.

Click HERE to view available tee times at Baylands Golf Links.

“The idea behind Baylands Golf Links was to create a natural landscape that blends and works with the environmental area that Palo Alto has taken such care to preserve. From day one the approach was to transform the course with native plants, bayside landforms and a golf experience that is both fun and beautiful.”

-Forrest Richardson, ASGCA