New Baylands Golf Links course set to open in spring 2018

  • Lovely Golf Course

    Restored wetland areas on the fifteenth hole

  • Lovely Golf Course

    Italian stone pines on the eighteenth hole

  • Lovely Golf Course

    The double green on the third and fifteenth holes

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

A project to rebuild the golf course on the site of the Palo Alto Municipal GC in Palo Alto, California, is close to completion.

Golf course architect Forrest Richardson has been tasked with reconfiguring the original William F. Bell design at the site, which has long been plagued by flooding from the nearby San Francisquito Creek.

The course – which, once reopened, will be renamed Baylands Golf Links is located in the famous Silicon Valley, between the main campuses of Facebook and Google.

The reworked 18-hole layout features five par three holes, five par five holes, and will play to a maximum length of 6,800 yards.

An interesting feature is the shared 20,000 square foot green complex on holes three and fifteen. The fourteenth hole meanwhile features two separate greens. One is a classic punchbowl design, while the alternative is on a small peninsula into a wetland part of the site.

“It began as work to make way for flood control,” said Richardson. “We quickly focused on how the community could benefit in many more ways, such as returning the environment to natural habitat and opening the golf course to more diverse use.”

Following an engineer consultation, the decision was made to shift the San Francisquito Creek closer to the site of the golf course, and raise the heights of the levees. 

“It was the classic domino effect,” said Richardson. “We looked at all options with the best outcome being a fresh look at everything. It also gave us the chance to replace some very old and tired infrastructure.”

Though the project faced some delays due to concerns around the protection of endangered species, final approval for the plans was granted in summer 2016.

More than non-indigenous 600 trees have been removed from the course, with 40 acres of ground replanted with trees and grasses native to the San Francisco Bay area.

Almost 500,000 cubic yards of soil was moved as part of the construction effort, which was led by Wadsworth Golf Construction. Wadsworth’s team has worked alongside representatives from Toro, Watertronics, Better Billy Bunker and Profile Products at different phases of the project.

The course’s greens feature Pure Select bentgrass, while Platinum TE Paspalum is planted on the fairways and rough areas.

The Baylands Golf Links course is expected to open for play in spring 2018.