There aren’t many courses where water comes into play on every hole—and that’s the challenge and the beauty of Bayside Resort Golf Club. Whether it’s a hazard, a salt marsh or wetlands, chances are an errant shot will meet with an aqueous conclusion.
That said, there’s no better course architect for making sure you hit it where you’re supposed to than Jack Nicklaus. “Golfers at Bayside enjoy three distinctly different golf experiences, all in one golf course,” says Nicklaus. “Some holes are richly tree-lined; others wind through marshland; and still others boast wide-open fairways. It’s our hope
that Bayside is truly a memorable golf experience, offering variety rarely found elsewhere.”
At 7,545 yards from the tips (par 72), the course can challenge a pro (but please play if forward for the best experience here). The green members’ tees play out at 6,418. And with the ever-present bay winds, it plays even tougher and longer than that.
All the par 3s offer challenges and scenery, but the 18th is as tough a par 4 as you’ll ever play. You’ll need to hit a drive at least 220 to have a chance to get home in two. The green is tucked slightly right, so even a straight shot could be penalized with water left and behind. A par here feels like a birdie, and a 5 wins you some money from your formidable playing partners.
The folks at Baywood Greens like to say their course is “exclusively public.” But their attention to detail in all aspects of the experience— the course, the staff, the impeccable conditions—will make you feel like you’re playing at a country club.
First-time visitors with even the slightest appreciation for horticulture will be hard-pressed not to notice the flower lined bridges and entrances. (This place would give the Philadelphia Flower Show a run for its money.) And with five sets of tee boxes—ranging from 3,539 to 6,983 yards—Baywood Greens challenges all skill levels (the cart-based GPS systems are a nice feature for planning your tee selection). Two nine-hole layouts, the Woodside and the Waterside, offer their own distinct feels.
The Woodside is the more traditional of the two, packed with lots of fun within its tree-lined fairways. Hole 4, the longest par 4 on the Woodside nine, weighs in at a whopping 462 yards from the tips. Short drives will get swallowed by two fairway bunkers; long ones must contend with the pond on the left. Your second shot is to the smallest green on the course, which is protected by water and sand to the left.
The Waterside nine is highlighted by Hole 14 with its island fairway, a risk-reward landing area that lures even the wisest golfer with its siren call of “birdie.” This long par 4 offers two options: Drive to the island fairway, or play it right as a long dogleg left. Go the island-fairway route; even if you waste one, you’ll be happy you tried.
Greens fees: $49-$109. 32267 Clubhouse Way, Long Neck, Del., (302) 947-9800, www.baywoodgreens.com.