The reworking of Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course, which has been renamed Baylands Golf Links, is nearing completion.
Golf course architect Forrest Richardson has been overseeing the project on the original William F. Bell design of the course, which has been plagued by flooding from nearby San Francisquito Creek in Palo Alto.
“It began as work to make way for flood control,” Richardson said. “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.
“It was the classic domino effect. 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.”
After consultation with engineers, Richardson decided to shift San Francisquito Creek closer to the golf course and raise the heights of the levees. Although the project faced delays because of concerns about the protection of endangered species, approval for the plan was granted in summer 2016.
The course, which will reopen next Spring, is located in the Silicon Valley, between the main campuses of Facebook and Google, and is not far from Stanford University.
The reworked layout features five par-3 holes, five par-5s and will play to a maximum length of 6,800 yards over its 18 holes.
One new feature is the shared 20,000 square foot green complex on the third and 15th holes. The 14th hole features two separate greens, one a classic punchbowl design, while the alternate green is on a small peninsula in a wetland.
More than non-indigenous 600 trees were removed from the course, with 40 acres replanted with trees and grasses native to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Almost 500,000 cubic yards of earth was moved during construction, which was led by Wadsworth Golf Construction. Wadsworth’s team has worked alongside representatives from Toro, Watertronics, Better Billy Bunker and Profile Products.
The greens feature Pure Select bentgrass, while Platinum TE Paspalum is planted on the fairways and in the rough.