The South Course at Corica Park on Bay Farm Island in Alameda, a favorite of Bay Area golfers since it was created in 1957 by designer William F. Bell, has been undergoing a facelift the last three years but will re-open this week.
Friday is Alameda Appreciation Day, with residents of the city, Alameda County Card Holders and members of the Alameda Men’s and Women’s Club playing the course along with their guests.
The renovated course will be open to the public on Saturday and tee times are available to any and all golfers.
Regulars might not recognize their old friend, but from early accounts, won’t be disappointed.
“We’ve really built a special golf course,” said architect Rees Jones, son of legendary course designer Robert Trent Jones. “We’ve elevated the course and it will play like an old-style Australian course.
“Golfers will be able to play a ground game or an aerial game. Players of all levels will enjoy this golf course.”
The new South Course will play to 6,874 yards from the tips, with five sets of tees offering a challenge for players of all ages, and par is 72. It is the only Rees Jones-designed course in the Bay Area.
Jones, known as “The Open Doctor” for his work in refining major championship courses, collaborated with Chief Executive Officer George Kelley and Chief Agronomist Marc Logan of Greenway Golf.
Kelley recently showed off his course like a proud papa to Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors on a day off during the NBA Finals as Curry helped the Warriors win the title for a third time in four seasons.
Kelley, who formerly played on the Australian PGA Tour, is especially proud of the relatively short par-4 eighth hole.
“It’s easy to design a great long hole,” Kelley said. “But it’s really hard to design a great short one. I think this is one we’ll all be really proud of.”
Jones accepted input from Kelley and Logan, who both have experience playing on the famed Australian Sunbelt course, throughout the renovation.
Once when Kelley suggested ideal spots for bunkers, Jones quipped: “If you get in them, it’s your fault, not mine.”
Renovation on Corica Park’s North Course will begin on Monday, with nine holes remaining open while the other nine are reworked over the next 12-15 holes. Then, the other nine will be renovated, with completion expected in 2020.
Corica Park’s nine-hole, par-3 course and the South will be open during the North’s renovation, leaving 36 holes for golfers to play.