Course Review: Baywood Golf & Country Club

I’m visiting the northern coast of California for the holidays this year. Even though the weather reports are dreary and it has rained almost every day this month, I still came with the hopes of squeezing a little golf in while here.

I decided to head up earlier than I originally planned because I saw Saturday was a decent-looking weather window for travel conditions and possible golf, too. I especially wanted to take advantage of an invite to play Baywood Golf & Country Club in Arcata, CA. It’s normally a private club. I’m not sure how hard it is to access, but I reached out to the GM and Head Pro, who were both really nice guys. I pitched my blog and they said to come on out while I was in the area.

I set a tee time for 10:00 on Saturday, but arrived earlier and it wasn’t too busy out. I played the front nine on my own, and then joined up with three locals on the back and they were fun to play with. The guest rate was $50, but since the back nine was still a bit precarious with all the wetness, they only charged me a $25 walking rate. When it’s really raining out, they sometimes close the back nine. It sits on the lower half of the property and has more shaded areas, so the water saturates more. I was just glad it was open and I was able to play all 18.

It rained all morning along my drive, but by the time I arrived in Eureka it had started to clear up nicely. At the course, it was nice and clear throughout the round. It really helped show off the natural beauty of this course as the grass was very lush and green. Every hole is lined by tall redwoods and other mature evergreen trees, so it is a beautiful and secluded setting for golf.

This is a pretty traditional north coast kind of layout playing up and down some hills and using the trees to shape some tricky doglegs and awkward angles on a few holes. It tops out at 6,423 yards from the blue tees, so it is more about accuracy than length. I played the whites at 6,149, though I’d say it played much, much longer because of the severe wetness. There was zero roll out on most shots because the ball would just hit and stick in the soggy turf.

There are some memorable holes at Baywood, but I think the one that clearly stands out is the par-3 5th. It has a signature look with a nice drop from tee to green, playing between two rows of trees and over a water hazard.

The soggy conditions did put kind of a damper on the round, but I also found it kind of fun. It was tough walking in most places, and my shoes, shorts and legs were a muddy mess by the time I finished. There were many fat shots because every lie would be considered “casual water” under normal circumstances. The fairways were quite shaggy because they can’t really cut them when it’s this wet. The greens were slow, but looking and rolling much better than I would have anticipated with so much extra moisture. Still, I was just happy to see sunny skies and I just made the most of it. I also got used to soggy conditions while up in Oregon/Washington this fall. Baywood’s were much more extreme than anything I faced up there, but the recent experience certainly helped some.

I’d love to come back and play Baywood again in the summer when it’s in peak condition. Even with the sogginess, I could still tell how nice they keep this course and it is clearly a big notch above anything else in this region. It’s definitely a course worth checking out if you are visiting Humboldt County and can gain guest access to the club. I’m really glad they had me out for the day.

Some pictures from Baywood Golf & Country Club (12/19/15):

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