The Bayside Resort Golf Club’s course is an integral component of a residential development close to Fenwick Island. It’s a Jack Nicklaus layout where fairways weave in and out of the woodland and wetland areas that overlook Assawoman Bay. The eighteen holes are set out on a couple of peninsulas which protrude into the salt marshes.
Measuring a massive 7,545 yards from the tips, Bayside is Delaware’s first Jack Nicklaus Signature design and it’s one that the Golden Bear is rather pleased with: "Golfers at Bayside enjoy three distinctly different golf experiences all in one golf course. Some holes are richly tree-lined, others wind through marshland and still others boast wide-open fairways. It is our hope that Bayside is truly a memorable golf experience offering variety rarely found elsewhere."
Highlight holes on the front nine include the 227-yard 3rd, played to a raised green beside the marshes, and the 555-yard 6th, where the fairway flirts with a large wetland area. On the back nine, the 436-yard 12th doglegs across a creek to the target, whilst the 483-yard 18th concludes the round in fine style at a tree and sand-protected home green.
I relocated and joined Bayside in November of 2021. Having played the course nearly 40 times now, I believe I can offer a fair review.
First, a note on course conditioning. A new superintendent started in October of 2021. Early results to improving course conditions have been positive, notably the bunkers and greens. Heavy aeration and sanding to tees, greens and fairways in the early spring, has mostly abated. There are numerous fairways that desperately need warmer temperatures to get the grass growing. From what I can see, there is much reason for optimisim.
As to the course, it is challenging, particularly since it is almost always windy. And while it does have some "out" and "in" to it like a links course, it's not all that ways and the predominant wind is from the west. One more thing: ignore the stroke hole ratings on the scorecard. The hardest hole on the front is the 5th. It's the #9 stroke hole. The 2nd hardest hole on the front is the 8th. It's rated the #13 stroke hole. The 9th and the 6th are by far the easiest holes to birdie on the front 9. They are the #1 and #7 stroke holes.
From the member's tees on the back 9, the hardest holes, in order, are 18, 12, and 16.
The first 5 holes, even if you are familiar with them, are extremly challenging pars, especially from the members tees back. The dogleg right (around a long pond) 2nd hole, is best played as a layup, 3 shoter hole, especially with an elevated green. It's easy for even the best golfers to get a 7 on this hole.
The par 3 third hole is strong and is often played dead down wind or dead into the wind.
The first, fourth, and fith holes are all strong par 4's. Getting on the green in 2 is brilliant, but the greens will offer you some additional challenge.
The sixth is a par 5 and the #1 stroke hole. Down wind, and with a good drive over the bunker on the right, and it's an easy par or even a potential eagle. But, if you hit your drive to the left of the bunker, you risk running into marshy high grass.
7th, is a good par 3, nothing special.
8th, is a strong par 4. You have to play it in different conditions to learn just how strong this hole is. It's one of those holes you'll want to play based on your own abilities. A bogey 5 is not a bad score here.
9 is an easy par 4, and it usually plays down wind.
10 is an easy par 4, and it usually plays down wind.
11 is an easy par 5, and it usually plays down wind. Playing to the green in 3 shots, is probably the smartest way to play the hole. The green is an old school par 5 green, with swales and humps.
12 is a very hard par 4. Best to aim at the 150 yard marker or even better, just to the left of it (but to the right of the creek). A good drive still will leave you with a challenging 2nd shot to an elevated green that may play half a club extra. Big green with slope and swales too. Good luck. Bogey is nothing to be ashamed of. Par is an excellent score.
13 is one of my favorite short par 3's anywhere. The background is marshland and all sorts of wild life. Don't be surprised if you see a fox or two.
14 is a strong par 5 (with a large slopey, left to right green). You have to play it several times in different wind conditions to learn how to best play it.
15 is a challenging par 3 from the members tees. The green is like your right thumb sticking out and surrounded by water. Don't hit it long or short, and definately don't hit it left. Aiming at the trap is not a bad idea.
16, 17, and 18 are all strong par 4's. There's an eagles nest on 16, to the right at about the 150 yard marker. You'll need your best drives on these 3 holes. The 2nd shot at 17 reminds me a bit of the approach shot on 11 at Augusta National. Bailing right is the safe play.
18 could be a great hole, but not as the green is currently configured. It's unfair really, especially with a back right pin. 5 or better is a good score on the hole.
Finished. Now you have a quarter mile back to the clubhouse. Having said that, the course is very walkable. I only take a cart when it's required. A lot of the members carry their own bag or use a push cart.
I love this course and the challenge. Gave it 4.5 stars because the conditioning has room for improvement. If you haven't played it, or haven't played it in a while, you should definately check it out in 2022.
Bayside is a very nice challenging layout I got to play 36 at in October of 2019. The first and second holes somewhat define how your day will be. The first is much the same as the 6th at Eagles Landing. Very challenging forced carry over water dogleg left with 11 bunkers scattered about. 3 is a par 5 dogleg right with water the first 500 yards on the right. This course is a beast, and even has a set of tees at 7500 yards called beast tees...Ha. It;s in great shape, The green complexes are very dynamic. This course ups the ante for Ocean City play. A must visit.
This is a hard course. But then maybe the developer wanted the designer to make it hard because that somehow equals prestige in their mind. Water on every hole and plenty of bunkers too, didn't just make it hard, they made it seem a caricature. Instead of strategy it was simply error minimisation and see how you go. Maybe I'm just not a good enough golfer. I thought it would be better, but really just seemed another fairly typical soft-fairways and greens over-watered US members course. Now, that being said, I did enjoy the game and the days walk around the nice tidy course and was paired up with a NYC-based local member so could have a chat as we made our way around. Would happily go back and play again to see if I could improve.