The Bay course is around ten minutes from the centre at Navarino and gives some breath-taking views around the bay of which it takes its name, the course has plenty of elevation change so these superb views get better and better. The Bay clubhouse is new, very new and is brilliant allowing superb views across the course and across the bay. The new lounge here has been named ‘Ted’s Lounge’ after Theodore Vassilakis (Aegean Airlines founder) to mark his friendship with Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos, the creator of Costa Navarino. This will no doubt become a busy a meeting point for visiting golfers pre and post golf.
I enjoyed the course at lot and there is a mixture of many types of hole with the par-3’s really memorable. I believe that the current routing is new and different to what is currently on view on the Costa Navarino website so, I will describe holes (white tees) according the card I played in February 2020. The par-3 2nd at 149 metres brings you to the bay-side early in the round and so long as your shot does not leak into the water on the right, this is not a tough hole. Holes 3 and 4 are both par-5’s which are a little up and down but the downhill 4th is actually a good hole with the second shot the key one as a ditch runs across the fairway around 150 metres from the green. A third par-5 on the front nine comes at the 7th and a hole that I really enjoyed; the whole hole is very slim, so a premium on hitting and staying in the fairway is obvious before approaching uphill to great undulating green. The front nine ends with a par-3 at the 8th and then the par-4 9th has the bay as a beautiful back-drop – these holes make-up three of each par on the front nine.
One thing for me that is a concern is the routing of the course that I played and the main reason is the order of the holes now. The back nine starts with back to back par-3’s, which means that after the 11th hole you would have already played five short holes which does not feel a good balance. When you also think that on busy days there is likely to be a two-tee start, starting on the back will mean two par-3s to kick off a round, not great for me. Good holes definitely but I do challenge the order currently. Holes 12 (par-4) and 13 (par-5) share a fair bit of fairway with the former the weakest hole on the course for me; it is a short par-4 but could be made much tougher with protection at the green as currently there are no bunkers, making this a gimmie in terms of par.
After a little negative from me on the start of the back nine, it is all positives from the 14th tee to the end of the round. The 14th at 291 metres plays around a lake and it is your choice as to how much to cut-off, really good hole. The par-5 15th has one of the toughest drives, although the fairway is quite wide, you need to be pretty straight as you come out of a funnel affect with dense woodland left and right. The par-4 17th is as close to the bay as you can get on the course and a beautiful place to be; a 358-metre hole with anything with a hint of ‘right’ certainly will be wet.
The home hole is a reverse replica of the opening hole and they run side by side, which in terms of the routing feels perfect – both straight forward par-4’s, similar length, similar stroke index and decent chances to start and end your round well.
Post golf, you have to return to Ted’s Lounge in the clubhouse – if you get the chance to see the sunset from the terrace over the course, your day will end well regardless of how well you have played the Bay course.
During our visit in February 2020, we had the pleasure of meeting with course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr – and with more than 300 course designs to his name, he is certainly one of the most influential designers of all time and it was a joy to be in his company.
The Bay course paired with the Dunes course and staying at one of Navarino’s accommodation options to enjoy the resort facilities is very impressive and highly recommended.
Date: March 17, 2020