Bay Club, West Course
Played: April. 10, 2011
Greens Fee: $65
Cost/Stroke: $0.58 (foursome scores 102, 135, 94 & 118)
Pace of Play: No backups, fire when ready
Overall Rating: Very enjoyable, course in great shape, especially for early in the season
Full disclosure: The management at The Bay Club gave the BGA complimentary rounds when they learned that we reviewed courses on the web. As much as possible, we have tried not to let that influence our assessment. However, it would be less than honest not to say that we teed off in a very positive frame of mind.
The Course: We played the West Course because the zoysia grass on the East Course was still in its dormant state while the more traditional West Course grasses green up earlier in the season. That being said, we were expecting a marshland style course since we were in the vicinity of Ocean City but were surprised to find more of a parkland style course; very fair to play and with some very memorable holes. The 14th hole is an island green that produced a wild range of scores and a lot of fun. Our scores ranged from a three-putt bogey to a “snowman” (by The Snowman, in fact). The finishing hole is a par 5 with a forced carry over water that requires proper placement of your second shot in order not to have a 200 yard carry. All of the forced carry holes had marked drop zones or else some of our party might have challenged the BGA record score of “Johnny U.” If you are out of position, play smart and layup on your third shot and go for the easy bogey or else you bring snow or blow into play.
Greens: Later in the year the greens must be spectacular. They ran true and were moderately fast even though it was early in a very wet spring. Some of our downhill putts were given too much respect and came up short, but with me having 5 one putts on the back nine any missed putts were the fault of the one putting, not the putting surface.
Did Not Like: Not a thing. The course personnel were friendly and the clubhouse facilities were everything you would expect from an upper echelon course. Actually one thing did bother me, and it is a necessary evil, Drainage ditches were unmarked down the sides of many of the holes. This is a common feature in many parkland style courses in Myrtle Beach and, apparently, they are in Ocean City, also. On the positive side, they do help the course to drain and be very playable but they did cost us a few stokes here and there.
Great Good Fun Stuff: While all of the holes were fair and fun to play, the two mentioned in the beginning are the ones that remain in my memory. I am sure, however, that when we play this course again more of the nuances of the various other holes will be remembered. There are so many things to like that they seem to roll into just one damn fine round of golf.
Overall Rating: Very highly recommended. On the front side I tried to overpower the course and paid dearly with a score of 52. After playing the 10th hole in double bogey, I played “smart” and finished the last 8 holes in, for me, a very solid 36. When you are “goin’ downy ocean, hon”, make sure to include The Bay Club on your play list.