Review & Rating of Palmilla Beach Golf Club in Port Aransas
Port Aransas is well known for its fishing, birding, beaches, excellent restaurants, and fun nightlife and now you can add golf at Palmilla Beach Resort & Golf Community to that list.
Prior to 2017, Palmilla Beach Golf Club was an 18 hole oasis that was carved out of and sculptured into the sand dunes along the Gulf of Mexico just south of Port Aransas. It was the only ocean-side golf course in Texas and the first Arnold Palmer ocean-side design in North America. And it was an outstanding layout and clearly one of the best link-style courses in Texas and well-deserving of the accolades it received over the last few years, some of which include:
- Texas Outside's List of the Best Public Courses in Texas
- Ranked by the Dallas Morning News in the Top 3 Resort and Public Courses in Texas from 2010 to 2014
- Named as one of the Top 10 Courses You Can Play in Texas by Golfweek Magazine in 2011, 2012, and 2013
- Received the prestigious designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary
However, ocean-side courses are subject to Mother Nature and in 2017 Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane, hit and devastated Port Aransas as well as Palmilla Beach Golf Community with catastrophic flooding and damage. The course was closed for two years as Troon Golf Management cleared debris and redesigned most of what was the front nine into a 9 hole par 32 links-style course and a 3 hole par three course. Their goal was to leverage what they could and create a new course that played fast, was fun, family-friendly, and maintain a course that Golf Week ranks in the top 1% across the country! They have clearly exceeded that goal!
Palmilla Beach Golf Club is similar to some coastal links courses in Scotland with coastal native brush, rare and endangered seaside plants, windswept dunes, open fairways, sea breezes, and several wall bunkers. The course is visually stunning, in near perfect condition, and a real joy to play!
Controlling ball trajectory and keeping it in the fairway, good course management, accuracy rather than distance, and adjusting to conditions (particularly the wind) are the keys to scoring well at Palmilla Beach Golf Course.
The new Pamilla Beach Golf Course is short – 1485, 2161, and 2431 yards – and a par 32 with 4 par threes and 5 par 4s. The par 3s range from 81 to 205 yards and the par 4s are 186 to 418 yards long. Some of the holes we really liked included:
- #3 is a 282-yard par 4 with a wide heavily contoured fairway lined on both sides by berms with native grass and lots of lost balls – and the green has a right and left front bunker plus a ridge across the middle
- #4 is a beautiful 144-yard par 3 with the Gulf of Mexico as a backdrop, a front and back small pot bunker, and a heavily contoured green – coastal wind can have a huge impact on ball's trajectory
- #6 is a 481-yard par 4 with a long carry over a natural area and then down a tight dune lined fairway with a challenging approach to the green
- #7 is a fun 306-yard par 4 with an elevated tee box and a carry over a pond to a challenging green
Millions of tons of sand and dirt must have been moved to create all the original fairway contour, mounding, and the tall berms lining the fairway. Miss the fairway, most of which are ample and forgiving, and your ball is lost. The fairways were in near perfect condition when we played and the rough was very playable. Expect wind to have a significant impact on your ball flight and the rolling fairways to create some uneven lies.
The greens at Palmilla Beach Golf Course were also in excellent condition. They were running around a 9, ran true, were very soft, and held the ball well. The greens are Paspalum which is super-spongy turf and it’s so soft you’ll be tempted to play barefoot! Most of the greens are slightly raised, guarded by some nasty deep bunkers, and all had some slope, contour, or tiers. Pin placement can add a few strokes. In some cases, tall berms or mounds provide a nice backstop for the green – hit into them and the ball might roll back toward the green.
The sand in the bunkers at Palmilla Beach Golf Club is soft and thick and perfect – some of the best bunkers we've played out of! But you've got a major problem if you end up against their steep faces or in the rough surrounding the bunkers.
The par 3 course has yardages of 80, 80, and 115 yards. Carts aren't allowing on the par 3 but golf boards and pushcarts are available. You can also try a Golf Board on either course. These motorized scooters carry you and your bag at up to 14 MPH.
Port Aransas is one of our favorite Texas cities and Palmilla Beach Golf Club is another good reason to visit Port A. The Palmilla Beach Resort is home to some beautiful homes, condos, townhomes, and cottages – several of which are available for a golf stay and play or beach vacation. The Resort also has a seaside grill, patio bar, and poolside cabana.
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The service is fantastic. The Pro Shop has a good selection of all the basics. The dress code is beach-casual. Black Marlin Restaurant has great food and is open for lunch or dinner. Reds Patio Bar is perfect for a drink after your round.
The practice area is six acres and includes 30 grass hitting areas and the distances are measured each day to allow you to hone in on the yardage.