Review 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.
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:
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 catastropic flooding and damage. The course was closed for two years as Troon Golf Management cleared debris and redisgned 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, and family friendly - and they 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.
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:
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, and held the ball well. 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 burms 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, 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 push carts are available.
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.
Rates: $35.00 to $50.00
Service is fantastic. The Pro Shop has a good selection of all the basics. The Grill and Bar are great with a variety of food options. 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.
Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating
The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this: links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses!
All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course. In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40. We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.