• Menu
  • Menu

Bayonne Golf Club Sharpening Fangs, Looks to Further Test Pros

Course developer and designer Eric Bergstol sent the membership the following letter outlining changes to his instant and forever links classic:  Bayonne Golf Club. We’ll be talking with Eric on Jay Flemma Sports Report soon, as well as publishing a more in-depth pice on the changes for Golf Course Trades. As Hunter Thompson’s editors would say, in the interests of journalistic purity, we are publishing the letter in its entirety.

“Wishing you have all had a blessed holiday and a joyous New Year!

I wanted to take a moment to explain some of the projects on the golf course that have been initiated during this off season. The purpose of the renovations is to add to the quality of the playing experience and to improve the operational traffic generated by our maintenance crew, members, and caddies. Wear and tear created by the maintenance crew as well as foot traffic have always been a concern and need to be dealt with continually.

Last year, during the 2021-2022 off-season, we renovated the greenside bunkers on holes 3, 5, 7, and 17, making them all stacked sod bunkers. We had also expanded the play area left of 17 green which is now maintained fescue rough. This change eliminated the tall grasses and waste area that contributed to lost balls and time searching for shots that missed the green left. This change was well received by our membership. This year we have continued the same thought process with similar modifications, only more extensive. Details of those changes, along with some explanations, are listed below by order of holes. Most of the work has been completed. However, because of our aggressive plan to make significant changes over much of the course, and factoring in weather, some work could take until the spring to be fully completed.  Since most everything has already been finished, we’re not expecting much interference at the start of the new season. Additionally, 10 of the 18 greens complexes were somewhat or greatly modified so new pin locations could be added where none existed before. Here’s what to expect when you return in 2023.

Short Game Area:

A new containment boom that was purchased this spring has helped keep the water range open almost every day. Before the boom replacement, we had much more pressure on our short game area range where the need to expand the tee line for more hitting locations became a priority. To improve upon our practice facilities, we decided to fully renovate the short game range area even though the water range will be open much more than in the past years.

The access point off the entrance road for the short game area remains the same, as it is the best location for site distance where cars are visible coming and going. A new cart path trail was built to the new tee line from the roadway whereby members and guests can now pull up right behind the hitting area. Numerous parking spaces will now be available at this tee area. The shot distance was shortened by about 8 to 10 yards to allow for golf cart parking at the tee. The tee spaces have almost doubled in length, allowing for more hitting surface. It is important to use the short game area for practice hitting golf shots 160 yards or less. We ask that you please be respectful and only use the short game area for practice of less than 160 yards. Longer shots can be very dangerous to others playing the first hole of the golf course.

Hole 1:

New stairs have been built from the first green to the second tee box.

Hole 2:

A twenty-yard-wide bent grass connection was made near the end of the 2nd fairway connecting it with the 8th fairway.

Existing fairways bunkers were expanded at the end of the right side of hole 2 landing area. Two new bunkers were also added alongside the new bent grass cut through between holes 2 and 8. The bent grass cut through was created to have access for maintenance vehicles and caddies helping to reduce turf damage.

Entire renovation of green surround has been done. A bent grass approach left of green has been lengthened to connect to a new cart path crossing the bridge, accommodating foot traffic and reducing wear patterns.

We removed the existing greenside bunker and added 2 new stacked sod bunkers, elevating them, and pushing them closer to the green. The look and playability are dramatic improvements, as the others previously renovated have been.

Regrading and resodding the green surrounds with fescue sod has also been done and will be maintained as a primary rough.

A new tournament pin was added on the front right of the green to a small area just over the new right side stacked sod bunker.

Hole 3:

The left side of the fairway approaching the green had previously been an unmaintained native area where the hazard line had come close to the fairway. That section has been regraded and resodded and will be maintained as a primary rough play area.

A new railroad tie path from the bridge near the 2nd green was created and extended. It crosses below hole 3 tee boxes and connects behind hole 7. This will help our maintenance crew and the caddies walking to the landing area of hole 8 after finishing play on the 7th green.

Hole 4:

The carry bunkers and path that were added two years ago that were intended to improve the access for the maintenance crew to the front nine of the golf course did not accomplish enough of what is needed. One cross bunker has now been eliminated as well as the railroad tie path to the left of that bunker. A narrow fairway was created, where the carry bunker was formerly situated, connecting the two fairways. The hole will still play as though there are carry bunkers separating the fairways on the second shot, but maintenance access is improved, and players will be able to walk on this narrow fairway to the green.

The right side of the large greenside bunker, as well as the rough at the front of the bunker, was regraded and resodded to improve the perspective to the green on the approach shot. The two mounds blocking a pin on the right of the green were lowered to improve visibility, as was the end of the fairway looking into the bunker. This has allowed for more visibility of the green and the bunker from the approach shot.

In addition, a portion to the right side of the green was regraded to allow for more pin access.

Hole 5:

The tees were raised by 8 feet, lengthened by 12 yards, and widened, almost doubling the size of the existing tee space. New steps have been added from the green of hole 4 to the tee of hole 5. The new tees give a better view of the green and greenside bunker as well as the entire western portion of the golf course.

 Hole 6:

The entire green surround has been regraded and resodded. A new stacked sod bunker was created replacing the previous bunker. The stacked sod bunker covers the entire width of the green front. A new and wider walk off was built from the 6th green to the 7th tee.

A center right side pin was added after reshaping that area of the green.

Hole 7:

The green was largely reshaped and expanded. The humps protecting the back right pin have been removed. The green was expanded at the back left which adds a back left pin that previously never existed. The front left of the green was regraded to allow a pin where one was never able to be placed. Now, the left greenside bunker will be more in play with pins that can be placed on the left side of the green.

Hole 8:

The spine in the middle of the green coming from the center back to the center front was softened. The green was recontoured to allow a center front and left pin location to be added.

Hole 10

The front right of the green, 4 o’clock, was raised and softened allowing for new pin locations. Also, the back center, 1 o’clock was contoured to allow for a new back pin location. Hole 10 will now have many new potential pin locations.

Hole 12:

The front left section of the green was raised to allow for a new pin location.

Hole 13:

The front right slope of the green was modified to allow for a new pin location, not previously possible. The front left of the green was also modified to better hold approach shots on the putting surface.

Hole 15:

We have had concerns about the time spent looking for tee shots hit in the hills left of the fairway landing area. The two hills were lowered and reshaped. That area will be maintained as a primary fescue rough area where left hit tee shots will now be more easily found and played. Two large bunkers  (Named The Virga Bunkers), have been added to protect the hole, maintaining the challenge and importance of the tee shot.

 Hole 16:

The greenside bunker has been regraded with stacked sod. This will clean up the left side of the green, helping to hold a golf shot that hits the putting surface and rolls toward the left bunker.

Hole 18:

The back third of the entire green was regraded to allow several new pin positions while making the back right portion of the green tie in better with the back left portion.

We hope you will enjoy these changes and we look forward to an exciting spring and start to the 2023 golf season.

Wishing you all the Best, Health, and Happiness in the New Year,

Eric Bergstol”