Palo Alto reopens municipal golf course

The Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course has reopened. Photo from the golf course.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Palo Alto’s Baylands Golf Links is open for play, weeks after other golf courses in the area reopened following shutdowns due to the coronavirus.

The golf course at 1875 Embarcadero Road, opened Wednesday for single play and driving range use. People who want to practice their strokes won’t be able to rent equipment, but they can use the course’s carts. Range balls are available and will be sanitized after use.

Palo Alto’s course is one of the last to open locally. Sunnyvale’s municipal golf course and Sunken Gardens have been open for weeks, with tee times limited to four players. Mountain View’s Shoreline Golf Links opened on May 4, but no spectators are allowed and the driving range is closed. The Stanford Golf Course is open just to students, faculty, employees and Stanford Alumni Association Members, which is always the case there.

At the Palo Alto municipal links, instead of actually hitting balls into holes, they have set up pool noodles around holes to stop balls.

“When your ball hits the noodle, the ball is considered to be ‘holed out,’ according to the Baylands website.

People are not allowed to socialize or “loiter” when they finish playing.

Tennis and pickleball

City tennis and pickleball courts are open but people are only supposed to play with members of their own households.

Andrea Barnes, a Palo Alto resident and the United States Professional Tennis Association NorCal executive director, said in a letter to city council that she was initially excited when she heard the city’s courts were open.

“Then I read the sign…’Only immediate family residing in the same household’ may play,” she said. “I was heartbroken. This means everyone who, like me, lives alone, is shut out of yet another activity.”

Barnes said she has lived alone for the past seven years since her husband passed away. She said council should let people play singles tennis with people they don’t live with. She suggested that players can mark tennis balls so that each person only directly handles their own balls. If a ball that belongs to someone’s tennis partner winds up on their court they can pass it back with their racquet.

City pools, dog parks, picnic tables and benches, barbecue areas, outdoor gym equipment and playgrounds are all still closed. City spokeswoman Meghan Horrigan-Taylor said they are all banned under the county stay at home order.

Resident Barton Wells wrote to council to ask that the city reopen the Rinconada pool at 777 Embarcadero Road. He said that it should be safe to swim if people from different households stay in their own swim lanes. Wells said the cardiovascular benefits of swimming outweigh the risks of COVID-19. He said having good health might help people recover if they do get the virus.

People are supposed to stay six feet away from people they don’t live with while doing any recreational activity.