Day Trips: Palmilla Golf Club, Port A

Hit the links at the beach

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Palmilla Beach Golf Club in Port Aransas took the lemons handed to it by Hurricane Harvey and made lemonade.

The only golf course on Mustang Island was hammered by the storm in 2017. Debris and saltwater covered much of the 18-hole course. Although the vacation homes sustained some damage, the golf course was heavily damaged.

Management decided to close the front nine holes on the west side of Highway 361 and replace it with a new driving range. They concentrated their reconstruction efforts on what had been the back nine. The protective dunes were rebuilt and a new nine-hole, links-style course was carved out of the old course. Seashore paspalum, a salt-tolerant grass, gives the fairways a lush surface while platinum paspalum makes for ideal putting greens.

"The course is fast, fun, and the best surfaces you'll find on any coastal golf course in Texas," says Bradley Boyd, the club's director and teaching pro.

It seems kind of odd to take your golf clubs to the beach, but this is an enjoyable course that welcomes golfers of all skill levels and can be played in less than two hours. The rolling fairways are generally wide enough to be forgiving while the greens are pool table smooth. Wind off the Gulf is a factor in your club selection, keeps the bugs at bay, and reduces the coastal heat.

Holes 4 and 5 are true links style with the Gulf visible on the left. Number 5 is the course's signature hole and one of the most fun to play, with the pin hidden behind weed-covered dunes that protrude into the fairway.

For those pressed for time or just wanting a little practice while at the beach, the golf club offers a three-hole pitch and putt course and a driving range. Either can be played for $20 an hour, just enough time to make it at least twice around the rolling terrain of the short course, Bradley says.

Palmilla Beach Golf Club, a short distance south of downtown Port Aransas on Highway 361, will hold a grand opening on June 1. Green fees start at $40 and include a cart and use of the driving range prior to play. The course also rents personal golf boards, which add a surfing feel to the game. An overnight stay at Palmilla Beach Resort offers luxury guest services and private beach access even if you're not playing golf. The Black Marlin Bar & Grill at the golf clubhouse is an excellent dining choice whether or not you're playing or staying at Palmilla Beach. For information and tee times, go to

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Palmilla Beach Golf Club, Port Aransas, Hurricane Harvey, Mustang Island, Bradley Boyd, Black Marlin Bar & Grill, golf

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