Bide-A-Wee Golf Course
Portsmouth’s Premier Public Golf Course
Since 1956, Portsmouth has welcomed golfer’s to play its Bide-a-Wee Public Golf Course. Today, novice and seasoned players, families with kids, and visitors to the Hampton Roads region enjoy this 18-hole golf course. This article explores the course and its amenities, including how to play safely during the current pandemic. It also describes The Links at City Park, a 9-hole executive public course located in Portsmouth City Park. A full list of outdoor recreational activities, including Bide-a-Wee Golf and The Links at City Park is found on the Visit Portsmouth website.
About the Course
Bide-a-Wee is an eighteen hole, par 72 course with a total length of 6940 yards and a slope of 130. Play begins with “Anticipation” at Hole 1, a friendly par 5 for starters. Long hitters have a chance to reach the green in two (maybe), but bunkers guard the left side of the driving area and a water hazard guards the right side, making it a bit of a challenge. It’s a great way to begin the play.
A Curtis Strange signature course, Bide-a-Wee was totally renovated and reopened in 1999. It features bent grass greens, narrow and challenging fairways lined with majestic pines, and a number of picturesque lakes and ponds throughout the course. The original Bide-A-Wee layout featured extremely narrow and small greens that fell off severely on the sides. Tom Clark of Ault, Clark and Associates, along with design consultant and Hampton Roads native Curtis Strange were brought in to renovate the course. The course re-opened on April 6, 1999.
Bide-a-Wee is open year round but the hours vary by season. Find out about hours, rates, rules and regulations on the website and look for special events, programs and classes on the Bide-a-Wee Golf Course website or Facebook page.
A Brief History of Bide-A-Wee
In the early 1950s, PGA professional Chandler Harper conceived the design of Bide-A-Wee Golf Course. Mr. Harper retired from competitive golf after playing in the 1955 Ryder Cup and hired Fred Findlay to build the new Portsmouth course. In the spring of 1956, Portsmouth native Ace Parker joined Harper, Dizzy Dean and Tommy Bolt for the Opening Day Exhibition at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course. For the next 37 years, Chandler Harper managed the course until he retired in 1993. Bide-a-Wee hosted the Virginia State Open four times as well as the World Senior Championships six times. The City of Portsmouth decided to fully renovate the facility and it re-opened in 1999.”
What’s in a name?
The name originated from Mr. Findlay telling Chandler, “when I was a boy in Scotland, I started to run away from home. My Mother advised “you had better bide-a-wee.” To a Scot, that meant “stay a little longer or linger awhile.”
Reviews of Bide-A-Wee Golf Course
Like any business, there are many positive and negative reviews. However, Bide-a-Wee Golf Course enjoys 4-starts plus on Google Reviews. Here is what some folks had to say:
“Beautiful course! Had a really great golfing experience here for a great price. The course is setup very nice and is challenging. Lots of water hazards and bunkers. A little busy on Friday, but we had fun.” – Kenny Cook
“Definitely the best value in Hampton Roads. Course is green and in great shape. Greens couldn’t be better!!!” – Jay Tucker
“A good golf experience. The course was in great shape. Will definitely play again and recommend.” – Joseph Alexander
Play Safe in the age of COVID-19 and the “New Normal”
Most golf courses throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia remain open for play during the Stay at Home order. Bide-A-Wee Golf course is also open and they are taking precautions to keep guest safe with each visit. Carts are wiped down and disinfected after each use. Spacers are used inside each hole so that a player’s ball can be retrieved with two fingers and he/she no longer has to touch the inside of the cup. The staff is monitoring players to insure they keep the proper social distance throughout the course. Here are some tips to keep you safe while still enjoying the game.
- No handshakes. While we know it’s traditional to shake hands on the first and eighteenth hole, it’s not a safe practice.
- Use hand sanitizer frequently while playing. You know you’ve got a little space available in your golf bag to keep your sanitizer!
- Carts may be shared by people living in the same household only. There are a limited number of carts available, so if you’re playing with a non-household member, then load your bags on the cart, and one of you walk the course instead. It’s good exercise!
- Maintain social distance throughout the game. Keep six feet apart from the people you’re playing with as well as other players. Extra space is a good thing.
- Leave the pin in place. It’s always safer to keep touching of shared surfaces to a minimum. If you do touch it, sanitize immediately.
- Don’t toss your partner his/her ball or ball marker. Be responsible for your own and let them be responsible for theirs.
- Don’t reach into the hole. Bide-a-Wee has added an inversion disc/spacer so you don’t have to reach into the hole. Pick up your ball with two fingers…it’s easy.
- Avoid exchanging cash whenever possible. Use cards or better yet, Apple Pay or equivalent.
- Don’t rent or borrow clubs or equipment. Use your own and wipe it down after play.
- Don’t hang around after the game. The restaurant offers grab and go meals, so get some food and take it with you!
No time for 18-holes? Try The Links at City Park
The City of Portsmouth’s Links at City Park is a 9-hole executive length golf course (Par 30) with driving range and practice green located in the 93-acre beautifully landscaped City Park along the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River. It’s Bide-a-Wee’s sister course, ideal for practice and quick play.
Want to get in a quick 9-holes after work? The Links offers a “Twilight Rate” after 3 p.m. for $10 plus cart. Or just practice your drive on the driving range for only $5 a bucket of 50 balls. This is an ideal place to bring kids and teach them how to play. And if golf turns out not to be their thing, the playground is a lot of fun too!
Visit the Bide-a-Wee Golf Course website to learn more about rates, tee times, and rentals at The Links at City Park.
Locations and Contact Information
Bide-a-Wee Golf Course and Pavilion
1 Bide-a-Wee Drive • Portsmouth, Virginia 23701
The Links at City Park
5 Cpl J M Williams Avenue • Portsmouth, Virginia 23701
Adam Relan, PGA
Director of Golf and General Manager
Bide-A-Wee Golf Course and The Links at City Park