NCGA Golf Magazine - San Francisco State of Mind

- by: Mike Wallach

NCGA Magazine Cover 2015 Winter Edition

The NCGA Golf Magazine Winter Edition makes the case that Northern California has the best golf in the country. Editor Scott Seward offers the opening argument in "The West Coast is the Best Coast":

"... The regions best attribute is its incredible diversity of landscapes, and public access to spectacular course. .. From the Monterey Peninsula to San Francisco, from Lake Tahoe to the Sierra Foothills. and from Mt. Shasta down the Central Valley, there's a panorama to suit every taste... We enlisted an all-star lineup of writers to help us make the case that Northern California is the best golf region in the nation."

Our public San Francisco courses were, of course, submitted as evidence. In case you missed the issue, we thought we'd highlight mentions of our favorite local tracks, but first - We need to get something off our chest.

It's a great issue except for a glaring oversight. To show off the embarrassment of golfing riches we enjoy in Northern California, the editor hired famous sports illustrator Dan Vasconcellos to design the first illustrated cover in the magazine's history. That's the cover at the top of this page. Notice anything missing? There are no San Francisco public golf courses. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. No Lincoln Park. No Presidio. No Sharp Park. No Gleneagles at McClaren Park, No Golden Gate Park golf course. Not even TPC Harding made the cut. Shocking. We can't blame the artist. After all, Dan Vasconcellos is from Boston. What does he know? But someone at NCGA Magazine should have noticed.  Inexcusable. Still, let's put this unpleasantness aside and look at the positive mentions of our San Francisco public tracks.

Kevin Merfeld considered writing an article listing the Northern California Dream 18 holes, but decided to stick with a "Pebble Beach Dream 18" until he plays a few more courses:

"What good would a Dream 18 be without considering holes from San Francisco GC, Mayacama, California GC, Martis Camp, or the Meadow Club. Or Saddle Creek, TPC Harding Park, the Presidio, or Calippe Preserve? And how could I forgo holes such as the 16th at Pasatiempo, the 17th at Lincoln Park, or the 18th at Half Moon Bay because I haven't played them?"

Exactly. A wise decision. 

Alan Shipnuck celebrates Northern California golf in "It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This":

"If you hunger for more ocean views - and who among us doesn't - peg it at Pacific Grove or Spanish Bay or Half Moon Bay or Bodega Harbour or Presidio. You can make the case that Northern California has more truly memorable public courses than the rest of the country combined. Meanwhile, the well-connected can fill out their itineraries at Monterey Peninsula Country Club - the finest 36 hole facility in the U.S. -  or in the western edge of San Francisco, which offers a density of superb clubs to rival anything in Westchester County: San Francisco GC, Olympic, Cal Club, and Lake Merced, wtih Harding right next door if the need arises for an emergency 18... TPC Harding Park is entrenched in the rota for golf's biggest events, as it will host the  2015 Match Play Championship, 2020 PGA Championship, and 2025 President's Cup..."

Actually, you'll get more ocean views at Lincoln Park than you'll get at Presidio, but you can't go wrong at either.

Finally, Brian Murphy pulls it all together with a compelling closing argument (including a shout-out to your San Francisco Public Golf Alliance) in "Why Northern California Golf is the Best":

"So here's to the places in Northern California that move your golfing soul. Here's to Sharp Park, and a history so powerful it fueled a group of golfers to move heaven and earth to protect its layout. Plus, breakfast in the historic clubhouse restaurant and a a dice game at the bar, if your're up for it. Here's to the nine-hole golf course at Golden Gate Park, where generations of families learn to play the game nestled in the most majestic civic park west of Central Park... Here's to Presidio Golf Club, where if you squint hard enough between the fog and the trees and light, you can see the ghosts of babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, two players who trod its fairways... Here's to Northern California golf. Play in the rain. Play in the mist. Play the ball down. Play on Mother Earth's land as she intended. That's what you do in Northern Caifornia. It's a mystical thing."

It is indeed. Thanks Brian.

And Scott - I'm afraid we have to assess NCGA Golf Magazine a two stroke penalty. Next time let's get that illustration right. 

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