Photo Essay - Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park - May, 2015
- by: San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
In the Bag for Western States - Winners of the 2015 Alister MacKenzie Benefit Tournament
Greg Isom, Boi Egipto, London Pope, and Steve Rodriguez (L-R), representing Western States Golf Association,
took the prize for low team score, with a 16-under-par 56, beating the PING team captained by Northern California
sales rep Jeff Heitt in a card-off, and three other teams that posted 57’s.
Sharp Park. Golf’s history – and its future – came together here on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at the fourth annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park, hosted by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.
The 83-year-old Sharp Park Golf Course—Alister MacKenzie’s great gift to the American public course golfer, in the words of the late Ken Venturi – hosted 250 golfers of all ages, cultures, genders, and persuasions, fighting to save the iconic public seaside links. Major sponsors were the Northern and Southern California Golf Associations, Fry’s.com Open, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, and PING Golf – which got its start in the late 1950’s in Karsten Solheim’s Redwood City garage.
San Francisco Judge (Ret.) Pat Mahoney, son of legendary Palo Alto Muni golf pro Pat Mahoney, brought a foursome of legal eagles, and recalled the days when Solheim would hustle his then-recently-invented “Ping” putter on the Paly Muni putting green.
2015 marked the 60th anniversary of the inaugural tournament of the Western States Golf Association, which was held at Sharp Park. Western States is one of the Country’s oldest and largest African-American golfing societies. Fittingly, a team representing Western States – composed of London Pope, Boi Egipto, Steve Rodriguez, and Greg Isom – shot 16-under par 56 to claim the low gross prize—winning a card-off with a PING team captained by Nor Cal PING rep Jeff Heitt.
Carol Kaufman, Chair of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open, to be played at Cordevalle, south of San Jose, was there with Golf Channel commentator and two-time U.S. Amateur champion Kay Cockerill. Matt Venturi, son of U.S. Open Champion Ken Venturi, had the day’s best shot – missing hole-in-one on the 95-yard 8th hole by just three inches.
And Robert Trent “Bobby” Jones II was there between golf architecture gigs – a few days returned from Argentina, and a few days before heading north to Tacoma, where his Chambers Bay Golf Course hosted the 2015 U.S. Open.
The morning shotgun belonged to the kids, as 10 teams of First Tee and high school players enjoyed themselves on Dr. MacKenzie’s beautiful old course. Low scores among the young players were the 62’s carded by a Lincoln High Team which benefitted from the hot putter of 11-year-old William Lu, and a co-ed San Francisco First Tee foursome captained by long-hitting Samantha Gong of San Francisco’s St. Ignatius Prep.
The day’s good times were summarized nicely by Ralph, a Silicon Valley First Tee player, who told SVFT Executive Director George Maxe: “If we kept score by the amount of fun we’re having, we would be minus 30.”
We’ll do it again on Saturday, June 4, 2016, Ralph.
McGoverns on First Tee, Fun Bunch on 18th Green.
Young Wyatt McGovern gets some strategic consultation from father Jon on the #1 Tee.
In the background Cliff Lai gets a high-five from Don Chinn after sinking a birdie putt on 18,
while Weyland Lum celebrates and Wing Lai tends the flag.
Nick Zwick, who founded the Alister MacKenzie Foundation to raise philanthropic money to renovate Sharp Park,
and Lyn Nelson, Chair of the SF Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council.
Pacifica Men in Black.
Head greenskeeper Almar Valenzuela (at left), who grew up in Pacifica playing golf at Sharp Park,
accepts congratulations for his greens from a happy off-camera customer.
At center-photo, PGA teaching pro and Pacifica resident Dan Schwabe gives swing tips
to unidentified golfer in the handsome green San Francisco Public Golf Alliance vest.
Carol Kaufman just wants to have fun.
And maybe pick up a few pointers about how to run a successful golf tournament.
Carol is Chair of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open Championship, to be held in July, 2016 at Cordevalle, south of San Jose.
One-armed bandit in Red.
That’s Bill Ellis, a retired San Francisco Airport painter, who can usually be found on the Sharp Park practice green, grooving his one-handed putting stroke.
Come hell or high water.
Mark Duane has seen it all at Sharp Park for the past 20 years, from his Starter’s Office lookout.
Alister MacKenzie Foundation Director Larry Biehl tees-off on Hole 11.
With playing partners (L-R) Scott Gibson, Chris Reid, and Andy Reid.
Let a smile be your umbrella.
Two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and Golf Channel commentator Kay Cockerill, still sporting a driver cover from her alma mater UCLA,
heads off into the morning damp. She feels right at home at Sharp Park, having learned to play at DeLaviega, the municipal course in Santa Cruz.
Bill Nagle hones his behind-the-back putting stroke on the #13 Green,
while Matt Venturi (L) works on his more conventional approach,
and Brian Delehanty (R) holds the pin and offers helpful tips.
While Sharp Park regular Ray Clemons locks-in on his 8-footer on the #11 Green,
the attention of his partners (L-R) Michael Jones, Zee Hollie, and Clarence Bryant is elsewhere.
St. Ignatius senior Samantha Gong led her SF First Tee co-ed Foursome to a 10-under-par 62,
tying with the Lincoln High boys team for low score among the junior and high school players.
In the Fall, 2015 Samantha tied for low individual score in the NorCal Girls’ High School Championship.
She will enter USF on a golf scholarship in Fall, 2016.
Amanda and Ashley Schwabe, St. Ignatius team players and daughters of local teaching pro Dan Schwabe, wait to tee off at Hole #1.
The golf bag weighs more than he does.
But that’s not bothering San Francisco First Tee player Enrico Diaz.
Under the Ping Banner
Carol Kaufman, Mike Cinelli, and Kay Cockerill. PING founder Karsten Solheim was an engineer in the early days of Silicon Valley,
when he invented what became the PING putter in the late 1950’s. He played golf at Sharp Park and the other local munis, and the
Solheim family has been a generous sponsor over the years of the MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park.
Sharparkology 101: A lecture at the Pacifica Historical SocietyMonday, June 25, 2018SFPGA President "Professor" Richard Harris discusses the origins of golf in Scotland, its early history in America, the central place held by Alister MacKenzie in the history and practice of world golf architecture, and the artistry of his work at Sharp Park.