Saving Sharp Park - The Press And The Big Picture

- by: San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Sharp 2017 Media Coverage

With the recent decision by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to adopt the RecPark Natural Resources Plan, the Supervisors have joined every relevant local, state, and federal governmental body, regulatory agency, and the courts, in acknowledging the public recreational value and historical resource status of the 18-hole Sharp Park Golf Course. They have all, without exception, rejected the arguments of the anti-golf forces who seek to destroy Sharp Park. This is not to say our quest to Save Sharp Park is over.  Much work remains before we see a full restoration of Alister MacKenzie's architectural magic at Sharp Park.

But with this latest development, it's a good time to pause, take a step back, and reflect on The Big Picture at Sharp Park. Recent reporting in mainstream and social media, both local and national, have done exactly that.  Here’s a sampler: 

 

Paul Slavin, President of the Pacifica Historical Society gets us started with a Special Report to the Pacifica Tribune:

Golf course restoration plan moves forward 
"The plan calls for continuing the restoration work on Pacifica’s popular 85-year-old Sharp Park Golf Course, a reasonably priced public course owned by San Francisco. Designed by the legendary Alister MacKenzie, the course transformed the salty Laguna Salada into a fresh-water pond, thus creating a habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog and the endangered San Francisco garter snake. Work planned for the course will enlarge and enhance that habitat, while maintaining the historic architectural character of the 18-hole course. Supervisor Ahsha Safai, voting with the majority, noted, “The irony of it all is that we have an existing workingman’s golf course, designed by a Scottish immigrant, that would be restored … that would then in the end be the reason why we have the opportunity to protect two of the most endangered species in Northern California. That’s one irony that shouldn’t be lost.”
Jaime Diaz, Editor-in-Chief at Golf World explains why golfers around the country should care about saving Sharp Park:
The fight over Sharp Park isn't just about saving one golf course, but muny golf overall
"Playing a lot of golf at a muny will stay with a golfer. All that grittiness gets under the skin. Munys are more formative, more flawed, more fun, more real... So when a muny, especially one with history in a big city, gets threatened, even the most escapist golfers can be roused. Instead of complaining about the greens and the drainage and range mats, they realize how much they’d miss the $30 green fee and all the camaraderie if it disappeared. They become attuned to how munys are about affordability and accessibility and diversity and being the best entry point for beginners and especially kids. Basically the spirit of St. Andrews. It’s a good exercise, especially if it translates to the kind of activism a beset muny needs to stay alive...
 
Munys are vulnerable targets. City coffers are still recovering from the Great Recession, making the upkeep of golf courses seem less viable, especially when rounds are down. But because the golf lovers who are defending the munys know that if one falls, it could start a domino effect, they are fighting back with every asset at their disposal... “If a golf course with Sharp Park’s historic legacy and devoted multicultural clientele can be destroyed by a combination of anti-golf prejudice and over-aggressive use of the Endangered Species Act, no golf course is safe.” A little overheated? Perhaps. But because golf needs to keep the muny in its soul, all golfers should care about the preservation of Sharp Park."
Geoff Shackleford followed up the Diaz article and the SFPGA press release with posts on his popular blog:
Sharp Park Finally Gets Long Term Reprieve, Chance For MacKenzie Restoration
"A WPA project designed by MacKenzie and Pebble Beach remodeler Chandler Egan, the run-down public course still sports a vibrant and diverse golf scene. With some love and money, it could be one of America's best public golf facilities."
 Sharp Park And Others: The Fight For Muni Golf
"Jaime Diaz does a nice job answering a question many have: who cares about the Sharp Parks, Goat Hills and Lions Muni's of the world? I've heard the question asked and after reading Diaz's piece, the various governing bodies and other higher ups in golf might be a tad more ashamed that they've put so much money to lavish PSA's and First Tee funds instead of investing in these vital places that no longer can attract people to the game in their neglected state."
San Francisco Chronicle award winning golf writer Ron Kroichick summarizes the importance of the course:
Sharp Park restoration back on track
Sharp Park’s vibe is an uncommon blend of history, blue-collar sensibility and a stirring setting. Alister MacKenzie designed many of the game’s shrines, from Augusta National to Cypress Point, but he also created an affordable, accessible, Scottish-like links layout in Pacifica. Eighty-five years later, thankfully, the course lives for another day...  In a purely golfing sense, the preservation of Sharp Park matters. MacKenzie is one of the game’s most storied architects, and Northern Californians are fortunate he did some of his best work here, most notably Cypress Point, Pasatiempo and Meadow Club... The course is scruffy and needs work; given budget constraints, the city might not pour a bunch of money into it. Even in less-than-pristine condition, last week’s decision extends the life of a public track with deep significance.
At GolfGuide.Net, Blogger Rick Vocek explains the magic of Sharp Park... 
Some courses, such as Sharp Park, defy ordinary labels
"The best courses, I’ve found, are the ones that are so unusual, you can’t really funnel them into one place in your mind. And that’s where I would place Sharp Park in Pacifica. Sharp Park has a leg up in the greatness category because it was designed by Alister MacKenzie. It has an advantage in beauty because it’s on the ocean. It has plenty of trees. It’s lots of fun. It certainly is interesting. That’s why I was so thrilled to hear that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 9-1 to keep Sharp Park open and designate it a “Historic Resource Property.” ...  Golf is played out in nature. That’s why many people play. It stands to reason that the two can coexist quite well. The next time you’re out on the course, take a look around. Listen, too. Feel it. Take it in. All that beauty and all those chirping birds and all those fresh breezes are an important part of the experience."
... and don't miss podcaster Kyle Surlow's great interview with San Francisco Public Golf Alliance co-founder Bo Link,  featurining an in-depth discussion of the past, present and future of Sharp Park.
Podcast Episode 36 - Saving Sharp Park with Bo Links

Whether looking at forest or trees, we are determined to find a path to our goal - restoring the MacKenzie magic at Sharp Park while maintaining accessible, affordable, eco-friendly public golf for everyone in the Bay Area.

Save Sharp Park Tournament

If you believe in our mission and want to help, contribute to the cause or join us on June 3, 2017 for the 6th Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to benefit Sharp Park

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