San Francisco Public Golf Alliance President and co-founder Richard Harris was a guest lecturer at the Pacifica Historical Society’s May 20, 2018 Quarterly Meeting at the Society’s headquarters in Pacifica’s Little Brown Church. A lawyer by trade, "The Professor" offered a wide ranging lecture (linked here) discussing 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. Let's call it "Sharparkology 101".
Beginning with the founding of golf in Scotland in the 15th Century, Harris takes us through the close political relationship between San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, the bequest of the Sharp Ranch to San Francisco in the early 20th Century and Alister MacKenzie’s links to the earliest days of golf architecture in Scotland, England, and Northern California. He tells stories of early San Francisco political boss Dennis Kearny, early golf architects Old Tom Morris and HS Colt, black golf pioneer Ted Rhodes and Sharp Park’s role in the racial integration of public golf, Bobby Jones, pioneering women’s golf great Marion Hollins, military camouflage, the Boer War, golf and landscape architecture, spiritual walks and labyrinths, and deep appreciation of the natural world.
We hope you enjoy this "must watch" for students of public golf and architecture, and Pacifica History. For any wishing to pursue an advanced degree in "Sharparkology," we also recommend this Golf Channel feature on the meeting of Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie and their collaboration in the building of Augusta National Golf Course, the home of the annual Masters Championship:
To complete your studies, read this Augusta Chronicle article on the relationship between these legends that shaped the history of golf in America, and this Jack Fleming 1932 contemporaneous review of Mackenzie's new Sharp Park gem in Pacifica.