Mar 9, 2023by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
The biggest muni golf news of the winter comes out of the City’s smallest course – the 9-hole, 3-par course at the west end of Golden Gate Park. The non-profit San Francisco First Tee youth golf and educational enrichment program has been operating the course under lease from the Recreation and Park Department since 2013. In February, the Board of Supervisors approved a six-year lease with First Tee, with a nine-year extension if First Tee completes a $2.5 Million renovation of the golf course – including new automated sprinkler system – by 2027. The First Tee operating agreements are Rec & Park’s only long-term golf leases since its 2003 lease and subsequent renewal at Harding Park. Both Lincoln and Sharp Park have been on month-to-month extensions of underlying lease agreements that expired in the 1990’s. The McLaren Park/Gleneagles lease will expire in mid-2023.
Golden Gate Park GC closed on March 6th and is scheduled to reopen sometime in the Fall 2023, after the repair and maintenance work is completed. The golf course work coincides with a new clubhouse being erected by the Rec & Park Department to replace the old clubhouse which burned to the ground in a 2018 arson fire. In the interim, Golden Gate’s regular clientele (SF resident card holders who have played the course six or more times within the past 12 months) will be eligible to obtain a Rec & Park voucher for discounted greens fees at Lincoln and the Fleming Nine. Meanwhile, First Tee will move all of its Golden Gate golf and academic enrichment programs to the First Tee campus at Harding Park. For more information, contact First Tee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juli Simpson Inkster, SF City Women's Champion - 1977, 1979
San Francisco’s annual City Golf Championship got underway at Harding Park in late February, and will continue through the end of March. See Tournament overview and starting times and scores at this LINK. For the first time since the tournament began in 1917, none of the golf will be played at Lincoln Park. There is no explanation for this change on the tournament website, but the course and clubhouse conditions at Lincoln have been deteriorating for years. And it appears that tournament organizers simply reached the conclusion that too bad is too bad.
Sharp Park from Mori Point, January 12, 2023
This year’s high winter winds and record heavy rains – combined with sea water flowing through the gap in Pacifica’s sea wall at the northwest corner of the course near the 16th tee – have downed several big trees and brought the highest levels of winter flooding at Sharp Park since the 1980’s. (See photo, above.) The good news is that the pump has worked, the sea wall has held, and Sharp Park’s kikuyu grass fairways are tolerant of both flooding and saltwater. The greenskeepers are mowing the greens and doing their best to clean-up the downed trees, and the high school golfers and a few other hardy golf souls are playing the course now. (They’re not getting a lot of roll, of course.) By May (or whenever the rains abate for a couple of weeks), the course will be highly playable. And beautiful as always.