Oct 6, 2019by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
"SF Muni regular Clarence Bryant on the 17th Tee at Lincoln Park"Staggering wealth, accumulated at the speed of broadband, has sent San Francisco topsy-turvy. Entire neighborhoods have been reshaped. Real estate prices have grown surreal. One-bedroom apartments rent for an average of $3,700. Single-family homes list for a median of $1.6 million... If Tony Bennett came back to fetch the heart he left here, he’d recognize the cable cars but not much else. Except maybe the munis, which survive, underfunded, asking relatively little but offering plenty in return. No doubt they’ve given lots to golfers like Clarence Bryant, whose company I’ve got for my morning round. At 88, with a spring still in his step and a pop still in his swing, Bryant has a love affair with Lincoln that makes my ties to the course seem like a summer fling. He’s been a regular for more than 60 years, playing it with buddies on a rotating circuit of city courses. His fondness for the munis is well founded. As a black man learning the game in post–World War II San Francisco, Bryant was kept at arm’s length by the local private clubs. But the munis welcomed him, and he embraced them back. “I don’t know what I would have done without them,” he says..."
"As part of a bid to restore and renovate the municipal golf courses of Washington, D.C., the National Links Trust has partnered with two prominent architectural firms: Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design and Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner’s Hanse Golf Course Design. If the NLT wins the contract, Doak will work on East Potomac Golf Course, while Hanse and Wagner will lend their services to Rock Creek Golf Course. The NLT has also teamed up with management company Troon and developer Mike Keiser... NLT’s partners have come aboard in the spirit of public service. Both Renaissance Golf Design and Hanse Golf Course Design have agreed to waive their fees. Mike Keiser has pledged to support the project with his pocketbook as well as the network of connections he has assembled in developing Bandon Dunes, Sand Valley, and other golf destinations. Finally, according to Smith, Troon knows this will be different from a normal management contract. “They understand the importance to American golf of having these municipal courses in D.C. be thriving places where people learn the game, come back to the game, and stay engaged with the game at an affordable price,”
Also writing in The Fried Egg, Jeff Long waxes rhapsodic about Louisville, Kentucy's endangered Crescent Hill muni and explores the threat and promise of municipal golf in his community:
"That is why it’s important to pay attention to situations like Louisville’s current one. In 2020, it’s likely that the city will divest itself of some of its municipal courses. Perhaps the courses will persist under private ownership and charge higher green fees. It’s possible that the junior golf programs will continue, though one can’t say for certain what a private owner that prioritizes profit will do. Maybe some of the courses will be reclaimed as parks, as happened when the Old River Road Country Club in Louisville became Champions Park. Or perhaps the land will be sold to housing developers to help meet future budget shortfalls. Whatever happens in Louisville, the basic message for everyone should be clear: the future of golf depends on the future of municipal courses like Crescent Hill. So go out and play the burnt-out, scruffy, wild, or downright eccentric muni near you. It might be the cheapest round of golf you’ve played in a while, and it helps support a meaningful cause."
"I contracted the golf virus when I turned 10, right as Tiger won his third consecutive United States Amateur title. I started playing, mostly with my grandma, several days a week, and before long I was heading out solo any afternoon I could, getting dropped off after school. These were public golf courses around Los Angeles, among the busiest in the country, which is why you don’t end up playing by yourself much... Conversation on a golf course is its own kind of chatter. The small talk is relevant: There is always the shift in the wind or the yardage to the pin or the speed of this green versus that last one to blab about. Golf is also forward-moving. You’re never just stuck there... Your eyes are always directed down the fairway, even if you’re talking about layoffs or dead dads. The overlaps with strangers may not always be obvious. But you feel around. You shine your flashlight into the cave and see if maybe you’re fans of the same burger chain or whatever."
"Architects Tom Doak and Jay Blasi, a Bay Area resident, gave recommendations to mow out the 10th and 18th greens to their original shapes created by MacKenzie in 1932.. Sharp Park, which is blessed with some very attractive forested holes and other greens near a walking path along the Pacific Ocean, aches for upgrades..."