News & Events


Photo: International MacKenzie Golf Design Prize for 2021  Goes to Our Own Bo Links

Bo Links at 2017 "Save Sharp Park" Benefit Tournament

International MacKenzie Golf Design Prize for 2021 Goes to Our Own Bo Links

Jul 12, 2021by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Bo Links, co-founder of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, is winner of the 2021 "Ray Haddock" Lido Prize for golf architecture design, awarded by the Alister MacKenzie Society and Golf Digest Magazine, which announced the award in its June 19 issue:

"The winner of the 2021 Ray Haddock Lido Prize is Bo Links. His entry, the reverse C-shaped green, is titled “Sahara.” The front section of the green is a short iron or wedge shot and the back elevated lobe, still just 155 yards—the same as the 12th at Augusta National—is the tournament pin position. The miss to either the lower or upper greens is left or right—long or short is in the sand—while flags along the right side cannot afford to miss left or right. Each hole location offers variety and calls for a different shot, with slopes and bumpers helping to move the ball around the putting surface."

A San Francisco lawyer, Bo is a three-time winner (previously in 2007 and 2008) of the annual design competition for the amateur golf architect who submits a golf hole design that best embodies the spirit and architectural philosophy of Alister MacKenzie – history’s most famous golf architect.  

The Alister MacKenzie Society is a fraternity of international golf clubs -- from California to Buenos Aires to Australia to the British Isles -- whose courses were built by MacKenzie during the 1920’s and ‘30s – considered by many the “Golden Age of golf architecture.”  Northern California member clubs include Green Hills in San Bruno, Meadow Club in Fairfax, Claremont in Oakland, Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz, and Cypress Point on the Monterey Peninsula.  

In addition to being a noted attorney who has won at the United States Supreme Court, Links is a golf historian, author, and artist who has been a driving force in the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance’s decade-long campaign to restore MacKenzie’s muni golf masterpiece at Sharp Park.  He illustrates and explains his 2021 Lido Prize winning design of a medium-length three-par hole in his entry submission:

“My goal was to make a hole that’s exciting and invigorating for every level of player, to find that classic MacKenzie value of ‘pleasurable excitement,’ ” says Links, a longtime San Francisco attorney who now lives in Oregon. “It’s not based on any hole I’ve ever seen. The concept of the green was that if the hole is cut up on the championship level, you’re hitting right over the lower level with the chasm in between, and it’s a mini-heroic carry. And even the front-of-the-green hole location, at just over 100 yards, can give the shorter player the same thrill.” - Bo Links

Congratulations Bo!

 


Photo: Volunteer Pickup and Picnic Day at Sharp Park

Sharp Park Volunteers

Volunteer Pickup and Picnic Day at Sharp Park

Jun 21, 2021by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Juneteenth Morning – two days after President Biden declared June 19 as the nation’s newest national holiday – a 15-person team of Sharp Park golfers celebrated with three hours of volunteer work with the Rec & Park maintenance crew, clearing 20-plus pickup truck loads of accumulated debris from the forest floor between the first, ninth, and tenth holes. Then they shared a picnic behind the 3rd Tee.

As the U.S. Open was being contested 500 miles south at San Diego’s Torrey Pines, another municipal seaside links, our hearty Sharp Park volunteer squad – Jason Yip, Grant Ewald, Tom Snow, Teddy and Hector Collins, Pete Shoemaker, Max Stillman, Betty Wong, Lisa Villasenor-Volosing, Helen Duffy, Leslie Davis, Laurie Fox, Matt Regnart, and Richard Harris -- cleared downed branches, limbs, small logs, twigs, and assorted trash and stray golf balls and loaded it all into trucks driven by Rec & Park greenskeepers Craig Stover and Dennis Dias, all under the direction of Rec & Park Supervisor Mike Catanzaro with help from Natural Areas specialist Chris Campbell and Rec-Park Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Gee.

Matt Regnart, Tom Snow, Mike Catanzaro, Max Stillman, Pete Shoemaker, Lisa Villasenor-Volosing @ Hole 1
Matt Regnart, Tom Snow, Mike Catanzaro, Max Stillman, Pete Shoemaker, Lisa Villasenor-Volosing at Hole 1

Leslie Davis, Tom Snow, Jason Yip, Grant Ewald, Pete Shoemaker, Matt Regnart, Betty Wong, Christopher Campbell at Sharp Park Hole 9
Leslie Davis, Tom Snow, Jason Yip, Grant Ewald, Pete Shoemaker, Matt Regnart, Betty Wong, Christopher Campbell at Hole 9

Volunteer load debris at Sharp Park
This one's full

More cleanup needed at Sharp
There’s more debris to clear, more room in the dump, more good times, and we will rinse-and-repeat the operation in August.

Any volunteers? Let us know at: info@sfpublicgolf.org.

 


Photo: From Shinnecock to Sharp Park -  A Review of “A Course Called America”  By Tom Coyne

Photo Credit - Main Line Today

From Shinnecock to Sharp Park -  A Review of “A Course Called America”  By Tom Coyne

May 25, 2021by - Richard Harris

Review: A Course Called America
By Tom Coyne
Simon and Schuster
Publication date: May 26, 2021

Golfwriter Tom Coyne (“Paper Tiger,” “A Course Called Scotland,” “A Course Called Ireland”) is a one-time suburban Philadelphia high school golfer and caddy who in 2019 took a sabbatical year from his day job as Professor of Creative Writing at St. Joseph’s University to play golf – 300 rounds on 294 courses from Maine to Alaska to Hawaii – and research his new book, “A Course Called America,” set for release May 26, 2021.  

The book is not a coffee table anchor with pretty pictures and architectural detail of famous courses.  Rather it is a travelogue of American golf towns and courses, bits of golf history and sociology, Coyne’s road adventures with caddies and golf pals old and new, stories of famous, near famous, and unknown golf pros, architects, and developers, and the Professor’s reflections on all of it.  With the occasional nod to the wisdom of the ages, such as this one from Lao Tzu:  “’A journey of one thousand golf courses begins with a single hole.”  

Coyne’s golf odyssey begins traditionally enough on the East Coast, with rounds in the company of stockbrokers at Newport (site of the first U.S. Open in 1895) and the A-list of exclusive old-line clubs on Eastern Long Island, where one day he “felt a tug at my heartstrings. . .  that such quality was shared with so few. . . a sensation . . at so many premier courses that hosted less than a dozen rounds a day.”  

Early on he finds an antidote at Shennecossett, a Donald Ross-designed muni in the New York suburb of Groton, CT., where by the magic of social media he assembles a half-dozen young public course golf wonks, leading him to reminisce about learning to play golf from his father, who as a young working-class Irish enlisted man from Scranton PA. had in the early ‘50s acquired the golf habit at a 9-hole Navy base course in San Diego.  

Coyne is an artist and storyteller, who then proceeds from east to west exploring the complex personality of American golf at private and public courses, famous and little-known, in all 50 states and the Navajo Nation (where he plays Rez Golf at Lonesome Pine, a literal dirt track on a bluff outside of Flagstaff, AZ.), winding-up in California and finally Hawaii.

 The Professor showed up at Sharp Park one rainy weekday afternoon in the first week of December 2019 to play with a course historian and architect Jay Blasi, one of the architectural forces (with his fellow-Upper-Midwesterner Tom Doak)  supporting the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance’s Save Sharp Park efforts.  Coyne identifies Sharp Park as “MacKenzie’s only other seaside course after Cypress,” and continues:  

“The map said Sharp Park would be near the ocean, but I didn’t believe a muni would ever be set so close to the waves; it was, and those waves had reclaimed a handful of MacKenzie’s holes. Twelve of his originals remained . . . As a city course, Sharp Park had no equal when it came to location and holding on to those acres had proved an arduous task—an eight-year legal battle saved the grounds from being closed off as habitat for a garter snake and a rare frog, yet another example of conservationists failing to embrace golf ’s protective capacities.

“It was a subject Scotsman David McLay Kidd had stamped into my psyche: Lay out some golf holes and fragile terrain is instantly preserved and protected, because it now has purpose, both commercially and recreationally. Leave those lands to the whims of absent government agencies or to the wishful benevolence of neighbors and dunes quickly became cut-throughs to the beach or spots for bonfires and keggers. Done right, golf development could be a great green shield for protecting those rare spaces, with course superintendents serving as caretakers who were more efficient and knowledgeable than overstretched municipal agencies. Jay Blasi explained that . . . conservationists . . . didn’t understand that a course thrived only when its setting thrived, and that a conscientious golf architect was really offering to do the environmentalists’ work for them.”

The day after Sharp Park, Coyne is at the Olympic Club’s 9-hole Cliffs Course for a 100-hole Youth on Course fundraiser.  Halfway through that marathon he meets Lynda, a 60-something member of Sistas on the Links, an African-American women’s golfing society. Lynda is a golf-loving retired businesswoman and PhD, who a few years before had returned to school at Napa Valley Junior College with three of her girlfriends to support a Little Sista who needed a junior college golf team to pursue her university golf dream. That Napa Valley team went to the State Championship, Lynda made the All-League Team, and the Little Sista went on to play university golf.  

A sampler of other Coyne commentary from his Northern California swing:

Olympic Club’s Lake Course. 

“You know you’ve played a lot of courses when you’re at the home of five US Opens and the primary attraction in your golf-weary mind is a tube of ground beef,”  Coyne says by way of introduction to the halfway house beside the 10th green.  “Back in the 1950’s, Hot Dog Bill’s had decided they could save on buns if their burgers fit into hot dog rolls when they set up shop next to Olympic.  They were soon invited to move their food stand onto the Lake Course, where Brendan and I got the last burgerdogs of the day and discovered they were a savory blend of fat, spices, and fried onions.”  

Cypress Point: 

“ . . . a busy day at Cypress was forty golfers, and with a small membership of mostly nonlocals, the empty fairways and silent clubhouse were a reminder of our good fortune. . .  The holes were challenging but not I’ll-just-drop-one-here hard. . .  When it came to variety of holes and shots, Cypress had no peer, and the fact that it was all so damn beautiful – we went into the day knowing it could never match our expectations.  We were right because our expectations had not been grand enough.” 

Pasatiempo: 

“. . .  it wasn’t cheap at $295, but it felt reasonable for the chance to play MacKenzie’s greatest daily fee course and the one he considered his favorite design, . . .  Pasatiempo gave you your greens-fee’s worth on every shot, from barrancas to ravines to audaciously shaped bunkers by the former camouflage artist . . .  Mackenzie used every idiosyncrasy the land gave him and molded them into golf shots you’d never quite considered before.”

If you want more of Coyne’s insights and stories – including Tom Doak’s amazing reversible 18-fairway/36-hole The Loop at an earstwhile Detroit Mob resort in Upper Michigan, the game-changing influence of Mike Keiser’s Bandon Dunes Resort, a sociological history of America’s exclusive private country club model, to name a few – you can find A Course Called America on Amazon.


Also, coming soon to bookstore near you, check out Tom Doak's latest Must Have addition to your golf library...

In this book Tom Doak, one of the 21st Century golf’s premier golf architects, tells the story of the design and construction of his most famous course, Pacific Dunes, at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Resort.  Among other things, Doak is an architect, critic, author, MacKenzie expert, and a consulting architectfor the renovation of Sharp Park.  This new volume, with a mid-June publication date, contains Doak's journal entries, sketches of greens, and memos from his client, Mike Keiser, combined with stunning photography [before and after] to supplement his recollections of how the course was built, and what it's meant in the twenty years since it opened.  At a pre-publication order price of $40, The Making of Pacific Dunes is available from Doak’s Renaissance Golf Publishing.

 


Photo: California Assembly Tees Up “The Most Damaging Golf Legislation In A Generation.” UPDATE: AB 672 Dies in Committee (for now)

California Public Golfers... We have a problem.

California Assembly Tees Up “The Most Damaging Golf Legislation In A Generation.” UPDATE: AB 672 Dies in Committee (for now)

Apr 19, 2021by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Assembly Bill 672 Threatens California Golf – in particular Public Golf. A radical statewide zoning law change to grease the skids for high-density residential development on all municipal and virtually all urban golf courses – both public and private – is the goal of California Assembly Bill 672, authored by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D - Bell Gardens.  The bill is pending in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, chaired by San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu. [UPDATED 5/1/2021 BELOW*]

Among other provisions, AB 672 would impose top-down statewide zoning on municipal courses and all courses in "high density" or "park poor" areas, encouraging high-density residential development, requiring that one-quarter of that residential development be low-income, exempting the zoning change from the California Environmental Quality Act, and exempting development from California's Public Park Preservation Act.  

California Alliance for Golf, including the Northern and Southern California Golf Associations and leading trade groups, filed an Opposition, April 7, 2020, with the Assembly Housing Committee and has been joined by an Opposition filed by San Francisco Public Golf Alliance dated April 15, 2021

Southern California Golf Association, the state’s largest and most politically active, calls AB672 “the most damaging piece of golf legislation to be filed in a generation”

Of course attacks on golf are nothing new. Various governments, Puritans, and other scolds have been attacking golf for the entire recorded history of our ancient game. Nor is this the first time that the issue of closing West Coast urban golf courses in favor of housing development has been floated.  Seattle’s Mayor in Summer 2019 raised the issue, but it died in the face of that city’s “no net loss of parkland” law. 

In 1457 the Scottish Parliament banned golf because it distracted young men from archery practice and in 1592 Scottish golfers were prosecuted for playing golf on the Sabbath. In more recent times, golf has been unfairly and inaccurately targeted by those with an axe to grind as an elitist "rich man's game".

The truth is that Public Golf offers a healthy, outdoor activity that is patronized by a diverse community of retirees, students, men and women from all economic and social segments in our society. Correcting the false impressions of the game and defending our historic legacy courses in San Francisco is The Mission of our organization.

We need your help defeating this very bad bill. 

No hearing has yet been set in the Assembly Housing Committee for AB 672, which must also clear the Assembly Local Government Committee.  If it clears the State Assembly, AB 672 would next go for consideration to the State Senate, where San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener chairs the Housing Committee.

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance urgently requests golfers – individuals, groups, and clubs -- to send letters by mail to the Assembly Housing and Local Government committees. 

CLICK HERE to download a form letter that you can adapt, for either individual, group, or club use and please send a copy to San Francisco Public Golf Alliance by e-mail, at: Info@SFPublicGolf.org.

Letters can also be submitted electronically through the California Legislative Portal website - a bit more complicated, but if you need help with this, contact info@sfpublicgolf.org. 


*UPDATE 5/1/2021: California Assembly Bill 672 failed to clear the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee by the Legislature’s April 30 deadline for consideration in the 2021 legislative year.

Individual golfers and golf organizations flooded the Housing Committee with opposition letters, including objections from the Northern and Southern California Golf Associations, California Alliance for Golf, San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Counsel, Mabuhay Golf Club, Century Golf Club of San Francisco, First Tee chapters from Silicon Valley, the North Coast, and Contra Costa County, Youth on Course, and hundreds of individual objections. Thanks to all who responded to our request for opposition letters.

According to Garcia’s office, the Assemblywoman plans to resurrect AB 672 in the 2022 legislative session at the beginning of 2022.  California’s housing crisis is not likely to abate by then. Nor are the professional Scolds or the Fun Police who have hectored golfers since the sport first appeared in Fifteenth Century Scotland. So golfers, Semper Paratus!

 


Photo: Holiday Fundraising Appeal: Thanks, Giving, Muni Golf, and Sharp Park in Interesting Times

Holiday Fundraising Appeal: Thanks, Giving, Muni Golf, and Sharp Park in Interesting Times

Nov 22, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

First we give Thanks. For golf – a port in the storm of 2020 – inherently socially-distanced recreation in nature.  In a time when we can’t safely go to restaurants, bars, movies, church, or gather with family for a holiday feast, we can safely play golf. With our friends – at a distance, of course. And the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance thanks you – our members – for your financial and moral support and activism over our 10-year fight for public golf in San Francisco and to preserve Alister MacKenzie’s public golf shrine at Sharp Park.

Which brings us to Giving. Our main annual fundraiser, the Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park, was canceled this year due to the Coronavirus.  Because our fights for public golf and to preserve Sharp Park require money, we are announcing our first-ever year-end fundraising campaign. Our Board and a few generous supporters have agreed to match the first $20 thousand in donations.  Please step up again for the Cause, and Donate.

This is important work.  Sharp Park is at the very top of the national golf press lists* of munis most worth saving. The Pandemic is putting great strain on local government funding.  Because of its inherent social distancing, golf is a rare public resource for safe socializing and healthy outdoor recreation.  We are helping to fill the gap.

Sharp Park Hole Signs
Hole Naming Project

In 2019, the non-profit, 501.c.3, all volunteer, unpaid, San Francisco Public Golf Alliance instituted a hole-name and sign project at Sharp. We donated new attractive trash cans, and worked with Rec and Park maintenance on tree-trimming to open key historic vistas.


Cleared view from the practice green

Using a 1931 construction map, architects Tom Doak and Jay Blasi advised the Rec & Park maintenance crew in restoring the size and shape of MacKenzie’s original 10th and 18th greens.  

Doak on Sharp Park Greens
Tom Doak and Jay Blasi, reviewing original 1931 construction blueprint of 10th &18th greens to restore Opening Day contours 

For 2020 we have designed a historic photographic display for the Clubhouse entryway walls – to be installed next year when the Clubhouse reopens (stay tuned!). We also spearheaded a successful 6-week Fall campaign to limit ground squirrel damage at the 12th, 13th, 16th, and 17th holes. 


17th Tee and 16th green and fairway newly cleared of ground squirrels and their damage

We have retained a leading hydrology consultant to develop a drainage plan. 


Sea wall maintenance and beach access stairways and storyboard, work completed Fall, 2020

And our good friends at Hart-Howerton donated their world-class design services on the soon-to-open Sharp Park sea wall Coastal Trail improvement and beach access project.  

Storyboard on seawall coastal trail

There is much more of this work to do in 2021 and coming years.  And we invite your tax-deductible support by online Donation, or by check payable to SF Public Golf Alliance, addressed to:

Very Best Holiday Wishes.  
San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
1370 Masonic Ave.
San Francisco, CA. 94117


*The National Golf Press Continues to clamor for Sharp Park restoration:

 


Photo: Remembering Grant Spaeth, a Great Golf Soul, on All-Souls Day

Lto R: Arnold Palmer, Bob Hope, Grant Spaeth

Remembering Grant Spaeth, a Great Golf Soul, on All-Souls Day

Oct 29, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

November 2 - All Souls Day – is a fitting time to remember one of Golf’s Great Souls:  Grant Spaeth, a San Francisco Public Golf Alliance charter member and former USGA President, who died July 28, 2020 at his home in Los Altos.  He was 88 years old.

Grant was golf royalty, with a common touch.  The son of a Stanford law professor, Grant was a 1953 national championship golfer at Stanford, a Harvard-educated lawyer, founding partner of a major Silicon Valley law firm, Palo Alto Mayor, U.S. Under Secretary of Education in the 1970’s, General Counsel and President of the US Golf Association in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews and San Francisco Golf Club.  He was also a member at Palo Alto Muni and a mover in the 2018 rebuild of that course, now called Baylands.  In 2000, he was a key player in saving the Stanford Golf Course from a university housing development.  And he was member from the early days of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance and strong supporter of its battles to save Alister MacKenzie’s Sharp Park.  

During his years in the national leadership councils of the U.S. Golf Association, Grant  championed the formation of the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships – extending the reach of national championship golf beyond the proto-professionals of collegiate golf.  He was an expert on the Rules of Golf, and many stories are told of Grant encouraging men and women to become rules officials.  “I want more people exposed to the game of golf,” he said.  “Those who do it will be lucky and should be thankful.”


Grant had the great politician’s interest in individual lives, and an easy, natural manner of making personal connections.  The stories are legion of Grant taking an interest, giving advice, and encouraging people at all stages and levels of life. 


Grant Spaeth shares a story about Tiger Woods at the 1995 World Cup
 

His was a life well and fully lived.   He made the world a better place and golf a better game.
 

PRESS

Golf Digest, July 29, 2020 - "Grant Spaeth, former USGA president and visionary, dies":

"Spaeth, who played for Stanford’s national championship team in 1953, served the USGA in several capacities before his elevation to its presidency in 1990-’91. He had a role in creating the U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, recognizing that those 25 and older represented the heart of amateur golf. Spaeth’s biography was blue blood through and through, yet he often was said to have had a common touch and “humanized the USGA,” his friend and long-time starter at the U.S. Open, Ron Read, noted in a Tweet."

USGA, July 29, 2020 - "Remembering C. Grant Spaeth: USGA President in 1990-91":

"During his USGA presidency, Spaeth confronted the issue of segregation at golf clubs stemming from Shoal Creek hosting the 1990 PGA Championship. This led to a significant policy change barring USGA championships from clubs with exclusionary practices. Just prior to Spaeth’s election as president, the USGA settled a lawsuit with Ping over the size and shape of golf-club grooves."

SF Chronicle, July 29, 2020 -  "Grant Spaeth, former USGA president and NCAA champ at Stanford, dies at 88":

“We lost a titan of the game,” Stanford coach Conrad Ray posted on Twitter. Spaeth sought to expand the game during his time with the USGA, which culminated in two years (1990-91) as the organization’s president. He helped create the U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, annual national championships for amateur players age 25 and older."

Golf Club Atlas interview with Brian Murphy -  May 2008: 

GC ATLAS: Do you think the USGA should be more involved in renovation of municipal or public golf courses?

SPAETH: "Certainly its [USGA] focus on public courses for many of its Championships gives it the occasion to work with owners and superintendents to improve playing conditions. I am told that after the USGA leave the the quality of play is ineviaby improved. Although it is not in the remodel business, through its green section consultations, it can be enormously helpful."


Grant Spaeth at Lincoln Park, 2005, with San Francisco Boys Junior Golf Champion Spencer Fletcher (R) and runner-up Travis Peterson.

 


Photo: HAPPY 150th Birthday Dr. Alister MacKenzie -  Born Aug. 30, 1870

HAPPY 150th Birthday Dr. Alister MacKenzie -  Born Aug. 30, 1870

Aug 30, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Alister MacKenzie was born to Scottish parents on August 30, 1870 in Normanton, Yorkshire, east of Manchester in Northern England.  His world-famous courses, biography and standing in the World Golf’s Hall of Fame are well-known.  Especially so in the Bay Area and Northern California, where he spent an ultra-productive final eight years of his illustrious career, designing and renovating outstanding courses including Cypress Point, Pasatiempo, Meadow Club, Green Hills, Claremont, Cal Club, Northwoods, and the public Haggin Oaks and his only seaside public links Sharp Park.  While living in Northern California, MacKenzie traveled the world, designing courses in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay, Ireland, England, Scotland, and university courses at Michigan and Ohio State in the American Midwest.  His final course, designed in 1932-1933 with Bobby Jones, was Augusta National, home of the Masters Tournament.  His Royal Melbourne is regarded as the world’s greatest course in the Southern Hemisphere.  

In addition to his brilliant artistry, MacKenzie is a seminal figure in golf history because his architecture connects modern golfers with the Scottish roots of their game and with the builders of the sport’s greatest playing fields.  MacKenzie’s architectural tutor was H.S. Colt, the leading English architect of the early 20th Century, with whom MacKenzie in 1913 built the Eden Course at St. Andrews.  In 1914, MacKenzie won an architecture contest to design a hole for the new Lido Course on Long Island, then being built by Charles Blair Macdonald, the acknowledged father of Golf in America.  In 1924, while serving as consulting architect at St. Andrews, MacKenzie surveyed and mapped the Old Course – generally regarded at the birthplace of golf.  MacKenzie regarded the Old Course at St Andrews as the essential golf course, and from his intimate knowledge of St. Andrews MacKenzie developed 13 General Principles of design which he proclaimed in two books:  Golf Architecture (1920), and The Spirit of St. Andrews (1933, but published posthumously in 1995).

Several of MacKenzie’s General Principles are much in evidence at Sharp Park, including: “The course should have beautiful surroundings, and all the artificial features should have so natural an appearance that a stranger is unable to distinguish them from nature itself.”  When in 1930 he announced his contract to build Sharp Park for San Francisco, MacKenzie promised a course “as sporty as the old course at St. Andrews and as picturesque a golf course as any in the world.”  

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance’s Honorary Chairman Ken Venturi called Sharp Park “Dr. MacKenzie’s great gift to the American public golfer.” 

Happy Birthday, Dr. MacKenzie! 

And thanks for your great gifts to golf.


Resources:

The Alister MacKenzie Institute, a project of Josh Pettit, a Marin County golf architect and MacKenziephile, has published a new book marking the Good Doctor's 150th birthday, "The MacKenzie Reader: Writings on Golf Architecture and More by Dr. Alister MacKenzie."  The 5.5"x8.5" book is available online. Pettit describes his book as  "A compendium of Dr. MacKenzie's lost writings accompanied by photographs and routing maps [including] 29 articles and essays written by MacKenzie, originally published in disparate publications between 1915 and 1935, as well as ten foldout page routing diagrams, and eleven additional essays by noted MacKenzie experts from around the world."

Alister MacKenzie Society: The Dr. Alister MacKenzie Chronology (2018)

Tom Doak: The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie (2001)

Geoff Shackelford: The Golden Age of Golf Architecture and Alister MacKenzie’s Cypress Point Club

Loon Hill Studio: Dr. Alister MacKenzie in 65 Photos (e-book)

Golf Club Atlas: MacKenzie’s Sharp Park Under Siege (2009)

Richard Harris: Sharp Park Golf Course - A Jewel in Pacifica (2018)

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance: Alister MacKenzie's Legacy of Public Golf at Sharp Park

 


Photo: Ken Venturi - San Francisco Favorite Son, Hall of Fame Champion and Defender of The City’s Public Links

Venturi winning the 1964 U.S. Open

Ken Venturi - San Francisco Favorite Son, Hall of Fame Champion and Defender of The City’s Public Links

Aug 16, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Ken Venturi (1931-2013) left his heart on San Francisco’s public golf courses, where he grew up and learned to play at Harding Park, attended nearby Lincoln High, and won City prep golf championships in 1948 and 1949 before college at San Jose State.  He won the San Francisco City Championship at Harding in 1950 (he was 19), then again in 1953 and 1956 (separated by a couple of years in Korea and Germany with the US Army). He could win tournaments at other golf courses, too – the 1951 and 1956 California State Amateurs at Pebble Beach, and the United States Open in 1964 at Congressional Country Club in suburban Washington D.C.  He won 14 PGA professional tournaments, the last one coming in 1966 in the old Lucky International -- at Harding Park.  In 2013 he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

After carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists ended his tournament playing career, Venturi in 1968 began a 35-year career as CBS TV golf broadcaster, ending in 2002.  He returned to Harding Park and the San Francisco public golf scene in October 2009 as the President’s Cup was being played at Harding.  As Honorary Chairman of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, he circulated a stirring public letter praising Harding, but warning that “The glorious restoration of Harding must not be at the expense of Sharp or Lincoln,” and exhorting San Francisco and its golfers to defend the City’s golf heritage and its public courses. “Defend them with your time, your money and your passion,” he urged. “Without the public courses, golf becomes inaccessible.  The game shrivels and dies.”

That’s the quick summary.  Now for the stories:    

Ken’s parents Fred and Ethyl ran the Harding pro shop for years. His most famous San Francisco City Championship win came in 1956 when he beat 1955-1956 U.S. Amateur Golf Champion Harvey Ward in the finals in front of a gallery of 10,000. Ward and Venturi were good friends, and both were salesmen for San Francisco car dealer Eddie Lowery.  

Venturi wins 1956 City Championship
Venturi (R), being congratulated by Ward (L), 1956, photo courtesy of Bo Links

And there’s a further story in that:

Lowery came to San Francisco from Boston, where he had been the 10-year-old caddy in the 1913 US Open for Francis Ouimet, who famously beat British champions Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, to become the first American to win the US Open championship. A story memorialized in the book by Mark Frost and the movie starring Shia LaBeouf.

Eddie Lowery again figured prominently in Venturi's story when the San Francisco car dealer "told his friend and fellow millionaire, George Coleman, that the two young amateurs, his employees, could beat anybody." The two of them partnered in a legendary private best-ball match in January 1956 at Cypress Point against Ben Hogan and Hogan’s Texas childhood golf adversary Byron Nelson, immortalized by author Mark Frost in “The Match:  The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever”

A month later in April, 1956, Venturi played as an amateur in the Masters Tournament at Augusta, led the professionals after each of the first three rounds, then shot 38-42=80 to lose a 4-shot lead and finish second in the tournament to Jackie Burke.   

But Venturi flipped the script of his Masters collapse at the 1964 U.S. Open, at Congressional Country Club.  Trailing after the third round, and suffering heat exhaustion, Venturi continued to play accompanied by a medical doctor (the third and fourth rounds were played in those days in a single 36-hole day).  He shot the tournament’s low rounds in both of the final rounds, and won the 1964 Open by four strokes, exclaiming when his final putt dropped on the 72nd green: “My God, I’ve won the Open”.  

Venturi’s distinguished 35-year golf broadcast career as CBS TV ended in 2002.  Those watching the 2020 PGA Championship on CBS TV this year heard much about Venturi’s talent and grit, and how golf helped him overcome a stammering speech defect, from his longtime CBS broadcast partner Jim Nantz. 

Which brings us to the Epilogue:

In the twilight of his life, Venturi brought his grit and determination to the fight for public golf. As Honorary Chairman of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance he penned an October 2009 letter urging golfers to defend San Francisco public golf and golf courses. For Venturi, golf had been his identity, his salvation, and his cause. Through golf, he had overcome personal handicap, and in competition he had overcome not only his competitors but also his own failings.  So he wanted to preserve for the common people of San Francisco (of which he was one) both the game and the beautiful shrines where the game is played.  And he was dismayed at the disrepair and political jeopardy of both Lincoln and Sharp Park.        

Just a few months before he died on May 17, 2013 Ken Venturi dropped-by unannounced on a Thursday afternoon at Sharp Park, and shared some cheer and a few stories with a group of regulars in from their round. It was his final visit to the golf shrine that he called “Dr. MacKenzie’s great gift to the American public golfer.”

Venturi and friends of SF Public Golf
Photo (L to R):  Louis Kwok, Wing Lai, Ken Venturi, Donald Chinn, Frank Low, Richard Harris

“Sharp is an unpretentious place, where golfers enjoy a scenic walk in the salt air, then a sandwich and a beer in an old-fashioned pub.  In these ways, Sharp connects golfers to the Scottish public course roots of the game.”  - Ken Venturi

 


Photo: A Reader’s Companion to the PGA Championship at San Francisco Munis

A Reader’s Companion to the PGA Championship at San Francisco Munis

Aug 5, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Watching a major played at San Francisco's municipal jewel is exciting for the entire Bay Area and in particular our local public golfers. It's a disappointment that we can't be in the gallery for this historic event, but that makes the national press attention on our local track and golfing history even more compelling. For your reading (and viewing) enjoyment, a  compendium of links and articles to the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.



 

Jaime Diaz of The Golf Channel kicks us off with a nostalgic look back at what it was like to grow up a NorCal kid during the heyday of amateur golf and muni courses in The City.



Tiger on 18th tee at 2005 Amex Championship (Photo Credit: Lance Iversen / SFC)

“Return to Glory” by golf historian and San Francisco Public Golf Alliance co-founder Bo Links on the 2004 renovation of Harding Park and an exciting blow-by-blow account of the unforgettable 2005 American Express Championship at Harding Park:

"Woods hit first and he crushed another perfect drive. He was out there another 346 yards, almost on top of where he’d hit it in regulation. Daly took no time to answer Tiger’s blast. He put his peg in the ground and hauled off with his driver. He hit an even better shot, if that were even possible. It measured out at 357 yards and this one, unlike his poke in regulation, found the fairway. It would now be battling wedges for all the cash."


Local golfer Jason Scott Deegan writing in The Golf Advisor offers his reviews of the top 10 affordable public courses in the bay area in  "A local's guide to the top golf courses in advance of the 2020 PGA Championship." ranking San Francisco munis Sharp Park at number 10 and TPC Harding Park at number 1:

"I want to play with my buds on a decent course that doesn't dent the wallet. That's hard to do in the San Francisco Bay Area... The last six years I've explored the region for the best combination of affordability against the quality of the course. With the 2020 PGA Championship coming to the TPC Harding Park, I'm diving deep into the Bay Area golf scene to identify its best public courses."


Victorious 2009 US Presidents Cup Team
2009 USA Presidents Cup Team with honorary captain Michael Jordan (Photo Credit: AP)

“More than a Game” Another Bo Links offering, on the playing of the 2009 Presidents Cup tournament at Harding Park featuring the extraordinary pairing of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods to lead the U.S. team to victory.

"Fred Couples and Greg Norman, flanked by Jay Haas and Frank Nobilo, led the two teams. One could not have asked for an ounce more style and dignity. The captains displayed for the world what golf is all about... Harding Park, too, came out a winner. Once again, the little muni that could proved itself a fabulous test of golf, even if the holes were scrambled like eggs to accommodate the unpredictability of match play. Perhaps that's the best evidence of all that Harding Park is one of the greatest courses anywhere, public or private. The demonstrable fact is, you can play it backwards and the course still produces incredibly exciting golf. Harding Park has an inherent capacity to demand and reward great shotmaking. It is a layout that enables great players to separate themselves from the crowd."



Crowding a Harding Park green at the 1953 SF City Championship won by Ken Venturi

One cannot review the storied history of San Francisco golf at Harding Park without talking about The City tournament. Sean Martin does a deep dive at PGATour.com with "TPC Harding Park has deep roots with San Francisco City Championship":

"San Francisco’s municipal gem is home to an important championship on an annual basis, and while the San Francisco City Championship isn’t considered one of golf’s Grand Slam events, it is one of the game’s most unique.The tournament affectionally referred to by locals as simply “The City” has been held every year since 1916. Its endurance through the World Wars allows it to claim the title of golf’s oldest consecutively-played championship. Its former competitors range from World Golf Hall of Famers to taxi drivers, NFL quarterbacks to airport baggage handlers. The doctors and lawyers who are members at the Bay Area’s prestigious clubs play alongside bartenders. It’s not unusual to see a player turn to alcohol to steady his nerves or to witness a former U.S. Golf Association president carry his own clubs through a downpour."



Harding Park Awaits (Photo Credit: Brad Knipstein Golf)

Also don't miss the PGA Championship saga of Big John Daly, and Big Willie Goggin related by Ron Kroichick at the San Francisco Chronicle and on our own post last week. 

Pandemic or not, galleries or not, we can't wait to enjoy the latest chapter in the storied history of San Francisco Municipal Golf watching the PGA Championship at Harding Park August 6-9

 


Photo: The PGA Championship and San Francisco’s Munis - Then and Now

The PGA Championship and San Francisco’s Munis - Then and Now

Jul 26, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

It was Sunday, August 13, 1933 in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and 5,000 spectators gathered at the Blue Mound Country Club to gallery the 36-hole final match of the Professional Golfers’ Association Championship. The finalists were the 10-year PGA veteran Gene Sarazen and a newcomer, Willie Goggin.

Then, as now, golf’s show was going on amid deep national troubles. In August 2020, the Coronavirus Pandemic will keep live spectators out of the 2020 PGA Championship.  In August 1933, the PGA Championship was played in the fourth year of the Great Depression.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in his eighth month as President, and the New York Times headlines included high unemployment, trade wars, fascism on the rise in Germany, and a Cuban crisis.

Blue Mound Golf and Country Club
Blue Mound Clubhouse circa 1930's

Blue Mound then was a “short but tricky” 6,270-yard, par-70 course built on Wisconsin farmland in 1926 by Seth Raynor. The tees and greens that week were well-kept. The unwatered fairways were brown, hard, and rolling.

Sarazen, 31 years old, 5’6” tall, and “oozing all over with typical Sarazen confidence,” was the well-established favorite: winner of the PGA Championship in 1922 and 1923, the US Open in 1922 and both the US Open and the British Open in 1932.

Willie GogginGoggin, at 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, was identified in week's New York Times account as a “brawny shotmaker from Salada Beach, Cal.,” and “on leave of absence from a municipal course ten miles from San Francisco.”  In fact, the 27-year-old Goggin was in his second year as golf pro at Sharp Park, the Alister MacKenzie-designed, San Francisco-owned seaside public links that opened in April 1932 on the city’s southern coastal outskirts. (At the time, it was an unincorporated area known as Salada Beach; today it is the suburban town of Pacifica.)

Sharp's Park Golf Club circa 1930
Sharp Park Clubhouse circa 1930's

The PGA Championship in those days was an endurance contest: 36 holes of medal qualifying on Tuesday cut the field to 32 players, who then played 36-hole single-elimination matches each day Wednesday through Saturday to reach Sunday’s 36-hole final match. Goggin shot 5-over-par 145 in the qualifying round (146 qualified), and then was: (Rd. 1) 5 under par over 33 holes to beat 1928 and 1929 PGA Champ Leo Diegel 4-and-3; (Rd. 2) 5 under par for 27 holes to beat 1929 US Open runner-up Al Espinoza 9-and-7; (Rd. 3) even par for 31 holes for a 6-5 win over Paul Runyan, who later won the PGA Championship in 1934 and 1938; (Rd. 4) even par for 36 holes for a 1-up semi-finals victory over fellow-newcomer Jimmy Hines, an assistant at Long Island’s Timber Point Club. Throughout the week’s matches as reported by the New York Times - Goggin “has been flirting with rough and traps all week only to break par into shreds with spectacular recoveries.” Gene Sarazen cruised through the week, qualifying at even-par 140, and winning his matches by comfortable margins.

Telegraph Announcing Wille Goggin advancing in the 1933 PGA

In Sunday’s final round, Sarazen – as he had all week – used only seven clubs, his favorite being his low-lofted iron “jigger”. He shot one-under-par 69 in the morning round to take a 1-up lead over Goggin, who hung-in with 70. In the afternoon round, Sarazen birdied three of the opening four holes, held a 3-up lead after 9, and closed-out the match on the 32nd hole, for a 5-4 championship win and a $1,000 winner’s check. Over Sunday’s 32 holes, Sarazen had 51 putts. By the end of the day Sunday, Willie Goggin, the “clouter” from Salada Beach, had played 195 holes of championship golf over six days in three under par. The San Mateo Times coverage of the final match reflected the regional pride in their local hero: 

"The astonishing quest of Wille Goggin, moustachioed Sharp's Park professional, for the National P.G.A. golf chanpionship ended yeterday in the finals before the blazing sub-par golf of Gene Sarazen, who won the title for the third time in his career, beating Goggin 5 and 4... Goggin's was the most remarkable performance by a Northern California professional in recent years. An almost unbelieving Peninsula golfing world heard of his brilliant victories last week, and waited breathlessly for yesterday's results... Though beaten, Goggin's performance was one which marked him as one of the greatest competitive professional golfers in the country."

Willie Goggin stayed in golf, moved to the East coast, and in the 1940's and 1950’s held prestigious New York suburban club pro jobs at the Century Country Club in Westchester County, designed by Charles H. Allison (a one-time partner of MacKenzie and his mentor, HS Colt), and at Upper Montclair Country Club in New Jersey, designed by A.W. Tillinghast.  In 1959 Goggin won the PGA Senior Championship at the age of 53 at Dunedin, a Donald Ross-designed course near Tampa, FL. Turns out the big guy was not only a big hitter, but a connoisseur of Hall of Fame golf architects.

For his part, Sarazen two years later won the 1935 Masters Tournament at Alister MacKenzie’s Augusta National Golf Club, on his way to Golf’s Hall of Fame. Sarazen, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tiger Woods are the only men to win all of Golf’s Major Championships.

And then there’s Blue Mound Country Club and golf in troubled times. The club went bankrupt in 1935 but was bought out of receivership and reincarnated as Blue Mound Golf and Country Club. Blue Mound was originally scheduled to host the PGA’s Junior Ryder Cup Tournament in September 2020. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, that event has been rescheduled for 2021.

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
Info@SFPublicGolf.org

 


Photo: Golf In The Time Of Coronavirus:  Golfers flock to SF public links

Golf In The Time Of Coronavirus:  Golfers flock to SF public links

Jul 21, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Golfers returned in force to San Francisco’s public golf links in May and June, following the COVID-19 golf lockouts in March and April. Golf data gathered from course operators and the San Francisco Rec & Park Department show that total 2020 May-June rounds were up over 2019 by 114% at Sharp Park, 30% at Lincoln Park, and 60% at Gleneagles – despite the fact that golf in May was limited to 2-somes, and despite severe golf cart shortages at both Sharp and Lincoln.

Course May June 2 Month Total
Sharp Park 2019 1,586 2,449 4,035
Sharp Park 2020 3,537 5,079 8,8616
Sharp Park % Increase 123% 103%

114%

Lincoln Park 2019 2,157 2,847 5,004
Lincoln Park 2020 2,388 4,020 6,403
Lincoln Park % Increase 11% 41%

30%

Gleneagles 2019 713 816 1,529
Gleneagles 2020 1,150 1,286 2,436
Gleneagles % Increase 61% 58%

59%

 

These increases offset reduced play at Harding, Fleming, and the Golden Gate Park 9, due to various factors. (Preparation of the Harding and Fleming courses for the PGA Championship, originally scheduled for May and then rescheduled for the first week of August, resulted in Fleming being closed since February, and a 30% reduction in play at Harding in May. Rounds returned to same-as 2019 levels at Harding in June; but as of mid-July, Harding will be closed through the PGA Championship in first week of August, for more tournament preparation.)

 
Lincoln Park course manager Lance Wong in his 'dress mask' - "No Mask No Service"

Commenting on the increased play, course manager Lance Wong at Lincoln pointed to the combined effects of a dry winter and new Covid-19 work-from-home employment options.

“Because of the dry winter, our fairways have been playable all Spring. And since the courses reopened in May, we’re seeing strong play from early morning through the evening hours, from a lot of new players,” Lance says. “They can get out for a walk with their friends, keep a safe social distance, and enjoy the game. The restaurants and the theaters and bars are closed, and there’s no sports to speak of on TV, so a lot of people are finding the golf courses are a great option.”


Wong wisely combined bar and starter window 

Putting the San Francisco figures in context, the play figures from Crystal Springs in Burlingame and Metropolitan in Oakland show strongly increased play at both courses: At Crystal Springs, golf rounds for combined May and June were up 29% over 2019, while at Metropolitan the increase was 45% for the same period. Combined play for May-June at Presidio was about the same as in 2019. Data from Sagacity, a Phoenix golf data service, shows that combined play at 24 Bay Area public courses for the months of May and June, 2020 – following reopening from the COVID-19 lockdown – was up 14% in May and 17% in June over the 2017-2019 averages for these months.


Busy Presidio driving range - masks required getting to / from open spots - optional while hitting

These are not apples-to-apples comparisons, as the COVID-19 restrictions on golf may vary from county-to-county, on issues such as use of golf carts, and size of groups. (In San Francisco, play was limited on all courses in May to twosomes and 10-minute intervals except for the 3-par Golden Gate Park 9, where the tee interval is 15 minutes.)


Lincoln Park 4th Hole - It's easy to safely maintain social distancing on a golf course

But the bottom-line is this. Because of its inherent social distancing and the controlled access to a single starting point (the first tee), the public golf courses have proven to be a popular and safe recreational option. And the golfers – old and new – are responding by turning-out for their "good walk spoiled".

 


Photo: Small Businesses That Support Public Golf And Gleneagles’ “Go Fund Me” Campaign. [UPDATED]

Small Businesses That Support Public Golf And Gleneagles’ “Go Fund Me” Campaign. [UPDATED]

Apr 21, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

“The Speakeasy of Golf Courses”

Quirky, beautiful, difficult, hard-to-find, with “the City’s fastest muni greens,”and one of the country’s great golf bars, the legendary Gleneagles 9-hole golf course in McLaren Park, near the Cow Palace, is in trouble and needs help.

This Spring, the 1-2 punch of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with high City water bills and maintenance costs that did not go away when the City ordered golfers to keep away, has the City’s lessee Tom Hsieh with his back against the wall. So he is conducting a fundraising campaign on “Go Fund Me”, where Tom explains his plight in a heartfelt letter – which we urge you to read in full [*UPDATE: Go Fund Me Campaign is closed. See update at bottom of post] . An excerpt:

"It appears that without financial assistance, I will not be able to continue operating Gleneagles nor will I be able to maintain it, even minimally in the coming weeks or months. So if you have a soft spot for public golf like no other,  and hope to one day play another round at a community based golf course,  please help. I know there are many more urgent causes out there and I urge you to support them first.  If you have any more capacity then please point it towards Gleneagles.

The funds will be used to keep a small crew working on the grounds, watering the property properly through May and helping us meet other fixed financial obligations.  I cannot guarantee that even with your support we will make it to the end but it will give us a fighting chance.Your support will mean a great deal to me and the hundreds, if not thousands of people who think a place like Gleneagles is worth preserving."

Count the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, with our Mission to "Nurture and defend affordable, eco-friendly public golf in San Francisco for future generations", among those who strongly believe that Gleneagles is worth preserving and committed to ensuring it survives. 

Located in McLaren Park in the San Francisco’s southeastern corner near the Cow Palace, Gleneagles has a colorful history that includes early-1960’s Mayor George Christopher, Lee Trevino, course architect Jack Fleming (who was a construction assistant to Alister MacKenzie at Sharp Park, Cypress Point, and Pasatiempo), Tom Hsieh himself, and Eric DeLambert, a hotel maitre d’ who in the 1980’s saved the course – then called McLaren Park – from closure. These stories are told in the following collection of articles from... 

Golf Magazine - "Coronavirus closure leaves this gritty, beloved golf course’s future in doubt":

"With that sudden act of irrationality, Hsieh embraced a life of unpredictability, of lean balance sheets and Byzantine leases, of withering droughts and economic downturns, of rising water bills and dwindling revenues—a business that rarely makes financial sense but which, after 16 years, Hsieh, who is 54, can’t think of anything he’d want to trade it for. “I’ve always tried follow my heart in what I do,” he says. “And my heart is in this place, 100 percent.”

New York Times - "This Gleneagles is a Scruffy Cousin":

“I care a lot about making sure this golf course is here for another generation of golfers,” Hsieh said.“By hook or by crook, we’re going to bootstrap this golf course forward. It’s always been that way.”

The Fried Egg - "Gleneagles Needs Your Help"

"Known for its difficulty, a group of sneaky-good regulars, and a low-key, blue-collar vibe, Gleneagles is decidedly old-school San Francisco. The clubhouse is a step back in time, with dusty old décor, warm lighting, and the type of soft jazz coming through the speakers that only veteran SF cabbies seem to love. You won’t be able to find the latest TaylorMades in the pro shop—because there is no pro shop. But you can help yourself to most any Highland single malt at the bar, which overlooks the course and the San Francisco Bay and is a contender for the best hangout spot in all of golf."

SFPGA - "Visitacion Valley Community to Benefit from New Job-Training Academy at Gleneagles"

"San Francisco's public, nine hole Gleneagles Golf Course is the new site of an innovative Laborers Union pre-apprentice job-training academy, which will provide entry-level job-training for at-risk San Francisco youth, while at the same time providing some TLC and improved playing conditions for the golf course."

Gleneagles 1st Hole

Gleneagles 9th Green  - Photo Credit; Brad Knipstein Golf

For more information about the course, see the Gleneagles website where you'll find former Managing San Francisco Chronicle Editor Steve Proctor wax eloquently on the course history:

"The rugged little course continued to hold a special place in the hearts of golfing cognoscenti... Author Anthony Pioppi included a chapter on Gleneagles in his book, “To the Nines,” placing it in a pantheon of 9-hole gems alongside Donald Ross’ Rolling Rock Club, Alister MaKenzie’s Northwood and The Dunes Club in Michigan, which Mike Keiser built before taking on the project that would become his legacy, the Bandon Dunes resort in Oregon. Fittingly, Pioppi headlined his chapter, “Wanted: True Golfers.”


The coronavirus lockdown disproportionately impacts small business entrepreneurs like Tom Hsieh at GleneaglesJason Yip at State Apparel and Brad Knipstein at Knipstein Photography that are an important part of our Bay Area public golf community. They've been there for us in the struggle to save and restore Sharp Park. Now is the time for the golfing community to support them.  

Jason Yip provides us retail space and on-line fulfillment of #SaveSharpPark swag at his San Francisco State Apparel store at no profit to himself. Check out his unique, functional, stylish golf apparel to support him during this retail apocalypse.


Sharp Park 16th

Sharp Park  17th Green  - Photo Credit; Brad Knipstein Golf

Brad Knipstein is a an extraordinary photographer and graphic designer. If you follow the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance you've enjoyed his work on this web page and in our book Alister MacKenzies's Legacy of Public Golf at Sharp Park. He collaborated on the beautiful illustration of the original Sharp Park routingmanages our popular Instagram account and provides his work gratis to the SFPGA. Sometimes we give him credit, sometimes we forget. During the lockdown, things have slowed down. 

If you are among the fortunate few who are not financially impacted by COVID-19, please consider contributing to Tom’s fundraising campaign on “Go Fund Me”, do some on-line shopping at State Apparel and if you need some quality photographic work - golf related or not - give Brad a call. Thank you!


*UPDATE May 15, 2020

San Francisco public golfers stepped up and, thanks to their support, Gleneagles made it through the lockdown. Over $35,000 was raised, and a grateful Tom Hseih posted this note after closing the succesful Go Fund Me effort:

"We are closing the Go Fund Me Page. We want to all express our deep appreciation for the over 300 donors who gave generously in our time of need, especially when there were so many others in more need. The community response to Gleneagles has been amazing and we are booking tee times (twosomes only for now) and the golf course is beginning to feel like a golf course again.

Please listen to this broadcast on May 12th on the BUTCHER SHOP radio show 95.7 THE GAME.

Stay healthy and if you would like to book a tee time, please let us know at gleneaglesinsf@gmail.com

Thank you!

Tom Hsieh and the Gleneagles Team

 


Photo: CANCELLED - 9th Annual Alister MacKenzie Heritage Tournament to Preserve Sharp Park

CANCELLED - 9th Annual Alister MacKenzie Heritage Tournament to Preserve Sharp Park

Mar 23, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance is postponing the 9th annual Alister MacKenzie Heritage Tournament to Preserve Sharp Park. This benefit tournament is our primary event to raise awareness and fund our mission to nurture and defend eco-friendly public golf in San Francisco and, in particular, our historic municipal gem - Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department issued an alert closing all the city municipal golf courses when Mayor London Breed directed residents to Shelter in Place from March 17 through April 7. 

The LPGA Mediheal Tournament at Lake Merced scheduled in April has also been postponed as has the PGA Championship at Harding Park scheduled for May. 

Traditionally we've held the "Save Sharp Park" event at the end of May or beginning of June. With an abundance of caution during the COVID-19 "Shelter in Place Order", we are postponing and tentatively planning to reschedule the event later this summer, hopefully around the 150th Anniversary of Alister MacKenzie's birth on August 30, 1870. 

Obviously, this is subject to change pending how events unfold.

 Some other relevant links that may be of interest to Bay Area golfers during this difficult time:

SF Rec & Park 3/21 - "COVID-19 Update- Getting Outside in our Parks":

"Healthy people under age 60 can continue to spend time outdoors while complying with the social distancing recommendations of staying at least 6 feet apart from one another. It is OK to go outside to walk your dog, go for a walk, run, ride a bike, and hike alone or with someone in your household. If you'd like to take your children outside, please take them to trails and open parks, not to playgrounds, to help maintain social distance."

Golfworld - "Can you play golf amid coronavirus concerns? With proper precautions, yes":

"According to Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, golf as it’s normally played—outdoors, with natural social-distancing built in—“would be fairly safe.” Let’s take you through some of the guidelines that golfers should remember, and take comfort in, as they think about the game as a possible escape from the current headlines."

USGA  - "COVID-19 Rules and Handicapping FAQs":

"The guidance below supplements a memo released by the USGA as to how the Rules of Golf and Rules of Handicapping apply in response to questions received from golf course owners, administrators, tournament organizers and golfers... As was noted in that memo, it is not the intended purpose of the below guidance to either encourage or discourage anyone from playing the game, but rather, in our governance role, to help golf course operators, committees and golfers better understand how the Rules of Golf and Rules of Handicapping apply to the various questions we have received."

Marin Independent Journal - "San Rafael golfers booted from course in virus crackdown":

"About 100 golfers at Peacock Gap Golf Course in San Rafael were told by police to pack up their clubs and go home on Thursday. The golf course was shut down for violating the “shelter in place” order that was issued throughout the region to control the spread of the coronavirus, San Rafael police Lt. Dan Fink said. The order mandates that non-essential businesses close until April 7, but the golf course had been operating all week — giving people a place to escape seclusion and enjoy the outdoors."

Some private courses are open for member play with appropriate safety procedures and precautions. This offers hope that public golf in San Francisco will also resume with appropriate safety considerations as the pandemic abates. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance encourages everyone to be safe and follow all local, state, and federal guidelines.

If you wish to support our efforts between now and the next tournament, donations are alway appreciated.

Also consider supporting our small business friends and patrons like State Apparel. Their store is closed during the shut down, but their fine products and  #SaveSharpPark swag is available on-line

 


Photo: Lake Merced Hosts LPGA Mediheal Championship - POSTPONED

Lake Merced Hosts LPGA Mediheal Championship - POSTPONED

Feb 26, 2020by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

UPDATE: This event has been postponed indefinitely as have all LPGA and PGA tour events during the COVID-19 pandemic. The LPGA Statement LINKED HERE. 

Lake Merced Golf Club, located just south of San Francisco in Daly City, will again host the 2020 LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship. The official LPGA Tour stop, now in its third year, will feature 144 of the world’s best female golfers competing for a $1.8 million purse at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, CA. The event will open to the public on Wednesday, April 29 for the Pro-Am and during the official tournament rounds played from Thursday, April 30 to Sunday, May 3.

2019 LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship from LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship on Vimeo.

The LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship gives sports fans the unique opportunity to experience the best female golfers in the world, at a world-class facility, Lake Merced Golf Club,” said Patrick Healy, Tournament Director of the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship. “Providing an affordable event experience for families and the entire community is important to the event. We are excited to welcome spectators, volunteers and event partners to what is sure to be another exciting year.”

The tournament offers an impeccable family-friendly experience for golf enthusiasts and spectators alike, with complimentary weeklong admission for kids 17 & under with a ticketed adult. Additionally, members of the military, veterans, and family will receive complimentary admission at the tournament box office with a valid military ID.

  • Daily and weekly tickets can be purchased at the LINK HERE
  • Volunteer opportunities are LINKED HERE

In 2019, Sei Young Kim, edged out the recently crowned LPGA Rookie of the Year, Jeongeun Lee and UCLA Alum Bronte Law in a dramatic playoff to earn her eighth career victory at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship. The recently crowned champion of the CME Group Tour Championship, who hit the putt of her life, a 25-foot birdie on the final hole of the CME Group Tour Championship to win $1.5 million, will start the 2020 season with 10 LPGA Tour victories, and will look to defend her title at Lake Merced Golf Club in April.

Founded in 1922 and redesigned by the legendary Alister MacKenzie,  Lake Merced has a storied history and long tradition of national tournament golf – notably including top women’s and junior championships going back to 1941, when Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the San Francisco Women’s Open Match Play Championship. In 2012, Lake Merced hosted the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, won by current World #3-ranked professional Minjee Lee of Australia.

The greatest golfers in the world playing at an historic course in our Bay Area back yard - you'll want to be there!

Tournament sponsor MEDIHEAL is a cosmetic facemask brand of the Seoul, South Korea-based L&P Cosmetic Co., Ltd.  

 


Photo: Mickey Wright R.I.P.

Mickey Wright R.I.P.

Feb 20, 2020

Mickey Wright, one of the dozen greatest golfers of all time – and the greatest women player – died February 17 in Florida.  She was 85 years old. From the New York Times obituary:

"She was named the Woman Athlete of the Year by The Associated Press in 1963, when she won 13 L.P.G.A. tournaments, still a record for a single season, and in 1964, when she won 11 times. Wright, in 1961 and ’62, and Tiger Woods, in 2000 and ’01, are the only golfers to have captured four consecutive majors."

Mickey was the dominant player on the LPGA Tour in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and won 82 LPGA tournaments and 13 major championships, including four U.S. Women’s Opens in the 7 year period 1958-1964.  She was the daughter of a San Diego lawyer and attended Stanford for a single year before turning professional in 1954. 

In 2017 she gave a great interview to Golf Digest Magazine, discussing the influences of her father, her teachers and how she built her famous swing (which Ben Hogan described as “the finest golf swing I ever saw”), and how the thought of a single great shot stayed with her for her entire life. Mickey Wright believed there is golf in Heaven.  So do we. This is how she described it in that interview:

"There's got to be golf in heaven. I hope I get there and that it's just me and my 2-iron. Or maybe a couple of angels will be looking on. Everything will look like Sea Island Golf Club did in the old days, sedate and beautiful. I'll be facing that shot to a well-trapped green again, trying to duplicate that shot from 1957. If it's really heaven, I'll pull it off."

 


Photo: Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

Dec 2, 2019by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Happy Holidays from your San Francisco Public Golf Alliance! We hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with family, friends, good food, shopping and perhaps some golf. Be sure to check out our new online store in partnership with our friends at State Apparel. 

It's a time to count blessings and be thankful. We're always grateful for the fantastic support we've received over the years and, in 2019, we are particularly thankful for:

  • Another fabulous Alister MacKenzie Tournament at Sharp Park, played June 8, with one of our biggest-ever fields enjoying good times, great weather, and the best course conditions that anyone could remember.

2019 Save Sharp Park Tourney

  • Our architects Tom Doak (kneeling) and Jay Blasi (standing, left), who directed restoration of the ## 10 and 18 greens to their original 1932 shapes and contours, with SF Rec-Park Turf Division Director Kevin Teahan (kneeling at right).

Doak Blasi Greens

  • The good work of the Sharp Park greenskeeping crew, led by superintendent Mike Catanzaro and Turf Division Director Teahan, who in 2019 trimmed trees, cleared brush, and opened beautiful vistas around the clubhouse and throughout the course.

  • The Sharp Park Golf Club volunteers who, on October 29, assisted the greenskeeping crew in trimming the tulles at the par-3 15th hole, opening a view of the hole from the tee.  Once it was blind, but now we can see.

  • For Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and all holiday shopping this season check out our new on-line store for classic leather Save Sharp Park headcovers, jerseys, and more. Press the SHOP button in upper right of this website or press here:

All proceeds from the Sharp Park Collection at State Apparel go to the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance - a non-profit public benefit corporation, under 501.c.3 of the Internal Revenue Code.  Your contributions are tax-deductible. We are pro-bono, taking no pay for our work.  So your charitable donations go far towards accomplishing the charitable purposes of the Alliance:  to advocate and promote public golf and defend and preserve San Francisco’s endangered municipal golf courses.  On the occasion of Giving Tuesday, Dec. 2, we ask your consideration of a charitable donation to The Cause.   

 


Photo: Munis Are the Soul of Golf - Some fall press selections for your reading enjoyment

The 17th Hole at Lincoln Park - One of San Francisco's Municipal Jewels

Munis Are the Soul of Golf - Some fall press selections for your reading enjoyment

Oct 6, 2019by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

After more than a decade of decline following the Tigermania boom and bust, golf is growing again. Participation grew over 2% nationally in 2018 with growth projected to continue into the future. For many golfers, affordable municipal courses are the gateway to the pleasures of the game and create lifelong enthusiasts. Munis are where you find the most diverse and democratic collections of golfers - young and old, men and women, all colors, creeds and preferences. Many regular patrons will also assert that Munis are where you'll find the friendliest golfers. Industry leaders, press, and even politicians are recognizing the importance of munis to communities and to the game. For your reading enjoyment please consider this selection of recent articles on the joy and importance of municipal golf courses and efforts to renovate and restore them nationwide.
 

 
Starting close to home, Josh Sens writing in Golf Magazine, reflects on the egalitarian nature of munis in The City with arguably the worst income inequality in the country:
 
“In what has become a billionaire’s playground, San Francisco’s munis endure"
"
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..."

 
Garret Morrison, writing in The Fried Egg's ComMUNIty series, describes the  how heavy hitters like superstar architects Tom Doak and Gil Hanse, Bandon Dunes’ developer Mike Keiser, and other golf notables are joining with the National Links Trust in an effort to reclaim and renovate three long-neglected municipal courses in Our Nation’s Capital:
 
"The ComMUNIty Project: Doak and Hanse Come Aboard in D.C."
 
"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:

"The Uncertain Future of Municipal Golf in Louisville"

"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."


 
Writer Daniel Riley tells New York Times Magazine readers about what he learned growing up playing as a single on Los Angeles’ municipal courses:
 
"Letter of Recommendation: Golfing With Strangers"
 
On Golfing With Strangers on Muni Courses
"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."

 
Jason Deegan writing in Golf Advisor called Sharp Park the highest priority – #1 – on its Top 10 list of American Munis needing TLC: 
 
 
Doak Blasi Teahan considers Sharp Park Greens
Architects Tom Doak (facing camera) and Jay Blasi (white hat at left) consult original 1931 construction blueprint
with SF Rec & Park head greenskeeper Kevin Teahan (at right), about restoring original Alister MacKenzie greens.
"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..."

 
And, as we've noted before, Alister Mackenzie has a few words on why saving and restoring our municipal gem at Sharp Park is important...
 
 
 

 


Photo: Sign Up for the Mayor Ed Lee Legacy Golf Tournament at Crystal Springs Oct 27, 2019!

Sign Up for the Mayor Ed Lee Legacy Golf Tournament at Crystal Springs Oct 27, 2019!

Sep 22, 2019by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Sign Up Now! - Registration Closed - Thanks to All Who Participated!
 
The legacy of Mayor Ed Lee, his support for golf in San Francisco,  commitment to our historic public courses, and advocacy for the inclusion of women, minorities, and youth in the game we love, will never be forgotten. 
 
During his tenure as mayor the annual San Francisco Mayor's Cup Charity Golf Tournament  was one of his and our favorite events. It combined his passion for golf with an opportunity to support worthwhile causes important to Ed and the City, including the Asian Law Caucus, First Tee of San FranciscoSan Francisco Women's Golf Council and others.
 
Mayor Ed Lee at Save Sharp Park Benefit Tournament
Mayor Ed Lee at the Save Sharp Park Benefit Tournament
 
Since he passed, the tradition continues with the Mayor Ed Lee Legacy Golf Tournament. This year the tournmant goes back to the beginning...  Early in his career with the City, Ed Lee first organized charitable golf tournaments at Crystal Springs Golf Course.
 
Please join us again this year for a fun day celebrating his legacy. Proceeds will be used to support the Asian Law Caucus and other favorite charities of the late Mayor Lee.
 
Sign up at the link here: Registration Closed. Thanks to all who participated!

Sunday October 27, 2019
12 Noon Shotgun Start
 
Crystal Springs Golf Course
Burlingame, California 

 


Photo: National Golf Press Clippings:Sharp Park is the Top US Priority for Muni Golf Restoration

National Golf Press Clippings:Sharp Park is the Top US Priority for Muni Golf Restoration

Jun 26, 2019by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

For your reading enjoyment, a quick summer sampler from the 2019 national golfing press:
 
 
Golf Advisor, in a May 2019 article, called Sharp Park the highest priority – #1 – on its list of the 10 American municipal golf courses “most worth saving”:
"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..."

Doak Blasi Teahan considers Sharp Park Greens
Architects Tom Doak (facing camera) and Jay Blasi (white hat at left) consult original 1931 construction blueprint
with SF Rec & Park head greenskeeper Kevin Teahan (at right), about restoring original Alister MacKenzie greens.
 
Links Magazine agrees, focusing on Sharp Park in “The Five Classic Public Courses Most in Need of Renovation Love” :  
"Bo Links, a San Francisco lawyer, golf writer, historian and co-founder of San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, says Doak is working off the original 1931 irrigation map that shows the precise dimensions of the original MacKenzie greens... 'This is a first step in showing the world what Alister MacKenzie’s Sharp Park not only looks like, but actually plays like... Bringing back MacKenzie’s vision while keeping the place affordable and accessible, that’s our Holy Grail.”

 
Also in Links Magazine, Graylin Loomis makes Sharp Park the first stop on his “Dream California Golf Road Trip” : (other stops include Pebble Beach, Spyglass, Pasatiempo, and Harding).   
"The course popped onto my radar because of the “Save Sharp Park” movement, which started in response to environmentalists’ attempts to close it in an effort to protect threatened frogs and snakes. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2012, opening the doors for Tom Doak to create a renovation masterplan. The municipality is still debating the plan, with Doak explaining, “They have signed off on expanding two to three greens, rebuilding some tees, and minor tree work in 2018 to get a handle on the costs. It’s a step in the right direction.”

 
Golf Architecture Magazine, April, 2019, “The Future of Muni Golf“;
"At Sharp Park in San Francisco, designed by Alister MacKenzie, a number of Macphiles have been working for years with architect Jay Blasi on a restoration project. Blasi reports: “Last year we were able to use a 1931 irrigation map to help us properly identify the original green boundaries... One of the wonderful things about Sharp Park is that not much work has been done over time, so the original contours are there and when you mow out to the original edges the character jumps out.”

 
All of these echo Jaime Diaz’s 2017 Golfworld manifesto"The fight over Sharp Park isn't just about saving one golf course, but muny golf overall":
"A leader among the golfers is Sharp Park Women’s Club member Lisa Villasenor, “The course, the clubhouse, it’s our ‘Cheers,’ ” she said. “I told everybody, ‘If you guys want to see yellow tape around this clubhouse, that’s what’s going to happen if you don’t help." ... The battle for Sharp has been too long and winding for celebration to overtake continued vigilance. Still looming is a need to enhance the seawall that protects the course, and the bureaucratic challenges that will entail ... because golf needs to keep the muny in its soul, all golfers should care about the preservation of Sharp Park.”

For more summer Sharp Park reading, see:
 
Simply The Best
 
Fall, 2017 edition of NCGA Magazine, “Simply the Best,”  with several articles discussing the MacKenzie architectural heritage at Sharp Park: 
“From the WPA-era clubhouse to the use of a native lagoon and holes running sheer along the Pacific Coast, Sharp Park embodies the spirit of a rugged outdoor experience.  And yet it’s seamlessly meshed into a town’s life – much as the holes at North Berwick, St. Andrews, Gullane or Machrihanish weave their way into the village center.  It takes a particular kind of genius to make those elements of nature and contrivance work as if one composition.  MacKenzie was able in a public setting here to express his art form to an unusual degree."

Our own SFPGA website, an April 2, 2017 compilation of newspaper and magazine articles about the years-long fight to preserve Sharp Park: “Saving Sharp Park:  The Press and the Big Picture”


 

And for the final word on why saving and restoring our municipal gem at Sharp Park is important and valuable...

 
MacKenzie on Public Golf
.

 


Photo: Women’s Golf Day at Sharp Park on Sunday, June 9!

Women’s Golf Day at Sharp Park on Sunday, June 9!

Apr 29, 2019by - San Francisco Mayor's Women's Golf Council

 To Register for Womens' Golf Day at Sharp Park CLICK HERE
 
In a recent Golf Digest interview, Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation talked about the importance of women participation to the future of golf: 
"It's critically important in golf. One of our stated objectives is for golf to look like America does...  With respect to women, as you know, they are 50+ percent of the U.S. population, but 24 percent of the golf population. But encouragingly, more than 35 percent of beginners are women... Similarly, as it relates to junior golfers, it's actually the same number—35 percent of junior golfers are women. That's really encouraging. So if you subscribe to the notion that today's juniors are tomorrow's golfers, then the face of golf will change... Not to get too lost in the stats, but if you study them like we do, it really bodes well for the future of the game ... So I'm very encouraged by the numbers that show us women are coming into the game."
One of the  ways women are being introduced and encouraged to enjoy the game we love is Women's Golf Day - an invitation for women to enjoy an innovative low cost introduction to women-friendly golf.
 

 

Women’s Golf Day is a four hour experience happening globally where women and girls can experience golf for the first time or where current players can play and engage with women interested in golf. It is being hosted at golf courses and retail locations all around the world.  The event kicks off June 4th at golf venues around the bay area, but we're going to extend it a week with a very special Womens Golf Day at Sharp Park on Sunday June 9th!

San Francisco Mayor's Women's Golf Council

Sponsored by the San Francisco Mayor's Womens Golf Council and the Sharp Park Business Womens Golf Club, this is a great way to be introduced to golf and meet women who want to share their love of the game with you.

It will be a fun day at San Francisco's municipal jewel designed by Alister MacKenzie, golf's greatest architect.  Don't miss it!

Sharp Park Womens Golf Club  

REGISTER HERE and we'll see you there!

 


Photo: Lake Merced Hosts LPGA Mediheal Championship April 29 - May 5

Lake Merced Hosts LPGA Mediheal Championship April 29 - May 5

Apr 8, 2019by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

 2018 Mediheal champion Lydia Ko 
 
Lake Merced Golf Club, located just south of San Francisco in Daly City, is set to host the 2019 LPGA Mediheal Championship. The tournament schedule runs from April 29th to May 5th. The $1.8 million LPGA event features 144 of the world’s best women professionals, including defending champion Lydia Ko, in a four-day medal play competition.  
 
Ko, a 22-year-old New Zealander, has been one of the world’s top-ranked golfers since she was a teen-ager. She has won events at Lake Merced in 2014, 2015, and 2018.  Gallery tickets and volunteer opportunities for the tournament are available on the tournament website at www.medihealchamp.com.
 

 
The recent Womens Amateur at Augusta and ANA LPGA Tour events again showed Women's golf to be the most vibrant and exciting part of the golf world. The LPGA Mediheal Championship is a great value and extraordinary opportunity for anyone who loves the game. Kids, ages 17 and under, receive free general admission with a ticketed adult. Military members and veterans, along with their families receive free admission with a valid military ID. 
 
At the Mediheal LPGA
 
Founded in 1922 and redesigned by the legendary Alister MacKenzie,  Lake Merced has a storied history and long tradition of national tournament golf – notably including top women’s and junior championships going back to 1941, when Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the San Francisco Women’s Open Match Play Championship. In 2012, Lake Merced hosted the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, won by current World #3-ranked professional Minjee Lee of Australia.
 
Lake Merced Golf Course
 
The greatest golfers in the world playing at an historic course in our Bay Area back yard - you'll want to be there!
 
Tournament sponsor Mediheal is a cosmetic facemask brand of the Seoul, South Korea-based L&P Cosmetic Co., Ltd.  

 


Photo: Sign Up For The Alister MacKenzie Heritage Tournament To Preserve Sharp Park - June 8!

Sign Up For The Alister MacKenzie Heritage Tournament To Preserve Sharp Park - June 8!

Jan 23, 2019by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

When Alister MacKenzie envisioned Sharp Park in 1930, he foresaw it “as sporty as the Old Course at St. Andrews and as picturesque a golf course as any in the world.”   This is the Good Doctor’s heritage at Sharp Park.  It is ours to treasure and to preserve.  And this is a critical part of our Mission at the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance. To protect the MacKenzie Heritage at Sharp Park, we had to #SaveSharpPark from those who sought to destroy the course. To preserve the MacKenzie Heritage at Sharp Park we are working to restore MacKenzie's architectural vision and philosophy of affordable, eco-friendly golf for everyone
 
Golf for everyone at Sharp Park
 
On Saturday, June 8, we will celebrate with our Eighth Annual Alister MacKenzie Heritage Benefit Tournament at Sharp Park.  We invite old friends, new admirers, and golf history and architecture buffs everywhere to join us for a day of golf, good times, and fundraising – including our fabulous online and silent auction.  This tournament is our primary fund-raising event to preserve the Mackenzie vision at Sharp Park for future generations. 
 
2018 Save Sharp Park Tournament
 
So mark your calendars for Saturday, June 8, line-up your teams, and sign-up for the Eighth Annual Alister MacKenzie Heritage Tournament to benefit beautiful Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica!
 
2018 Sharp Park Benefit Tournament
 
Over the years, the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, working with Dr. MacKenzie’s golf legions, fought on the beaches and in the courts and in the halls of government to save Sharp Park.
 
Full Disclosure: Winston Churchill was not a member of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance 
 
This is a labor of love for us at the SFPGA. While we all work as unpaid volunteers, it still takes money to continue the fight to preserve and protect the Mackenzie Heritage at Sharp Park.
 
Doak Blasi at Sharp Park
Architects Tom Doak and Jay Blasi discussing historic greens with SF Rec & Park greenskeepers Kevin Teahan and Almar Valenzuela
 
Sharp Park Clubhouse 
Improvements around the course and clubhouse reveal the "picturesque golf course" that Alister MacKenzie saw
 
We need your engagement and financial support. Please join us – and bring your friends -- to Sharp Park, Saturday June 8.  It's always great fun, and in case you missed it last year, check out our photo essay of the 2018 tournament [CLICK HERE].
Join us on June 8 to celebrate and preserve the Alister MacKenzie heritage at Sharp Park!
 
Thanks, and Best Wishes.
 
- The San Francisco Golf Alliance

 


Photo: The MacKenzie Public Golf Vision - A New Year Message from the Founders

The MacKenzie Public Golf Vision - A New Year Message from the Founders

Jan 4, 2019by - Richard Harris and Bo Links

The words, work and vision of Alister MacKenzie were our inspiration when we founded the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance in 2007. They continue to guide and motivate our efforts today. We worked to preserve his legacy when Sharp Park, his public gem in Pacifica, was threatened by misguided anti-golf zealots. The legal and political threats have been mitigated in recent years, but still exist and we stand ready to defend his municipal masterpiece. Preserving and restoring his vision at Sharp Park will guide our efforts in 2019 and beyond.
 
Alister MacKenzie Legacy at Sharp Park
 
We work with golfers, preservationists and environmentalists, governmental agencies and community leaders in San Francisco, Pacifica, and San Mateo County to promote the historical heritage and community benefits of Sharp Park and San Francisco’s other landmark public golf courses.
 
Some highlights from the year past and great expectations for the year to come...
 
Restoring Original Greens
 
In 2018 we moved the ball down the fairway when work started restoring original greens at Sharp Park. With guidance from eminent architects Tom Doak (kneeling center)  and Jay Blasi (standing, left), the surrounds of the 10th and 18th greens were mown-out  in 2018 to the dimensions of Alister MacKenzie’s original 1932 design. Under the supervision of head greenskeeper Kevin Teahan (above, right), Superintendent Mike Catanzaro and the Sharp Park greenskeeping crew will restore the 10th and 18th surrounds to puttable greens by mid-summer, 2019. 
 
New Rates began funding a dedicated Special Projects Maintenance Fund for each course. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors in July 2018 amended the Park Code to create a “Special Maintenance Fund,” funded by a $2-per-9-holes greens fee bump, and dedicated to improvement projects at each course. The Public Golf Alliance supported the greens fee bump, based on agreements from the Rec & Park Department and Commission that representatives of the golfers at each course will be consulted on the “special projects” to be funded by the increased fees.
 
Golden Gate Park Golf
 
The nine hole Golden Gate Park Golf Course, located at the west end of Golden Gate Park, was designed by Jack Fleming and opened in 1951.  It is operated by the First Tee of San Francisco, and is golfing home to First Tee students as well as adult players. In December Golden Gate Park Golf Course was honored by Golf Magazine as one of the top dozen par 3 courses in the country:
"Tucked into the sprawling park for which it’s named, this nine-hole track is something of a San Francisco sleeper. Designed by Alister Mackenzie protege Jack Fleming, it winds through wind-coiffed cypress trees and benefits from the same sandy soil that underpins the nearby Olympic Club."
Golden Gate Park Golf Course Clubhouse
 
Unfortunately the clubhouse at the Golden Gate Park nine-hole course was destroyed by fire on July 2.  Since the fire, operations have been conducted out of a double-wide trailer. We support the efforts of San Francisco Rec & Park and the First Tee who are planning a replacement clubhouse.  
 
Richard Harris Lectures on Sharp Park
 
Golf Alliance co-founder Richard Harris delivered a golf history and architecture lesson to the May 2018 Quarterly Meeting of the Pacifica Historical Society. His wide ranging lecture discussed the origins of golf in Scotland and 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 MacKenzie’s work at Sharp Park. 
 
 
National Championship Golf is coming back to the Bay Area. The 2019 US Open Championship will be held June 16-22 at Pebble Beach. This begins a remarkable six-year run in which the greater Bay Area will also host the 2020 PGA Championship and 2025 Presidents Cup at Harding Park, and the 2021 US Women’s Open at Olympic Club.
 
 
One week earlier than the Open at Pebble Beach -- Mark your calendar and line-up your foursome now! -- we've scheduled the 2019 Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save and Preserve Sharp Park.  We will do it again – our annual day-of-golf-and-good-times, BBQ, beverage, and golf auction extraordinaire – at Sharp Park on Saturday, June 8.  Bring your foursomes, your checkbooks, and be ready to have some serious fun for a great cause.  Check out our report from the 2018 event.
 
This is a labor of love and we at the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance are all unpaid volunteers. The benefit tournament and your donations are what make our efforts possible (Donate button on the top right of your screen:).
 
Thanks to all who support us and wishing all a great new year!
 
  Bo Links - Vice President     Richard Harris - President
   Bo Links               Richard Harris
 
San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
Contact: Info@SFPublicGolf.Org

 


Photo: Recap: Seventh Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park

Recap: Seventh Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park

Jul 23, 2018by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Some days, Sharp Park can just overwhelm you with its combinaiton of beauty, history, art, recreation, and community. May 26, 2018 – the seventh annual gathering of the Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park – was one of those days. 
 
 
The course was beautiful as always.  The greens were as good as they have been in years.  The weather ranged from morning overcast to wispy afternoon clouds, with some breeze all day. 
 
 
In the morning round, San Francisco and North Peninsula high boys and girls teams joined with with First Tee teams from San Francisco and San Jose...
 
 
...and a collection of old pros that included long-time San Francisco Club pro Rick Rhodes and his nephew, former PGA tour player Roger Tambellini. 
 
Save Sharp Park 4
 
Sharp Park stalwart Ron Saisi brought a team of Cal Club golfers that tied for the morning’s low score of 57 with a team of Peninsula Athletic League golf coaches led by Hillsborough’s Jon Ramirez. 
 
SAve Sharp 3
 
Lowell High’s Stephanie Sunga had two closest-to-the-pin shots, on Holes 8 and 12 
 
Save Sharp 5
 
Following the midday bar-b-que, the afternoon round featured teams from the Northern California Golf Association, PGA Tour, Northern California PGA, Alister MacKenzie Society, Western States Golf Association, and 18Birdies.  Golf Channel commentator Scott Walker joined the fun, along with a team of hickory-shaft golfers led by Peninsula Club’s Gerry Stratford. 
 
 
The afternoon round’s low scores were posted by the Fandel Retail team.  Harding Head Pro Tom Smith had the shot-of-the-day when he holed a pitching wedge for an eagle 2 on the par-4 fourteenth hole. 
 
 
In addition to the golf and good times, the 2018 Alister MacKenzie Tournament was memorable for previewing the expanded greens at Holes 10 and 18. 
 
 
With guidance from eminent golf architects Tom Doak (kneeling, center)  and Jay Blasi (standing, left), the surrounds of these greens have been mown-out  to the dimensions of Alister MacKenzie’s original 1932 design
 
Doak Blasi Sharp
 
Under the supervision of head greenskeeper Kevin Teahan and Sharp Park superintendent Mike Catanzaro, the surrounds will be  brought back to puttable greens over a 12-to18-month period. 
 
Sharp Park Tourney Thanks
 
Special thanks to our generous sponsors, donors of our fabulous silent auction prizes, enthusiastic volunteers from our co-hosts, the Sharp Park Men’s and Sharp Park Business Women’s Golf Clubs, and to our other co-hosts including: The Alister MacKenzie Foundation, Pacifica Historical Society, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, the NCGA and Southern California Golf Associations, PGA Tour, and Bandon Dunes Golf Resort among others. Please see the Sponsors Page from our Tournament Program (Below) for a complete list.  
Sharp Park Tourney Sponsors
Finally, a grateful tip of the hat to: Greens Superintendent Michael Catanzaro and his SF Rec and Park Department greenskeeping crew; Mark Duane, Kevin Ramsey, the rest of the staff at Sharp Park Golf Course, Brad Knipstein for sharing the photographs featured here, and State Apparel for the cool #SaveSharpPark tee prize shirts. 

 


Photo: Sharparkology 101: A lecture at the Pacifica Historical Society

Sharparkology 101: A lecture at the Pacifica Historical Society

Jun 25, 2018by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance President and co-founder Richard Harris was guest lecturer at the Pacifica Historical Society’s May 20, 2018 Quarterly Meeting at the Society’s headquarters in Pacifica’s Little Brown Church.  His wide ranging lecture discussed the origins of golf in Scotland and 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

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.

Pacifica videographer Robert Twigg captured Harris’ lecture with historical photos for broadcast on the award winning "Footprints of Pacifica" broadcast linked here:

We hope you enjoy this "must watch" for students of Pacifica History and any pursuing studies in "Sharparkology." 

 


UPDATE: The 2018 Online Silent Auction Concluded.Congratulations to the winning bidders.

May 17, 2018by - an Francisco Public Golf Alliance

The Seventh Annual Alister MacKenzie Benefit Tournament to Save Sharp Park is Saturday, May 26, but...
 
7th Annual Sharp Park Benefit Online Auction
 
  ...On-line bidding for the silent auction is open now
 
UPDATE:  On-Line bidding for the silent auction closed at 10pm PDT Tuesday May 22 and continued in-person at the tournament at Sharp Park on May 26. Congratulatons to the winning bidders! 
 
Great courses, Scottish Highlands golfing adventures, and great values are among the fantastic items you'll find in this year's auction.  Bid on: Three days of all the golf you and your foursome can play plus two nights lodging at America’s No. 1 golf resort – Bandon Dunes; A foursome at the ultra-private Friar’s Head Golf Links on Long Island – ranked #19 in the newest Golf Digest list of America’s greatest course; A one-month international membership with unlimited golf plus guest privileges at Murcar Links in the high dunes by the North Sea adjacent to Royal Aberdeen in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 
 
And then there are foursomes at Royal Dornoch, Spyglass Hill, Pasatiempo, Poppy Hills, Pacific Grove, Claremont, Stanford, Berkeley Country Club, Silverado, Lake Merced, Green Hills Country Club, Callippe Preserve, Poppy Ridge, Wente Vineyards, Presidio, Bodega Harbour, Foxtail, Crystal Springs, Metropolitan, and you name it. 
 
All these auction items are thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and fellow-members of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance. All auction proceeds go to our ongoing campaign to Save Sharp Park. Thank you in advance for your participation and generous support for the cause.
 
The 2018 Auction
 
How the Auction Works:
 
The auction  is now open for online bidding  and will close on  Tuesday, May 22, 10pm PDT. The auction will then continue in-person only on  May 26 at Sharp Park, at the  Seventh Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park.
 
The highest bid from the online auction will serve as the starting bid at the May 26 in-person silent auction at Sharp Park. The winning bidder will be the highest bid - whether online or in-person - as of the close of the in-person auction on  May 26 at 7:00pm PDT.
 
We will be contacting highest online bidders on  May 23-24 to confirm your bid with a credit card. Please be sure to include the best email for us to reach you when you sign-up to participate in the auction, and have your credit card handy for pre-authorization over the phone or email.
 
All proceeds from the auction will go to our ongoing campaign to Save Sharp Park Golf Course. Thank you in advance for your participation and generous support for the cause.
 
How to Start Browsing and Bidding:
 
  1. Visit the Auction Website: [CLICK HERE
  2. Click on the menu or login button on the top-right of the webpage,  or open any auction item, and then click, "Create an Account."
Winning Bids and Payments:
 
It is important that we communicate with you via phone or email BEFORE 6pm PDT on  May 24 to confirm your online bid and obtain your credit card information; otherwise, we may not be able to honor your online bid.
 
You are also welcome to call or email to provide us with your credit card information in advance, in anticipation of potentially being the highest online bidder:
 
Richard Harris: 415-290-5718, richard@sfpublicgolf.org 
Sarah Lau: SarahLauSF@gmail.com
 
If your bid is the final winning bid at the in-person auction, then your credit card will be processed for payment; if your bid is not the winning bid, then you will not be charged, and your credit card information will not be saved.
 
Please include the best email and phone number for us to reach you when you sign-up to participate in the auction.
 
Thank you for your generous support for the cause and good luck. Let the bidding begin!
 
Information about the Event and Cause:
 
The 7th Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park is hosted by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, Sharp Park Men's and Women's golf clubs, Pacifica Historical Society, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation.
 
The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance's goal is to nurture and defend affordable, eco-friendly public golf in San Francisco for future generations by encouraging public golf throughout all segments of the community, and by caring for San Francisco's heritage public golf courses. One of these is Sharp Park, an historic seaside links, designed by the preeminent architect Alister MacKenzie, who also designed Augusta National, Cypress Point, and many of the world’s most highly-esteemed courses. Sharp Park is one of MacKenzie’s rare public courses, and together with the Eden Course at St. Andrews, his only seaside public links.

 


Photo: Election Day June 5. Don’t forget to vote!

Election Day June 5. Don’t forget to vote!

May 13, 2018by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Vote June 5th
 
SF MAYOR CANDIDATES DISCUSS GOLF, PARKS, BUDGET, STREET CRIME, HOMELESSNESS, ETC. AT CANDIDATE FORUM.
PUBLIC GOLF ALLIANCE SUPPORTS STATE PARKS BOND, PROPOSITION  68.
 
State and local Primary Elections will be held June 5. Mail-in ballots have been mailed to all registered voters, and mail-in voting began May 7.
 
San Francisco voters will choose a new Mayor, to replace the late Mayor Ed Lee.  The four leading candidates – Angela Alioto, London Breed, Jane Kim, and Mark Leno – appeared at an April 26 candidates forum hosted by the West of Twin Peaks Central Council, moderated by SF Examiner columnist Joel Engardio.  SEE VIDEO HERE.   
The candidates answered questions about the City budget (video, at 0:09:45), Golf courses and parks (0:42:45), Housing (0:21:40), Crime and law enforcement (0:16:35), Homelessness and related issues (0:31:50, 0:51:55, and 1:00:10), Traffic, street repair, parking, and bike lanes (0:37:10 and 0:57:10), Campaign finance (00:48:20), and San Francisco City College (0:54:30).
 
The foregoing is provided for informational purposes only.  San Francisco Public Golf Alliance expresses no endorsement of any particular candidate.  
 
The statewide ballot includes Prop. 68, the Parks, Environment, and Water Bond
 
Prop 68
 
San Francisco Public Golf Alliance recommends a “Yes” vote on Prop 68.

 


Photo: Sign up for the Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Preserve Sharp Park - May 26!

Sign up for the Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Preserve Sharp Park - May 26!

Jan 22, 2018by - San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Ken Venturi called Sharp Park “Alister MacKernzie’s great gift to the American public course golfer.”  Following great victories in 2017 for the Save Sharp Park cause at the California Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, in 2018 we turn our attention to restoring MacKenzie’s “great gift”.  That will be the focus and the purpose of fundraising at our Seventh Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament, to be held Saturday, May 26, 2018 at Sharp Park.  Please join us. See the Sponsor/Entry Form [LINKED HERE]                                                                  
 
Sponsors, Captains:  Sign-up for the Seventh Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park, Saturday, May 26
 
 
Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 26, and line-up your teams for the Seventh Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament at beautiful Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica, CA.
 
With your help and support, we have time and again won political, legal, and administrative battles to keep the course open.   But much work remains to renovate this 85-year-old diamond-in-the-rough: Plans to draw; Friends to make; Agencies to persuade; Work to do. So we're still fighting, still fundraising, and we still need your financial support and involvement.  Please join us – and bring your friends -- to Sharp Park, Saturday, May 26. It's great fun, and in case you missed it last year, check out our photo essay of the 2017 tournament.
 
 
  • Save May 26 on your calendar, and pick your shotgun tee time:  morning (7:30 a.m) or afternoon (12:30 p.m.)
  • Download the entry form [ LINKED HERE ].
  • Sign-up your friends.  Submit your entry forms, and pay by check or online.
  • Make a silent auction donation of a guest 4-some at your golf course, golf lessons, or other goods [Click to EMAIL]
  • Sign-up as a Sponsor - or help us find a Sponsor [See Sponsorship form page 2 LINKED HERE]
So come join us on May 26 to celebrate and restore the Alister MacKenzie legacy at Sharp Park!
 
Thanks, and Best Wishes.
 
-- Richard Harris and  Bo Links
   San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
   415-290-5718
 
   info@sfpublicgolf.org

 


Photo: Looking Back and Moving Forward. A New Year Message from the Founders.

Looking Back and Moving Forward. A New Year Message from the Founders.

Dec 30, 2017by - Richard Harris and Bo Links

The Year in Review -  Closer to the Dream
“It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.”  Charles Dickens’ always-timely lede to A Tale of Two Cities well sums-up the 2017 Chapter of the Save Sharp Park Saga.  
 
First, the worst. We lost two giants of San Francisco public golf in the last year:
 
Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco’s first Asian-American mayor, enthusiastic golfer, and a great advocate of public golf and Sharp Park, died on December 12. Mayor Lee was more than the city’s First Golfer.  He was an unabashed champion. He treasured the magic of Alister MacKenzie’s work and his December, 2011 veto of a last-minute anti-golf Board of Supervisors resolution kept Sharp Park Golf open.
 
Sandy Tatum, the driving force behind the 2003 renovation of Harding Park, founder of the First Tee of San Francisco, USGA President from 1978 -1980, and passionate supporter of public golf, died on June 22. In the last decade of his life, Sandy enlisted in the battle to Save Sharp Park, testifying before City commissions and playing in our annual Alister MacKenzie tournament to Save Sharp Park. 
 
But these tragedies were not the end of story. The prospects for returning Sharp Park to glory remain good, thanks to a couple of great victories that book-ended the year 2017. These triumphs set the stage for great things to come in 2018.  
 
SF Board of Supervisors Votes For The Plan
 
Sharp Park Media coverage
 
In February 2017, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 9-1 to certify the Environmental Impact Report for the Rec & Park Department’s “Natural Areas Plan and Laguna Salada Recovery Plan.”  Among other things:  the EIR approved continued operation of the 18-hole Sharp Park Golf Course. It also designated the course as “Historic Resource Property” under the California Environmental Quality Act; and allowed modification of three golf holes along the margins of Laguna Salada, on condition that the changes be consistent with the golf course’s historic architectural character.  
  
Coastal Commission Approves Sea Wall
 
 
In November, 2017 it was the California Coastal Commission’s turn.  At a public hearing November 8 at Bodega Bay, the Commission voted overwhelmingly to grant a Coastal Development Permit to San Francisco [LINK HERE - Sharp Park agenda item from 1:01:05 – 2:47:12] . This action approved the Sharp Park Sea Wall and, among other things, requires San Francisco to (1) regularly inspect and maintain the sea wall, and (2) build new visitor-serving amenities for the California Coastal Trail on top of it.  
 
The Alister MacKenzie Benefit Tournament to Save Sharp Park
 
Sharp Park Benefit Tournament Head Covers
 
In June, 2017 over 150 golfers turned-out to celebrate the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance’s Sixth Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park. They enjoyed fog in the morning, sun and wind in the afternoon, an exciting finish, and Dr. MacKenzie’s beautiful seaside links all day long. The event was a great success, raising consciousness, community support, and funds for the Alliance’s ongoing battle to save, preserve and renew the course. We are grateful to our sponsors and all who participated in the fun and fesitivites.  
 
To keep the good feelings going and help our supporters show their passion for Sharp Park and all it represents, we’ve reissued our fabulous, bright red leather “Save Sharp Park” driver headcover. This is a great way to demonstrate lasting commitment to the cause and spread the word. And… it’s a great gift item for friends and colleagues. Equally important, it’s really cool looking.  Get it in your golf bag today, and walk tall down the fairway!
 
The Year Ahead
 
 
Kroichick on Sharp Park
 
So where does that leave Sharp Park as we begin 2018?  
 
Answer:  Poised for recovery and renewal.  In 2018, we will work with public golfers, San Francisco, and friends of Alister MacKenzie everywhere to take tangible steps to recapture at Sharp Park the glory envisioned by Dr. MacKenzie, who saw Sharp Park “as sporty as The Old Course at St. Andrews and as picturesque a golf course as any in the world."
 
That’s a big task, but with your help and support, it will happen. So stay in touch, and be ready to roll out your support when the call comes.
 
Prospero Ano Nuevo!  Gong xi fa cai!  Bonne Anne!  Gong hey fat choi!  Happy New Year!
 
 
  Bo Links - Vice President     Richard Harris - President
   Bo Links          Richard Harris
 
San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
Contact: Info@SFPublicGolf.Org

 


Photo: It’s Back! The Save Sharp Park Red Leather Headcover!

It’s Back! The Save Sharp Park Red Leather Headcover!

Dec 30, 2017

The Return of a Save Sharp Park Classic
The Red Leather Driver Headcover!
 
Glad Tidings! By popular demand, our classic red-and-white all-leather, Alister MacKenzie-autographed “Save Sharp Park” driver headcover is back!

Save Sharp Park Head Covers in action

Did you find one under the tree? No! You did not! Because we forgot to post this announcement. But it's not too late!
 
Just in time for the 2017-2018 Holiday Gift Return Season! Get what you really wanted.
 
If you missed-out when we originally issued them in 2013 – or if you want to give a classy – and politically correct – golf gift to That Special Golfer, right now is your chance. Fits all drivers. They can be purchased through our friends at State Apparel, which has agreed to turn over all gross sale revenues to San Francisco Public Golf Alliance and our Save Sharp Park cause.
 
Drop by State Apparel’s Urban Clubhouse one block north of Union Street at:
 
3108 Fillmore Street,
San Francisco, CA. 94123
 
Last time we had these beauties on hand, they went quick. So don’t wait. 

 


Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco City Champion

Dec 14, 2017

Ed Lee - #SaveSharpPark
 
Ed Lee loved golf, and played often. It was his haven from the City Hall pressure-cooker. He and his foursome played Saturday mornings at the local munis, usually Harding Park. He was a modest and likeable man, and mixed easily on the practice green and first tee with the early morning regulars. On the course, he enjoyed competition and small-stakes bets, was an excellent clutch-putter, and would celebrate loudly when he sank a crucial putt with money on the line. He was about 5’6” tall, and would tell corny jokes about his size.  “I’ll make this short,” he would say at the beginning of a speech, “because I am.”   
 
But he was not a short-hitter – not on the golf course or in civic life.  He swung big, hit it long, and was tough in the clutch.
 
He was San Francisco’s first Asian-American Mayor, who grew-up poor in Seattle public housing, attended law school at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, then in 2011 was elected Mayor, following earlier careers as a Chinatown low-income housing lawyer and activist and 20 years as a San Francisco civil servant.  One of his key strengths was his disarming personal humility, kindness, and grace. It was as if your nicest neighbor had moved-in to the Mayor’s Office
 
As City Administrator, Ed Lee was instrumental in the completion of the Sandy Tatum Clubhouse in 2005, which finished the renovation of Harding Park, readying the city’s flagship course to host national and international championships.  He then played a central role in bringing a series of major men’s and women’s professional golf championships to San Francisco:  the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s Swinging Skirts tournaments at Lake Merced in 2014-2016, the US Golf Association’s Women’s Open at Olympic Club in 2021, the PGA Tour Championship at Harding Park in 2020 and again at Olympic Club Lakeside in 2028, and the Ryder Cup at Lakeside in 2032. Ron Kroichick, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, reported his impact: "Mayor Ed Lee was avid supporter of golf in SF."
 
Ed Lee's love of golf was infectious. With his Mayor's Cup, from 2012-2017, he continued his personal tradition of hosting fundraising golf events for favorite causes such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice, First Tee of San Francisco , San Francisco City Golf Championship and his San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council. Here he is in his inaugural 2012 Mayor’s Cup.  
 
At the Mayor's Cup - Hariding PArk
 
One of Mayor Lee's first major political actions following his election in 2011 was to veto a last-minute Board of Supervisors resolution that targeted closing the San Francisco-owned public seaside links at Sharp Park, the early-1930’s public masterpiece of master architect Alister MacKenzie. That misguided resolution would have resulted in the giveaway of Sharp Park to the federal government. “When it counted, Mayor Lee stepped up for public golf and public golfers,” remarked San Francisco Public Golf Alliance co-founder Bo Links“He knew from his own life how important golf can be to people. Public course golfers never had a better friend.”
 
Mayor Ed Lee and Women's Golf in SF
 
The Mayor and his wife Anita are parents of two daughters -- Brianna and Tania. In 2014, Mayor Lee organized his Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council, with the stated purpose of making San Francisco the most golf-friendly major city in the County for women.  Lyn Nelson, past Executive Director of the Northern California Golf Association, and President of the Women’s Golf Council, praised Mayor Lee saying: “His passion for sharing the game, growing participation, and preserving facilities for future players was monumental for golf... The women and men who are council members are committed to continue the Mayor’s vision to share the values of the game of golf and grow participation.” 
 
The Northern California Golf Association and United States Golf Association recognized Mayor Lee's contribution to the City and game in "Late S.F. Mayor Ed Lee Big Supporter of Golf."
 
Ed Lee - The First Tee's First Fan
 
Growing up in public housing, the son of Chinese immigrants, Ed Lee was an unlikely golfer and an even unlikelier big-city Mayor. Throughout his career, he found relaxation, companionship, and fun in golf, which he shared by rebuilding and defending San Francisco’s public courses and expanding the game to women, youth, and future generations. He was a Champion of San Francisco golf.
 
Well played, Mister Mayor.
 
Edwin Mah Lee, May 5, 1952 – December 12, 2017 
 
Mayor Lee’s life was celebrated in a moving 90-minute memorial service Sunday, December 17, 2017 at San Francisco City Hall, with tributes from his daughters, Acting Mayor London Breed, Governor Jerry Brown, US Senator Diane Feinstein, US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and former mayors Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown.  The memorial service can be viewed on SF Government TV
 
 

 
Mayor’s Lee’s family has established a charitable fund in his memory.
 
Donations may be made by check payable to “The San Francisco Foundation – Edwin M. Lee Community Fund” and mailed to:
 
The San Francisco Foundation,
Attn:  Ruben Orduña
One Embarcadero Center #1400
San Francisco, CA. 94117

 


In Memory of Herb Lee

Nov 21, 2017

Herb Lee
 
The great Herb Lee, San Francisco’s first Chinese-American police officer and a golfing fixture at Sharp Park since the 1970’s, passed away November 1, 2017 at the age of 84.  
 
Herbert Patrick Lee was a native San Franciscan, a San Francisco State student, a U.S. Navy veteran, and in 1957 became the first Chinese-American officer on the San Francisco Police Force. For details, see Herb’s obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle:
"Mr. Lee was a recruiter and a mentor to countless young officers and served as executive director of the Police Activities League, overseeing athletic and enrichment programs for poor children. Many of his PAL cadets went on to become cops, as did his son. He was also the first president of the California Asian Police Officers Association. Police Chief Bill Scott called Mr. Lee “a true pioneer.”
At Sharp Park, Herb was a member of the Thurmons – a group of mostly Asian-American retired professionals and civil servants who played on Thursday and Monday mornings. Hence the name. He was enthusiastically involved in the Save Sharp Park campaign, including his handwritten June 3, 2010 letter to then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, which reads in part as follows:  
“As a retiree and 77 years old, I find Sharp Park very convenient and good for my health.  I’ve been using Sharp Park for over 30 years.  I have never seen anyone abuse any natural environment or animals at any time.  If I had, I would have stopped them.  My group of about 20 golfers are mostly my age.  It’s very important to continue to allow elder San Francisco retirees the enjoyment of golfing at Sharp Park.”  
Herb loved life. In addition to golf, he bowled, played and sang in the “All-Blue,” a Police Department rock band, and fished the Bay in his 25-foot fishing boat, the Ah-Choo.   He will be missed.
 
Memorial donations may be sent to one of Herb’s favorite causes - The Chinatown YMCA (LINK HERE) or via mail at:
 
The Chinatown YMCA
Attn:  Kari Lee, Executive Director
855 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA. 94108

 


Simply the Best: Golf Architecture at Sharp Park

Nov 1, 2017

NCGA Fall 2017 Issue Cover Story
 
Check-out the new Fall, 2017 edition of NCGA Golf, the quarterly magazine of the Northern California Golf Association. Golf architecture is the theme of this issue, and Alister MacKenzie’s historic Sharp Park is a featured subject of several articles.
 

NCGA Fall 2017 Issue“Sharp Park is more than a golf course; it is a test case for how much we care about public golf,” Sports Illustrated senior writer Alan Shipnuck writes in an article captioned Why Saving Sharp Park Matters:

“It is a referendum on the preservation of history, an experiment in these fraught times to see if private citizens can still come together for the public good.”  (Page 20) 

In a second article, captioned “Northern California Clearly “The Best” Mr. Shipnuck  continues,
“…  the most renowned architect of all time, Alister MacKenzie, has his own celebrated trifecta [of courses] in Northern California:  Cypress Point, Pasatiempo, and the Meadow Club, to say nothing of the lovably scruffy muni Sharp Park.”  (Page 32) 
Bradley S. Klein, one of the country’s leading authorities on golf architecture and a senior writer at Golfweek Magazine, surveys outstanding Northern California courses in an article captioned “Simply the Best”.  In that article, Klein compares Sharp Park to a handful of the great Scottish public courses which inspired MacKenzie’s design at Sharp: 
“From the WPA-era clubhouse to the use of a native lagoon and holes running sheer along the Pacific Coast, Sharp Park embodies the spirit of a rugged outdoor experience.  And yet it’s seamlessly meshed into a town’s life – much as the holes at North Berwick, St. Andrews, Gullane or Machrihanish weave their way into the village center.  It takes a particular kind of genius to make those elements of nature and contrivance work as if one composition.  MacKenzie was able in a public setting here to express his art form to an unusual degree."  (Page 28) 
Finally, featured golf architect Jay Blasi is asked about his proudest projects and points to a planned Sharp Park renovation:
"...Sharp Park - the municipal course in Pacifica designed by Alister MacKenzie... We're planning to restore the layout and bring back the MacKenzie look that has been masked over time." - (Page 26)
These are just the latest in growing library of articles in the golf press extolling the architecture, history, and the many-years-long battle to save MacKenzie’s classic seaside public links at Sharp Park.  See also:
 
Geoff Shackelford“Sharply Divided” Golf Digest, July 13, 2009
 
The Cultural Landscape Foundation -  Sharp Park Golf Course Threatened with Closure,” July 10, 2009
 
SF Public Golf Alliance website -  “Saving Sharp Park:  The Press and the Big Picture" April 2, 2017

 


High Drama at the 6th Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park

Jul 31, 2017

6th Annual Alister MacKenzie Benefit Tournament to Save Sharp Park
 
Winter’s discontent was forgotten, and the 150 golfers who turned-out June 3 to celebrate the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance’s Sixth Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park enjoyed fog in the morning, bright sun and wind in the afternoon, and Dr. MacKenzie’s beautiful seaside links all day long.
 
There was much to celebrate. Since the Fifth MacKenzie Tournament in June, 2016, San Francisco’s long-term plan to preserve the historic 18-hole Sharp Park links, while enhancing habitat in the wetlands, obtained final approvals from the Rec & Park and Planning Commissions and San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
 
On June 3, the golfers responded with record low scores. In the foggy early morning round, a San Francisco First Tee foursome led by mentor/ringer David Chung – a young San Francisco businessman who was runner-up at the US Amateur in 2010 when he was a Stanford junior –posted a gross score of 16-under-par 56. This was two shots better than the 58 posted by a Cal Club team led by former PGA touring pro Roger Tambellini. 
 
Winner
Team Fandel Shot 54!
 
Then, in the sunny, breezy afternoon round, the golf got really serious, as two teams shot gross scores of 18-under-par 54. A team from the Silicon Valley private equity firm Silver Lake, composed of young principals Kyle Paster and Mike Widmann and their friends Tom Logan and Jimmy Cacho, rolled-in 16 birdies, one par, and one eagle. Less conventionally, a Fandel Retail team comprised of Clayton Fandel, Ryan Macaulay, Matt Regnart, and Max Stillman -  all golf team alumni from Pacifica’s Terra Nova High School - had four eagles, including hole-outs from the fairway at Holes 10 and 14 – enroute to their 54.  
 
Tournament winners
So did Team Silver Lake!
 
So of course we had to play it off – with a closest-to-the-pin shootout from the 150 yard marker in the center of the fairway to the 10th green, in front of the clubhouse. The teams hit alternate shots toward the pin from all four team members. The third to shoot for Team Fandel was 25-year-old Max Stillman, a server at Nick’s Restaurant in Pacifica, who in the Fall will attend U.C. Davis to study golf architecture. Earlier in the day, Max had holed his shot from 130 yards on the same 10th  hole. This time, his shot from 150 yards hit the pin and lipped-out of the hole, coming to rest 18 inches away, drawing a shout from the gallery. Silver Lake captain Kyle Paster, the last person to hit, came up 10 feet short of the pin. And that was that. 
 
Shot of the Day
Shot of the Day! Max Stillman’s ball sits 18” from the pin at 10
as Kyle Paster strikes the playoff’s final shot.
 
Other notable scores and shots from a long day of golf came from: Lyn Nelson, Julie Gonzalez, Terrence Yallop, and Devin Dougherty   (Low Women’s Team, 69); Closest-to-the-pins Jay Blasi (4’10”), Peter Gleichenhaus (7’8”), Cat Colima (13’2”), Linda Kress (18’10”), and Gail Rogers (19’7”). Prizes were also awarded for the day’s average and highest scores, but modesty forbids more detail in these columns.
 
In addition to San Francisco First Tee, junior teams included the Oakland and Silicon Valley First Tees, and high school teams from Lowell, St. Ignatius, and Terra Nova in Pacifica. 
 
A Gallery of photos from a great day (in no particular order):
 
Sharp  Park Sign
A good sign.  
 
Bo Links and Butch Larroche
Historic Clubhouse. Public Golf Alliance co-founder Bo Links
and Sharp Park Golf Club president Butch Larroche.
 
A cup of kindness -  Golf Alliance co-founder Bo Links and
Sharp Park Golf director Jeff Volosing at the bar
 
NCGA
NCGA:  Poppy Holding CEO Brad Shupe, with NCGA Directors Gail Rogers
and Stacy Baba, continue the NCGA’s long-time support for Sharp Park.
 
That’s Emmy -  California Alliance for Golf Director Emmy Moore-Minister, with 
Joel Stewart and past USGA Executive Committeeman Dr. Merton Goode.  
 
The Architect
 
Sharp Park Heros raise the flag
Raising the Flag on No. 14 - Sharp Park heroes Joel Stewart, Chuck Diakon, and Bill Clements.
 
Tambellini Foursome
You’re telling me 58 isn’t good enough?  - Former PGA touring professional Roger Tambellini led his team of 
Dawnet Beverley, Jimmy Chian, Linda and Mike Kress to a gross 58, the second-lowest score in the morning.  
 
Sign-in
Sign-in -  Tournament co-director Lisa Villasenor (glasses) at the desk.
 
Message on 17th Tee
Tee Prize and Essential Message - Mike Wallach, Bob Feldscher,
Brad Knipstein & Stuart Jones on 17th tee.
 
Red Sox
Bright red sox. Kish Rajan and Tom Isaak (seated) discuss sartoria beside the practice green.
 
Richard Harris
Just happy it’s over. - Tournament co-chairman Richard Harris heads for the BBQ line.
 
Pracitce Tee
Practice green. - Yui-Hay Lee warms up his putter on a cold, foggy morning.
 
Burgers on the grill
Lunch line. - Burgers on the grill, with the third hole and Sweeney Ridge in the background. 
 
St Ignatious Girls on the Green
St. Ignatians on the 10th Green. - Caitlin Colina, sisters Esme and Monsie Fiero, and Grace Bettis. 
 
Lowell Girls on the Tee
Lowell Girls at 11th Tee. - Denise Moi and Stephanie Sunga.  
 
18th Green
Green with a view. - 18th green, with the Pacific in the distance
 
Birdie putt on 13th
Birdie putt on the13th green.  
 
Approaching 2nd hole
Approach to No. 2. - Scott Mitchell poses while teammate Curt Vass scopes
the yardage and Ashvin Sangoram and Donn Levine look on hopefully.
 
Dave Estas on the Tee
Lake Merced Club President David Estas tees-off on Hole No. 1.
 

Special thanks to our generous sponsors, donors of our fabulous silent auction prizes, enthusiastic volunteers from our co-hosts, the Sharp Park Men’s and Sharp Park Business Women’s Golf Clubs, and to our other co-hosts, the Alister MacKenzie Foundation, Pacifica Historical Society, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, the NCGA and Southern California Golf Associations, PGA Tour, Fandel Retail Group, and Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.     Please see the Sponsors Page from our Tournament Program (Below) for a complete list.  

Save Sharp Park Sponsors 1 Save Sharp Park Sponsors 2

Finally, a grateful tip of the hat to: Greens Superintendent Michael Catanzaro and his SF Rec and Park Department greenskeeping crew; Mark Duane, Kevin Ramsey and the rest of the staff at Sharp Park Golf Course; Emmy Moore Minster, Brad Knipstein, Mike Wallach, and Bo Links for sharing their photographs. 

 


In Memory of Sandy Tatum

Jun 24, 2017

Sandy Tatum at Sharp Park

Sandy Tatum, the Grand Old Man of San Francisco public golf, died Thursday, June 22.  His death came two weeks shy of his 97th birthday, and four months after the passing of his wife of 67 years, Barbara Snyder Tatum.

Sandy’s many gifts are reflected in his accomplishments:  1942 NCAA individual golf champion, Rhodes Scholar, partner in the international law firm Cooley LLP, President of the United States Golf Association (1978-80), and father of six.  

His passion for golf, the force of his intellect, and his personal charm made him a role model and mentor to many, including 5-time British Open winner Tom Watson, who said of his friend:
 “. . . he was priceless... because of both his intellect and the elegant way his mind worked.....  Along with his absolute passion for golf, he was a man of integrity, respect, and humor.” 
In his long-time home town of San Francisco, Sandy is best remembered as a champion of public golf – the driving force behind the 2003 renovation of Harding Park, and founder of the First Tee of San Francisco.
 
Sandy Tatum at #SaveSharp Park Tournament
Sandy Tatum on the 18th green at Sharp Park in the 2014 Alister MacKenzie tournament ,with Bryant Williams, Murray Bodine and Jim Williams.
 
In the last decade of his life, Sandy enlisted in the battle of Sharp Park, where he was a regular at the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance’s annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park.   “They have let it go to seed,” he said of the 85-year-old public seaside links, which he characterized as “a priceless recreational resource which is also an historic treasure.”
 
In a still-strong voice at age 91, Sandy on December 5, 2011 declared his passion for public golf and love of Sharp Park in public hearing testimony to the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, in opposition to legislation designed to close the golf course, authored by then-Supervisor John Avalos. [Sandy appears at 3:59:45 - 4:02:23 of this LINK]
 
“My name is Sandy Tatum.  I’m here because I’m so thoroughly concerned about what I think this legislation is heading to do.  And that is to destroy a priceless recreational resource which also is an historic treasure.  You know, . . . considering golf in a political setting, the misrepresentations and misunderstandings about the game are legion -- and they do mislead.  Fact is that golf is not an elitist game.  It’s anything but.  Eighty percent of the golfers in this country are public course golfers.  And more than 90% of the [golf] games that are played . . . in any given year are played on public courses.  So public golf is the heart and soul of the game. . .  [Golf is a] . . . priceless recreational resource [that engages] . . . the physical, [mental, and emotional] aspects of recreation,  . . .  in the context of aesthetic features that make those assets very, very, very effective. . . .  So I would urge that you act so as not to destroy something so absolutely wonderful.”
Sandy Tatum will be remembered by all who play the game, and in particular by the San Francisco public golfers playing the courses he fiercely defended and protected. 
 

Sandy Tatum, distinguished golf ambassador, dies at 96 - Ron Kroichik - San Francisco Chronicle

"Frank “Sandy” Tatum, who had a profound influence on golf in Northern California and throughout the United States — including spearheading the renovation of Harding Park — died Thursday morning. He was 96... Bo Links, a local golf historian and longtime friend of Mr. Tatum, paid tribute to his influence on the game. “Golf lives and thrives in San Francisco because of Sandy,” Links said Thursday night. “And when golfers pass by Sandy’s Rock behind the first tee at Harding Park, they would do right to stop and say thanks. His work and his memory will live on forever.”

What Golf Will Miss Most About Sandy Tatum - Jaime Diaz - Golf World

"It all led to the “moment”— when his words calmly flowed with an extraordinary strength—what I later described as a “True Believer in the True Game preaching the gospel of his life.” -  “Playing golf has all kinds of wonderful benefits for people, particularly on a quality golf course,” he said. “And that’s such a vital factor in what we’ve been able to accomplish here. We are giving these people something they can treasure and will matter immeasurably in their lives. Golf is anything but trivial. As the problems in the world become more terrible, this game is more important—on a sociological basis—than it has ever been. It’s a life enhancer and a life extender. There’s no question about that. It has everything that you can add from a game to somebody’s life.” ... When Tatum had to finally stop playing golf two years ago, he continued to pour his energies into personal passions—the successful saving of Sharp Park, serving as a sounding board for today’s golf administrators and helping The First Tee of San Francisco thrive."

Remembering Sandy Tatum, a golf ambassador with an unadulterated love of the game - Michael Bamberger

"Tatum was a first-order clubman, to be sure, but his heart was all over San Francisco's public golf scene. The clubhouse at Harding Park bears his name, for the work he did in overseeing its restoration. His devotion to San Francisco's First Tee program and the kids who came through it was thorough and genuine. Watson will tell you that there were few people on this earth, if any, who had more unadulterated love of the game than Tatum. He enriched the golfing lives of more people than he could possibly know. He took deep pride in the role he played in the golfing life of a San Francisco public golfer named Alexandra Wong, who played her way to Princeton. To Sandy, golf and an education were the great equalizers. "

A Life Devoted to Golf: Remembering Sandy Tatum - David Shefter - USGA

"In 1997, he spearheaded the effort to renovate Harding Park, the crown jewel of San Francisco’s municipal golf courses. The annual site of the San Francisco City Championship, the course had gone into disrepair, and Tatum came up with a plan to revitalize the layout. With help from other city leaders, Tatum saw his vision come to fruition. The $16 million renovation included a chapter of The First Tee and a nine-hole short course.  Shortly after it reopened for play, Harding Park landed the 2006 WGC-American Express Championship as well as the 2009 Presidents Cup. The Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the season-ending event on the PGA Tour Champions, was played at Harding three times (2010, 2011 and 2013). The course is set to host the 2020 PGA Championship.  “Sure I am going to play Harding,” Tatum told Golf Digest. “What I really look forward to is the first City Championship after all the work. It will again be a premier amateur event. God, I loved playing in ‘The City.’”

“Well played, Mr. Tatum,” a memory of Sandy and the First Tee at McLaren Park

In an e-mail to the the patrons of Gleneagles Golf Club in McLaren Park,  Tom Hsieh, a long-time friend of San Francisco Public Golf Alliance and proprietor of Gleneagles GC, remembers Sandy Tatum’s role in convincing the Gleneagles golfers to foster the young golfers from the First Tee program at the nearby Visitacion Valley Middle School. An excerpt: 
"The First Tee of San Francisco was new to The City, shepherded by Sandy Tatum along with his monumental effort to restore Harding Park just years earlier. When word leaked that The First Tee could be coming to Gleneagles, few golfers thought it was a good idea, those who did kept quiet and some were outright against it ... The beer flowed and Sandy Tatum pressed the flesh ... For a rare hour or so the clubhouse at Gleneagles was full of golfers and only one man was speaking: 
 
"You cannot fathom some of the circumstances these young people go home to day in and day out," Mr. Tatum attested to the group of municipal golfers. "Some of these youngsters have none of the basic necessities to help fulfill themselves to their full potential.  Our program can fill that void because the game of golf builds character and has for me ... and I know it has for you.  It is our moral imperative to help save these children through our game. And it will."
 
Sandy Tatum's words rang with such gravitas and truth that even the most strident opponents to the First Tee melted away into collective head nodding and an eventual wave of applause that filled the room at his conclusion. Today, thousands of children have played golf at Gleneagles and other courses through The First Tee of San Francisco and Visitacion Valley.  No doubt, many lives have been changed and some have been saved.  Just as Mr. Tatum promised.
 
At the end of the night and on his way out he humbly whispered,  "Well, how did we do?" 
 
You did a fine job, sir.  A damn fine job."

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance co-founder Bo Links remembers...

"Golf has lost a great friend. Sandy Tatum was the Abraham Lincoln of the game. The light from his glorious life will shine on fairways near and far for a thousand years. Godspeed to his wonderful family.  So many lives affected. So much good that he did. Truly a man for the ages."

 


On-line bidding for the silent auction is now closed. Thanks to all who participated.

May 23, 2017

Sharp Park Benefit On-line Auction
 
The Sixth Annual Alister MacKenzie Benefit Tournament to Save and Preserve Sharp Park is Saturday, June 3, but  on-line bidding for the silent auction is open now!
 
UPDATE:  On-Line bidding for the silent auction closed at 10pm PDT Wed May 31. The silent auction will continue in-person at the tournament at Sharp Park on June 3. 
 
Great courses, great values and Golden State Warrior collectibles are among the fantastic items you'll find in this year's auction.  Bid on: Three days of all the golf you and your foursome can play plus two nights lodging at America’s No. 1 golf resort – Bandon Dunes; A foursome at the ultra-private Friar’s Head Golf Links on Long Island – ranked #19 in the newest Golf Digest list of America’s greatest course; A one-month international membership with unlimited golf plus guest privileges at Murcar Links in the dunes by the North Sea adjacent to Royal Aberdeen in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 
 
And then there are foursomes at Spyglass Hill, Pasatiempo, Poppy Hills, Pacific Grove, Meadow Club, Cal Club, Claremont, Stanford, Silverado, Lake Merced, Mira Vista, Callippe Preserve, Poppy Ridge, Wente Vineyards, Presidio, Bodega Harbour, Foxtail, Crystal Springs, Metropolitan, and you name it. 
 
The Warriors have tossed-in a 2017 team-autographed basketball, plus Warriors jerseys signed by Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. 
 
All these auction items are thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and fellow-members of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance. All auction proceeds go to our ongoing campaign to Save Sharp Park. Thank you in advance for your participation and generous support for the cause.
 
How the Auction Works:
 
The auction will open for online bidding May 24 Noon PDT and will close on Wednesday, May 31 10pm PDT. The auction will then continue in-person only on June 3rd at Sharp Park, at the Sixth Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park.
 
The highest bid from the online auction will serve as the starting bid at the June 3 in-person silent auction at Sharp Park. The winning bidder will be the highest bid - whether online or in-person - as of the close of the in-person auction on June 3rd at 7:30pm PDT.
 
We will be contacting highest online bidders on June 1-2 to confirm your bid with a credit card. Please be sure to include the best phone number and/or email for us to reach you when you sign-up to participate in the auction, and have your credit card handy for pre-authorization over the phone or email.
 
All proceeds from the auction will go to our ongoing campaign to Save Sharp Park Golf Course. Thank you in advance for your participation and generous support for the cause.
 
 
How to Start Browsing and Bidding:
 
  1. Visit the Auction Website: [CLICK HERE
  2. Click on the menu or login button on the top-right of the webpage,  or open any auction item, and then click, "Create an Account."
Winning Bids and Payments:
 
It is important that we communicate with you via phone or email BEFORE 6pm PDT on June 2 to confirm your online bid and obtain your credit card information; otherwise, we may not be able to honor your online bid.
 
You are also welcome to call or email to provide us with your credit card information in advance, in anticipation of potentially being the highest online bidder:
 
Richard Harris: 415-290-5718, richard@sfpublicgolf.org 
Sarah Lau: SarahLauSF@gmail.com
 
If your bid is the final winning bid at the in-person auction, then your credit card will be processed for payment; if your bid is not the winning bid, then you will not be charged, and your credit card information will not be saved.
 
Please include the best email and phone number for us to reach you when you sign-up to participate in the auction.
 
Thank you for your generous support for the cause and good luck. Let the bidding begin!
 
Information about the Event and Cause:
 
The 6th Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park is hosted by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, Sharp Park Men's and Women's golf clubs, Pacifica Historical Society, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation.
 
The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance's goal is to nurture and defend affordable, eco-friendly public golf in San Francisco for future generations by encouraging public golf throughout all segments of the community, and by caring for San Francisco's heritage public golf courses. One of these is Sharp Park, an historic seaside links, designed by the preeminent architect Alister MacKenzie, who also designed Augusta National, Cypress Point, and many of the world’s most highly-esteemed courses. Sharp Park is one of MacKenzie’s rare public courses, and together with the Eden Course at St. Andrews, his only seaside public links. 

 


Saving Sharp Park - The Press And The Big Picture

Apr 1, 2017

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:

"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:
"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:
"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."
"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’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... 
"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.

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

 


Sign up now for the Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Preserve Sharp Park - June 3!

Mar 7, 2017

 
Sign-up for Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park, June 3
 
It's time to sign up for the Sixth Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament at Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica.  This year’s celebration takes place on Saturday, June 3.
 
This year we have cause to celebrate. Concluding 8 years of hard-fought politics and lawsuits, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in February voted 9-1 for a balanced plan to maintain the historic 18-hole links, while recovering snake and frog habitat in the Laguna Salada wetlands on the course’s west side. [CLICK HERE].  
 
 
Sharp Park remains stunningly beautiful.  But much work needs to be done to renovate this 85-year-old diamond-in-the-rough: we have plans to draw, agencies to persuade, friends to make.  So we're still fundraising, and – more than ever -- we need your interest, your involvement and your financial support.  Please join us – and bring your friends -- for the Sixth Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park, Saturday, June 3, 2017.  
 
 
In case you missed it - or just want to be reminded how much fun we had – here is the photo report of our 2016 tournament [CLICK HERE] and SFPGA co-founder Bo Links on why the effort to save and preserve Sharp Park is so important:
 

Don't Wait!
  • Sign-up as a Sponsor - or help us find a Sponsor.
  • Make a silent auction donation of a guest 4-some at your golf course, golf lessons, or other goods
  • Save June 3 on your calendar, and pick your tee time:  morning (7:30 a.m) or afternoon (12:30 p.m.)
  • See the Entry and Sponsorship Form [Linked Here].
  • Sign-up your friends  Submit your entry forms.  
 
We hope to see you June 3!
 
Save Sharp Park!
 
-- Richard Harris and  Bo Links
   San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
   415-290-5718
 
   info@sfpublicgolf.org
 

 


San Francisco Supervisors Vote to Move Sharp Park Plan Forward

Mar 4, 2017

A full house and hours of public commentary at the February 28 San Francisco Board of Supervisor Hearing  
 
PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release
March 6, 2017
 
SHARP PARK PLAN MOVES FORWARD
Historic “Working-man’s golf course” to Remain Open with SF Supervisors’ Support
 
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – After eight years of non-stop political battles, efforts to preserve the historic Sharp Park Golf Course have received a long-term commitment from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
 
Roll Call
Board of Supervisors President London Breed calls for a vote
 
By a 9-1 vote on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the Supervisors certified a Final Environmental Report for a Sharp Park Restoration Plan that recognizes the historical significance of the 85-year old links designed by Alister MacKenzie, one of world’s most famous golf course architects.  Specifically, the Supervisors: 
 
  • Approved the continued operation of the 18-hole public course, owned by San Francisco but located in its beachside suburb of Pacifica;
  • Designated the seaside links as “Historic Resource Property” under the California Environmental Quality Act; and 
  • Allowed modification of three holes along the margins of Laguna Salada, a freshwater marsh in the center of the course, to enhance habitat for the endangered San Francisco garter snake and the protected California red-legged frog, on condition that the changes be consistent with the golf course’s historic architectural character.  
A handful of environmentalist groups, including Wild Equity Institute, the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, a couple of local Audubon societies, National Parks Conservation Association, and, for a while, Center for Biological Diversity, had for years opposed San Francisco’s Sharp Park Plan. They had demanded closure of the course to protect the frogs and snakes, but since 2009 these opponents had lost a series of fights over the golf course in San Francisco city agencies and before the California Coastal Commission, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and other state and federal resources agencies. In 2012 and again in 2015, four different state and federal courts dismissed lawsuits from the anti-golf activists.  They lost at every turn.
 
The California Coastal Conservancy and several resources agency and court decisions noted that construction of the golf course in the early 1930’s severed connection between the Pacific Ocean and Laguna Salada, thereby converting what had been a brackish marsh into suitable habitat for the freshwater frogs and snakes, which were first found at Sharp Park in 1946, 14 years after the course was opened.   In a 2015 decision in favor of San Francisco’s Sharp Park plans, the Coastal Commission emphasized the importance of balancing the historic public recreation value of the golf course with the need to protect endangered species.   
  
On its Feb. 28 agenda, the SF Board of Supervisors was scheduled to hear yet another appeal, from the same environmentalist groups, challenging December 2016 decisions by the San Francisco Planning and Recreation & Park Commissions certifying a Final EIR and adopting the Sharp Park Restoration Plan as part of the Rec & Park Department’s comprehensive San Francisco Natural Areas Plan.  But when it came time for the anti-golf appellants to put on their case, their attorney Michael Lozeau dramatically announced his clients were withdrawing their appeal, in consideration for a minor Rec & Park concession on the placement of dredging spoils.  
 
At that point, 50-plus San Francisco Public Golf Alliance members who came to City Hall to testify – working men and women, retirees, and students from across San Francisco’s  broad ethnic and social spectrum – happily went home.  During the two weeks before the hearing, the golfers submitted over 1,000 e-mails and mostly-hand-signed letters, pleading the case for their beloved Sharp Park.
 
Michael Berg, Elaine Harris, Paul Slavin
Michael Berg, Elaine Harris, and Paul Slavin speak for seniors, students, and history
 
The golfers’ message resonated with the Supervisors.  Voting with the 9-1 majority to certify the Natural Areas Plan Final EIR, Supervisor Ahsha Safai – whose southern San Francisco district is near Sharp Park – noted:
 
Supervisor Ahsha Safai
Supervisor Ahsha Safai
“The irony of it all . . . that we have an existing working-man’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.”  
Thanks to the Supervisors’ vote, neither the irony nor the golf course will be lost. 
 
“There’s still a lot of work to be done to restore MacKenzie’s masterpiece at Sharp Park,” concluded Golf Alliance co-founder Bo Links, “but now the wind is at our back."
 
SFPGA co-founder Bo Links
 
 
# # #
 
Contact:   San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
Richard Harris:  richard@sfpublicgolf.org; 415-290-5718
Bo Links:  bo@slotelaw.com; 415-393-8099
 
Sources:  
Letter from San Francisco Public Golf Alliance to SF Planning Commission (12.12.16 - LINK)
Letter from San Francisco Public Golf Alliance to SF Board of Supervisors (2.17.17 - LINK)
SFGovTV, video of Feb. 28, 2017 Board of Supervisors hearing: [LINK HERE] at 3:23:58 (hearing begins);  3:34:15-3:35:00 and 3:37:20-3:28:50 (Lozeau);  and 6:36:28-6:38:48 (Safai) 

 


In Memorium: Barbara Tatum October 7, 1924 - February 4, 2017

Feb 12, 2017

The San Francisco golf community lost a great friend and supporter last week with the passing of Barbara Tatum, wife of former USGA President Sandy Tatum, a pillar of San Francisco golf and the driving force behind the 2002-2003 renovation of Harding Park. Barbara passed away February 4, at the age of 92. Donations may be made in her name to the Children’s Theater Association of San Francisco per the San Francisco Chronicle obituary published February 11:   

Barbara Emily Snyder Tatum
October 7, 1924 - February 4, 2017
 
Barbara Tatum
Born in Santa Cruz, California, Barbara attended Mission Hill and completed high school at Castilleja. After graduating from Stanford, she took a train across the continent and a ship across the Atlantic to marry Frank "Sandy" Tatum at Oxford, England in 1949. They raised their six children in San Francisco, where she cultivated in them an appreciation for all of the art, music, and theater the city had to offer, and introduced them to Joni Mitchell, Bill Evans, and Dvorak. Her first love was classical piano, which she played for hours every day, giving it up just weeks before she died. 
 
Barbara also instilled in her children a love of books, and they will miss being able to share that love with her. She liked camping, fishing, and playing golf with her friends, and escaped to spend time at Potbelly Beach whenever possible. Known to her family as B.E.S.T., she and Sandy lived for three months in the South of France, and she never gave up studying the language, painstakingly translating texts in French. 
 
Barbara was proud of each and every one of her children and grandchildren, and for her family and many friends, there was no one quite like her. She leaves behind her husband Frank "Sandy" Tatum, her brother Bert B. Snyder, her children Jeffery Anne, Timothy (Kate), Peter, Christopher (Ruth), Victoria (Blue), and Shelley (Michael), as well as eleven grandchildren. The family plans to gather privately at Potbelly Beach in the spring to honor her memory. 
 
Donations can be made in her name to:
Children's Theater Association of San Francisco
3450 Sacramento Street, PMB 442
San Francisco, CA 94118-1914

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance membership sends its heartfelt condolences to Sandy Tatum, and the entire Tatum family.

 


New Year… New Challenges. A letter from the Founders of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.

Jan 3, 2017

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance - New Year
 
Dear Friends of Public Golf, 
 
The new year is a time for reflect, to look back on our progress and look forward to the challenges ahead.  
 
When we founded the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance in 2009, we were alarmed at the imminent threat to our beautiful and historic public courses. Our mission then was the same as our mission today:
"Our goal is to nurture and defend affordable, eco-friendly public golf in San Francisco for future generations, by encouraging public golf throughout all segments of the community, and by caring for San Francisco's heritage public golf courses."
In 2016 we moved closer to those goals. It was another very good year for San Francisco public golf and in particular for our civic jewel - the historic Alister MacKenzie muni masterpiece at Sharp Park:
 
  • Most recently, the San Francisco Planning and Rec & Park Commissions on December 15 approved a Final Environmental Impact Report and Natural Areas Plan Sharp Park Plan. The plan recognizes the historic, recreational and community values of the18-hole Sharp Park Golf Course, and strikes a balance with the need to improve habitat for the frogs and snakes that inhabit the Sharp Park wetlands.  This was a victory for golfers and common-sense environmentalists alike.  Three holes may need to be modified to accommodate the habitat, but we will continue to work with the City of San Francisco to preserve, protect and enhance Sharp Parks's historic architectural integrity. Thanks to all who wrote letters and showed-up to testify at the Commissions’ December 15 public hearing. 
  • File this one under "Addition Through Subtraction"... 2016 was the first year since 2011 that there was no active legal action against the Sharp Park Golf Course, the City of San Francisco and/or SF Recreation & Park Department plans for the park. For that we owe a debt of gratitude to the law offices of City Attorney Dennis Hererra and our friends at Morrison Foerster who together beat back every legal challenge. 
  • The new greens at Holes 4, 5, 6, and 7 were opened for play in Spring, 2016.  Thanks to head greenskeeper Almar Valenzuela and his small-but-mighty crew for their excellent work on the new greens.   
  • Sharp Park and SF public golf supporters SFPGA Director Lisa Villasenor and Lynn Nelson, Chair of the Mayor's Women’s Golf Council, joined Mayor Ed Lee at the Executive Women's Golf Day, kicking off the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic tournament at Lake Merced.  These events are evidence of what many are saying - the surge of participation in women’s golf is the future of the game. 
  • The Fifth Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament, held in June, 2016, was a great success, raising consciousness, community support, and funds for the Alliance’s ongoing battle to Save Sharp Park.  We introduced our first on-line silent auction with great golf adventures and goods made available from our fantastic sponsors. Thanks to all who participated, brought teams, and participated in the fun and fesitivites.  

 
2017 will bring new challenges in fending-off the anti-golf zealots’ attacks and new opportunities to enhance the historic integrity of Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park.
 
  • As noted above, the extremist eco-litigators bent on destroying Sharp Park Golf have taken quite a bruising in the courts over the last few years. They've returned to the political battlefield hoping for a more favorable hearing of their tired, false, discredited, and dismissed misrepresentations about the course. We have a new Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, some of whom will be hearing these issues for the first time. We'll need your help to show the new Board public support for our municipal gems. Stay tuned!
  • Planning is underway for the  Alister MacKenzie Benefit  Tournament again in early June, 2017. It's always a great time and helps fund our Save Sharp Park efforts. Tell your friends and watch this space.
  • We will continue to work with public agencies and officials in San Francisco, San Mateo County, and Pacifica towards the goal of striking a win-win balance renovating Alister MacKenzie’s historic links and recovering habitat for frogs and snakes.
Hang in there with us!
 
  Richard Harris - President         Bo Links - Vice President
Richard HarrisBo Links
 
San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
Contact: Info@SFPublicGolf.Org

 


SF Recreation & Park and Planning Commissions Approve Natural Areas Management Final Environmental Impact Report and Sharp Park Plan

Dec 22, 2016

SF Rec Park Natural Resource Management Plan - Sharp Park Map

 After six hours of public comment before two key San Francisco commissions, Sharp Park Golf Course cleared another hurdle last week.  By a combined 11-1 vote, the San Francisco Planning and Recreation & Park Commissions  approved RECPARK's comprehensive city-wide Natural Areas Management Plan, including a Sharp Park Restoration Plan to retain Alister MacKenzie’s historic 18-hole golf course while enhancing frog and snake habitat in the Laguna Salada wetlands.

SF Rec Park Planning Commission Meeting Public Comment

San Franciscio Examiner / Bay City News:  SF appeal likely following commission approval of Natural Areas Management Plan

"A plan to manage a number of natural areas in San Francisco and San Mateo counties was approved by planning and recreation and parks officials Thursday, but is likely to face an appeal from opponents. The environmental impact report for a 20-year plan to manage San Francisco’s natural areas was approved unanimously by the Recreation and Park Commission and 6-1 by the Planning Commission after a lengthy joint hearing Thursday...
 
The golf course has been the subject of repeated litigation with environmental groups over the years due to the presence of wetlands habitat on the course and endangered red-legged frogs and San Francisco garter snakes. City officials have described the plans for the golf course included in the environmental impact report as a habitat restoration project that would include relocating the 12th hole, improving a wetlands area and creating more uplands habitat for snakes."
Pacitica Tribune: Sharp Park Golf Course lives another day
"The Natural Areas planning process began in 1995, and always included habitat enhancements for endangered species at Sharp Park. Environmental and planning groups speaking in favor of the Natural Areas Plan included the Trust for Public Lands, San Francisco Parks Alliance, Nature in the City, Tree Frog Treks, SPUR (San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association) and the Presidio Trust. The Plan also received support from US Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who delivered a letter to the Commissions, urging continuation of golf course operations while modifying a few holes to improve frog and snake habitat.
 
A few anti-golf environmental groups, including the San Francisco Chapter of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and Wild Equity Institute, demanded that the Commissions “sever” Sharp Park from the Natural Areas Plan, and a new environmental review process be started for habitat improvements at the golf course. This demand was denied, with Rec and Park Commission President Mark Buell explaining that modifications to the course were not “golf development,” as the enviros claimed, but necessary habitat improvements for the endangered species."
Thanks to all those Public Golf Alliance members who wrote e-mails and letters, and especially to those who attended the public hearing and joined us testifying before the Commissions.  
 
Harris at SF Commission Hearing on SF Natural Resource PlanPaul Slavin at Testify to Committee
SFPGA President Richard Harris and Pacifica Historical Society President Paul Slavin 
speak in favor of the SF Rec & Park Natural Resource Management Plan

 

We will likely need more of the same kind of effort in January, when the anti-golf forces are expected to appeal the Commissions’ decision to the Board of Supervisors.You can enjoy the full 6+ hours of the Commission's meeting, public comment, and decision on SFGOV.TV [LINKED HERE].  Or you can review the 30 minutes of YouTube highlights and/or even more succinct (but complete) press relese below...

YouTube Highlights:

 

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance Press Release:

# # #

 

December 19, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
San Francisco Commissioners OK Natural Areas Parks Plan;
Approve Sharp Park Restoration to Save Golf, Frogs, and Snakes
 
San Francisco:   By a combined 11-1 vote, the San Francisco Planning and Recreation and Park Commissions on December 15 certified and adopted a Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Natural Areas Management Plan for 32 city-owned parks.  Among other things, the Plan would keep the 18-hole Sharp Park Golf Course open, but modify three holes to enhance wetland habitat for California red-legged frog and San Francisco garter snake.  The course was built in the early 1930’s by preeminent golf architect Alister MacKenzie, and is regarded as Historic Resource under California’s environmental laws.
 
The 5-0 vote of the Rec & Park Commission and 6-1 vote of the Planning Commission in favor of the Natural Areas Plan followed a 6 and ½-hour joint public hearing at San Francisco City Hall on December 15, and came after 21 years of scientific consulting, policy-making, political wrangling, hundreds of hours of public hearings, and a 7-year-long environmental impact review process.  
 
The Natural Areas Plan is designed to preserve fragments of native plant and animal habitat, while balancing traditional urban park uses, in 32 of the 220-plus parks within San Francisco’s sprawling public parks system.   
 
Support for the Plan at the December 15 public hearing came from US Congresswoman Jackie Speier, whose 14th Congressional District includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, and a host of national, regional, and local environmental, scientific, and urban planning organizations, including the Trust for Public Lands, Nature in the City, Presidio Trust, SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research), San Francisco Parks Alliance, and Tree Frog Treks, Robert Doyle, General Manager of the East Bay Parks District, and Erik Rosegard, Chair of San Francisco State University’s Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism.  Richard Harris, founder of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, endorsed the balanced Sharp Park habitat and golf restoration plan, saying, “golf is a recreation in nature, golfers respect nature and want to get along with nature.”  Several plan advocates urged the Commissioners to finally move forward with the Plan after over 20 years in development.  “Glaciers melt faster than this,” one of the speakers commented, following the vote.  
 
The largest opposition to the plan came from neighborhood associations near Mt. Davidson, opposed to the Rec & Park plans to remove a percentage of the mature eucalyptus forest in that park.  Other opponents included spokespersons for dog-owner groups opposed to some of the Plan’s restrictions on off-leash dog-walking in and near the Natural Areas.  
 
Spokespersons for the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club, Wild Equity Institute, and the Audubon Society urged the Commissioners to vote-down the Plan unless the changes to the Sharp Park Golf Course to accommodate the frog and snake were removed from the Plan.  Led by Wild Equity, these groups have for many years fought to close the golf course and convert it entirely to a dedicated wetland for the frogs and snakes.  But their anti-golf efforts have repeatedly failed in previous tries at the Planning, Recreation and Park. and Public Utilities Commissions, the California Coastal Commission, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, and in lawsuits that were dismissed in 2012 by the US District Court for the Northern District of California and dismissed in 2015 by the San Francisco and San Mateo County Superior Courts, and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  
 
A Wild Equity spokesman said his organization will likely appeal the Commissions’ December 15 decision to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  
Kids at Sharp Park
 
# # #
 

   235 Montgomery St., Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94104 • 415-290-5718 •  info@sfpublicgolf.org    

 


Community Unites to Save Sharp Park at 5th Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament

Jun 13, 2016

2016 Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park

On June 4, an extraordinary association of local golfers, environmentalists, preservationists, public and private golf courses, San Francisco history buffs, golf architecture enthusiasts, premier Bay Area corporations and local civic leaders  joined a host of tournament volunteers, coaches, parents, and well-wishers at Sharp Park to enjoy Alister MacKenzie’s muni masterpiece. 

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the Mayor's Women's Golf Council Chair , Lyn Nelson

Our Fifth Annual Alister MacKenzie Benefit Tournament was a great success thanks to the local Players, Sponsors, Donors, Volunteers, and other friends of  Public Golf.  We cannot thank you enough for helping to Save Sharp Park!  

Over 250 golfers participated and enjoyed the full range of Sharp Park weather – breezy, sunny, overcast, you-name-it.  Tom Adams’ Video captured the festivities and Bo Links, San Francisco Public Golf Association Co-Founder, reminds us why this course is so important to so many. 

Attending were golf officials from the Northern and Southern California Golf Associations, the PGA Tour, the San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council, Mayors Ed Lee of San Francisco and Gary Phillips of San Rafael, San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission President Mark Buell, NBA basketball executive Kiki Vandeweghe, high school and First Tee players from San Jose, San Francisco, the Peninsula, and Oakland, and men and women muni and club players from all over the Bay Area.  

Lowell High School Girls Team

Lowell Laides Flash Victory Smiles

The day’s low scores were a 66 posted by the Lowell High Girls’ Team of Stephanie Sunga, Laureen Shew, and Juliana Dere (pictured above), an afternoon 68 posted by the NCGA women’s team of Gail Rogers, Jennifer Young, Stacey Baba and Brad Shupe, and 59’s posted by four different teams:   (1) Andy Miller, Elaine Harris, Doug Yarris, and Jim Mason; (2) Ron and Steve Saisi, Brian Cresta and Kyle Ortiz; (3) Dennis Ventry, Bob Kittle, Mark Ladining, and Bill Domhoff; and (4) Jay and Ian Johnston, Adam Tracy, and Pete Mangan.  Andrew Smothers and Lisa Villasenor won the men’s and women’s closest-to-the-pin contests at Hole #15, with shots to 5’6” and 11’, respectively.

2016 Alister MacKenzie Tournament Sponsors 
 
Special thanks to our generous sponsors, donors of our fabulous silent auction prizes, enthusiastic volunteers from our co-hosts, the Sharp Park Men’s and Women’s Golf Clubs, and to our other co-hosts, the Alister MacKenzie Foundation, Pacifica Historical Society, and Pacifica Chamber of Commerce.  Please see the Sponsors Page from our Tournament Program (above) for a complete list.  Finally, a grateful tip of the hat to Head Greenskeeper Almar Valenzuela and his small-but-mighty SF Rec and Park Department greenskeeping crew for true-rolling greens and some strategic tree pruning which opened beautiful vistas of the golf course.
 
See you down the fairway.
 
Save Sharp Park!  

 


UPDATE: Silent Auction to Save Sharp Park Ended! Thanks to all who contributed!

May 31, 2016

ON-LINE BIDDING ENDED 
THANKS EVERYONE!
 
 
The Fifth Annual Alister MacKenzie Benefit Tournament  to Save Sharp Park was on Saturday, June 4, but bidding reopened on remaining silent auction items for a few more days. The benefit auction featuring some great courses is  on-line now!
 
Minimum bids are reduced and great courses still available. Toscana in Palm Springs, Mira Vista in El Cerrito, Poppy Ridge in Livermore, Napa Golf Course and other Bay Area tracks are among the many exciting golf opportunities you have a chance to browse and bid on now! All these are thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and fellow members of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.
 
How the Auction Works:
 
The online auction has reopened for bidding and will close Thursday June 30.  The auction will then continue in-person on June 4th at Sharp Park, at the Fifth Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park. The highest bid from the online auction will serve as the starting bid at the June 4 in-person silent auction at Sharp Park. The winning bidder will be the highest bid - whether online or in person - as of the close of the in-person auction on June 4th at 7:30pm.
 
All proceeds from the auction will go to our ongoing campaign to Save Sharp Park Golf Course. Thank you in advance for your participation and generous support for the cause.
 
 
How to Start Browsing and Bidding:
 
  1. Visit the Auction Website: [CLICK HERE
  2. Click on, “Create an Account.” You will be prompted to enter some basic information (e.g. name, email address, phone) and to verify your email address.
 
Winning Bids and Payments:
 
Please include the best email and phone number for us to reach you when you sign-up to participate in the auction.
 
Winning bidders will receive an email with payment details shortly after the online auction closes. Please respond to that email, or complete the payment process, within 72 hours. Payments can be made via Square, PayPal, Check, or over the phone.
 
You are also welcome to call or email Richard Harris (415-290-5718; rharrisjr1@gmail.com) or to email Sarah Lau (SarahLauSF@gmail.com) to provide them with your credit card information.
 
Thank you for your generous support for the cause and good luck. Let the bidding begin!
 
Information about the Event and Cause:
 
The Fifth Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park is hosted by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, Sharp Park Men's and Women's golf clubs, Pacifica Historical Society, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation.
 
The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance's goal is to nurture and defend affordable, eco-friendly public golf in San Francisco for future generations by encouraging public golf throughout all segments of the community, and by caring for San Francisco's heritage public golf courses. One of these is Sharp Park.
 
Sharp Park Golf Course is an historic seaside links, designed by the preeminent architect Alister MacKenzie, who also designed Augusta National (home of the Masters Tournament), Cypress Point, and many of the world’s most highly-esteemed courses. Sharp Park is one of MacKenzie’s rare public courses, and together with the Eden Course at St. Andrews, his only seaside public links. 

 


Executive Women’s Golf Day a Big Hit at Swinging Skirts Tournament

Apr 27, 2016

At the Executive Womens Golf Day With Mayor Ed Lee at Swinging Skirts Julie Inkster and Kay Cockerill at Executive Womens Golf Event

Congratulations to Women’s Golf Council President Lyn Nelson, to Mayor Ed Lee, and to the San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council for a great event to kick off the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic tournament last week.  The Executive Women's Golf Day at Lake Merced Golf Club was about  women’s golf, sisterhood, and networking.  Colin Resch of NBC Bay Area had the story:

"If power off the tee is want you are looking for, there will be plenty of that Thursday through Sunday, but if power in the boardroom is your thing, that happened today."

As recently reported in Bloomberg, the explosive growth of women in golf is critical to the future of the game:

“What’s cool is that there were 300,000 more females in the game of golf last year than the year before,” Mike Whan, commissioner of the LPGA since 2010, told Sports Line colleague Erik Matuszewski. “Last year, 180,000 new young girls joined the game. There hasn’t been an increase like that in forever.”

This trend was very much in evidence at the Swinging Skirts Tournament (Alan Shipnuck explains how "The Ladies Get it Right").  Great golf was on display with the best players in the game as the tournament was won on Sunday, April 23 by LPGA rising star - Haru Nomura

Japan's Haru Nomura wins Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

The excitement at the tournament was matched by the Executive Women's Golf Day event itself, as seen in social media posts by presenters and participants alike:

The LPGA highlighted Solheim Cup Captain Juli Inkster on Twitter:

Speaker Kay Cockerill of the Golf Channel on Twitter:

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance Director Lisa Villasenor on Facebook:

Amelia Thornton - Board Member of Youth On Course - Featured Juli Inkster and Kay Cockerill on Instagram:

 

Two of the greatest! @kcockerill @juliinkster #swingingskirts #invigorate2motivate @sfmwgc

A photo posted by @ameliattt on

 

It was a great event that was well received by all participants. As the world of women's golf continues to expand, with the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic now established as a premier event on the tour, we can expect the Executive Women's Golf Day will increase in prominence and importance every year. 

 


Register For Executive Women’s Day at Swinging Skirts Tournament

Apr 7, 2016

Juli Inkster

Juli Inkster, - LPGA Hall of Fame, 2-time US Open Champion and 2015 Solheim Cup Captain and Brandi Chastain - 1999 World Cup Champion
 

Two of the brightest stars in Bay Area sports -- two-time US Women’s Open champion Juli Inkster, and two-time Olympic soccer gold medalist Brandi Chastain -- will headline the Executive Women’s Golf Day at the Swinging Skirts Championship, to be held April 20, starting 9 a.m.  at Lake Merced Golf Club in South San Francisco.  Both Inkster and Chastain grew up in the Bay Area, and played their sports at San Jose State and University of Santa Clara, respectively. The Executive Women’s Day (see program below) is a half-day, open-to-the-public women’s golf, motivation, and networking event that will be a warm-up for the third annual Swinging Skirts Women’s Golf Championship, to be played at Lake Merced April 21-24.  

The event is co-sponsored by the San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council.  Tickets for the Executive Women’s Day are available here.   Tickets for one or more days of the Swinging Skirts Tournament are available here 

18 year-old golfing phenom Lydia Ko, the World’s Number One golfer and the 2014 and 2015 Swinging Skirts champion, will headline the outstanding field for the Swinging Skirts Tournament.  

 


The Fifth Annual Alister MacKenzie Benefit Tournament To Save Sharp Park

Mar 13, 2016

COME JOIN THE FUN!

Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park - June 4

At the 2015 Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park

Sign-ups are now open for Sponsors, Teams, and Players in the 2016 Alister MacKenzie Tournament, Saturday June 4 at Sharp Park, All proceeds go toward the ongoing campaign to save and renovate this seaside public golf gem.

Click here to download the entry and sponsorship form (in Adobe .pdf format). Click here to view a photo essay of all the fun we had at this tournament in 2015: 

Alister MacKenzie Tournament at Sharp Park

And check out this video from last year's great event...

... and this one from the First Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park on the the occasion of the historic landmark course's 80th anniversary celebration:


The $200 per player entry fee pays for a long day of fun, 18 holes of golf, a GREAT tee prize, and donation to the worthy cause of saving Alister MacKenzie's historic public Sharp Park golf links. The tournament format will be foursome scramble, gross score. We will have 2 shotguns: at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., with BBQ lunch for all at Noon; the day will conclude with a silent auction full of great golf deals, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and other festivities in the Clubhouse. 

We need Captains to sign-up foursomes early. So Save the Date. And line-up your teammates, fill in the entry blanks, and please return them to us by May 9. Please let us know right away if you will serve as a Team Captain. And let us know if you or anyone you know can Sponsor a Hole, or step up to be one of our honored Tournament Sponsors. 

The tournament will be hosted by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, together with the Sharp Park men's and women's golf clubsPacifica Historical Society, and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation. All proceeds go to our ongoing campaign to Save and Renovate Sharp Park Golf Course. 

Respond to: info@sfpublicgolf.org

Original Alister MacKenzie 1932 Sharp Park Routing

The Original Alister MacKenzie Sharp Park Routing in 1932

 


Photo Essay - Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park - May, 2015

Feb 23, 2016

WSGA Winners
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.
 
 
High 5 - Zwick and Nelson
High 5
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
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 was there to have fun.
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
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.
 
Mark Duane monitors the proceedings
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
Alister MacKenzie Foundation Director Larry Biehl tees-off on Hole 11.
With playing partners (L-R) Scott Gibson, Chris Reid, and Andy Reid.
 

Kay Cockerill
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.
 
Putting Wizard
Putting Wizard.  
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.
 
Focus
Focus.
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.
 
 
Samantha Glong
Big Hitter.  
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.
 
Schwabe Girls
Schwabe Girls.  
Amanda and Ashley Schwabe, St. Ignatius team players and daughters of local teaching pro Dan Schwabe, wait to tee off at Hole #1.  
 
 
First Tee Enrico Diaz
The golf bag weighs more than he does.  
But that’s not bothering San Francisco First Tee player Enrico Diaz.   
 
Under the Ping Banner
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.   
 
And Now a Word from our Sponsors... 
 
2015 Sponsors 1 2015 Sponsors 2
We cannot thank you enough!

 


Seaside Links and Alister MacKenzie top Golf Digest’s Rankings of the World’s 100 Greatest Courses

Jan 25, 2016

January 25, 2016
Sharp Park - Brad Knipstein
Alister MacKenzie's only Seaside Municipal Course - Sharp Park 
 
The world’s greatest golf courses are seaside links, and the greatest golf architect is Alister MacKenzie.
 
Such is the conclusion of Golf Digest Magazine, in their recently published 2016 list of World 100 Greatest Golf Courses. The magazine’s January, 2016 issue identifies 46 seaside links among the Top 100 courses.
 
Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point
Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point
 
Three of the World’s top six courses – Augusta National, Cypress Point, and Royal Melbourne – were designed by Alister MacKenzie.  No other architect has such a distinguished list.
 
Augusta National 
Alister MacKenzie's Augusta National and Royal Melbourne
 
Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten explains the dominance of seaside links in the exclusive ranking: 
“Much as life on earth, golf first emerged from the sea, taking root on sandy deltas and shorelines, what golfers now call linksland. . . Invariably, where there was sand, there was wind, … an essential element. Without it, golf was simply pub darts.  Grand early courses clung to the coastlines. . .  precious few [seaside settings] are still available in the United States...”
 
Olympic Club San Francisco Golf Club
Olympic Club and San Francisco Golf Club
 
Olympic Club (77) and San Francisco Golf Club (81) made the World’s Top 100 list.  Sharp Park – the seaside Alister MacKenzie-designed public links on the Pacifica shore -- did not.  But if you don’t have the plane fare or the connections to get to the starter’s desk at Augusta, Cypress Point, Royal Melbourne, Olympic, or San Francisco Club, and you want a taste of seaside links golf and Alister MacKenzie, and you do have $42 in your wallet for a weekday greens fee ($26 with a San Francisco / Pacifica resident’s card) – Sharp Park is a good bet. 
 
Sharp Park 17th Green Harding Park
San Francisco Municipal Gems - Sharp Park and Harding Park
 
By the way, Sharp Park is named, along with Harding Park, to Golfweek Magazine’s list of America’s Top 50 Municipal courses and featured in Golf Advisor's April 6, 2015 article - “Follow in the Footsteps of Augusta National Architect Alister MacKenzie at These Public Courses”:
"MacKenzie is synonymous with the magic and charm of the game," said Bo Links, a Bay Area author and lawyer who has spent countless hours working to save MacKenzie's Sharp Park Golf Course near San Francisco. "His courses, they excite you and exhilarate you. This is the one thought when you are done: 'I want to (play) that again.' There is no architect who had such a complete understanding of the game. His courses are not overly penal, not overly long. They are not easy. They are fun and exciting. It is like a puzzle. You have to figure it out."
Or, as Alister MacKenzie himself put it -  "The municipal courses in San Francisco are far superior to most municipal courses."

 


Photo: How To Promote San Francisco As A Golf Destination In 1933 (or 2016)

How To Promote San Francisco As A Golf Destination In 1933 (or 2016)

Jan 7, 2016by - Mike Wallach

Lincoln Park 17th Today
Lincoln Park's 17th tee in 1933 - sans Golden Gate Bridge, and the same tee box today  - with bigger, older trees and a bridge
 
In 1925 the San Francisco municipal golf course Harding Park, created by the designers of the neighboring Olympic Club, opened on the shores of Lake Merced. In 1932 San Francisco's newest municipal golf course opened at Sharp Park. Alister MacKenzie, the designer of Sharp Park and the game's most important architect, had this to say about San Francisco golf and his latest masterpiece:
 
"On the San Francisco Peninsula there is a wealth of good golfing territory. The sand dune country owned by the Olympic Club, which although not so spectacular as that on the Monterey Peninsula, is the finest golfing territory I have seen in America... The municipal courses in San Francisco are far superior to most municipal courses. The newest, which we constructed at Sharp Park... has a great resemblance to real links land. Some of the holes are most spectacular." - Alister MacKenzie - Spirit of St. Andrews
It was the golden age of golf course design. San Francisco was eager to show off its magnificent new courses. Hoping to draw tourists to the City, golf was front and center as a primary attraction to entice visitors from afar. This full page ad from the December, 1933 edition of the Saturday Evening Post featured an illustration of Lincoln Park's 17th tee. As a golfer, or a San Franciscan, you've got to love the copy:
 
Saturday Evening Post Advertisement for SF Golf December 1933
 
"Out on the very tip of the peninsula of San Francisco, right above the Golden Gate, there is a golf course. Playing there for the first time, you will have difficulty in keeping your mind on the game. 
 
Up three holes you top the crest of the hill, crowned by the classic Palace of the Legion of Honor. And suddenly there bursts upon you the wide sweep of the blue Pacific. Below the steep cliff that edges the fairway are the famous Seal Rocks and the Cliff House. Straight out thirty miles in shadowy outline, the Farallon Islands. And still on, a thousand leagues beyond the horizon, your mind may picture the Isles of the Pacific and the Oriental lands to which this  port of San Francisco has always been the gateway. South along the Coast for miles white-topped breakers roll in on the sandy beach, beside which run bridle paths and the Great Highway. 
 
Northward, you look squarely across the Golden Gate to Lime Point and the Marin hills, dominated by the purple bulk of Mount Tamalpais.  Pausing, looking over the sea and the city, you may recall James Bryce's comment that San Francisco; "like Constantinople and Gibraltar, combines a perfect landscape with what might be called an equally imperial position," noting that  "the city itself is full of steep hills rising from the deep water; the air keen, dry and bright, like the air of Greece, and the waters not less blue. Perhaps, you will agree, "it is this air and light, recalling the cities of the Mediterranean, that make one involuntarily look up to the tops of these hills for the feudal castle or the ruins of the Acropolis."  
 
Well, a long look, a deep breath of the sea-tanged air, and back to the pleasant business of smacking a golf ball down the green fairways. Each tee is a new glorietta with a new view of ocean, Golden Gate, or city. And as you reach the final holes, the town, spreading tier on tier, up over the hills, seems fabulous and magical in the rosy glow of the ending day. Later, ruddy with the tonic of San Francisco's out-of-doors and with the spray of the sea seemingly still in your nostrils, you are ready for a typical San Francisco evening..." 
Yeah, that's exactly how I feel after a round at Lincoln. I just can't wait to use the word "glorietta" with my foursome.
 
But that's exactly how to promote San Francisco as a golf destination. The hi-tech start-up hype from our SOMA marketeers had nothing on those depression-era promoters. Still - some of the copy is today quaintly out-of-date:
 
"Come by train, automobile, steamer or plane. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the nominal cost of living here."
If you come to San Francisco today, you may not be pleasantly surprised at the "nominal cost of living", but for a nominal fee, you can certainly enjoy our extraordinary and historic public courses

 


Happy Holidays! We have much to be thankful for in 2015

Nov 24, 2015

 
Happy Thanksgiving - Tasty Birdies
 
As we give thanks and enjoy the holiday season with friends and family, we look back on an eventful 2015 with gratitude and appreciation to the members, supporters and volunteers who support the mission of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.  A reminder of some of what we were thankful for over the last year:
 
2016 will bring new challenges in fending-off the anti-golf crowd’s attacks; and we will continue to work with public agencies and officials in San Francisco, San Mateo County, and Pacifica towards the goal of renovating Alister MacKenzie’s historic links, while recovering compatible habitat for frogs and snakes. Hang in there with us.
 
If, in this Season of Sharing, you can provide some financial help, in any amount, for our common fight to Save Sharp Park, we appreciate it . San Francisco Public Golf Alliance is a 501.c.3 non-profit, public benefit organization.
 
Here's to 2016!
Alister MacKenzie Toasts

 


Work Completed on First Phase of Sharp Park Renovation

Nov 16, 2015

SharP Park Pump House Project Plan
 
The first stage of habitat recovery and golf course renovation work at Sharp Park, pursuant to a June 1, 2015 permit from the California Coastal Commission was completed by San Francisco Recreation & Park Department in October.  
 
New Cart Path on 15
 New cart path on 15 
 
The work included construction of a new frog pond south of the Golf Course, pump house safety improvements, replacement of a culvert at the 12th hole, which collapsed during the course of the project, dredging of tulles in the Connecting Channel between Laguna Salada and Horse Stable Pond, and relocation of a paved cart path near the 15th tee and 14th green of the historic golf course.  This work, completed by the Sharp Park greenskeeping crew, working together with private contractors.
 
New green on 6 
 
Additionally, the Sharp Park greenskeepers in October-November, 2011, completed the rebuilding of Greens Nos. 4, 5, 6, and 7.  The renovated greens will be ready for play by Spring, 2016.  
 
Pump House BeforeSharp Park Pump House Infrastructure Under Construction
Before and After - Concrete bulkhead, retaining wall and partially dredged Horse Stable Pond
 
Pump House
This work will imrpove worker safety and enhance California Red Legged Frog breeding habitat
 
The remainder of the work – pictured in these photographs – is already in play by Sharp Park golfers.    
 
Connecting Channel, dredged of tullles at hole 12
Connecting Channel, on 12,dredged of  tulles to improve frog habitat 
 
It is worth noting that this work could have been completed years earlier were it not for the repeated, failed and dismissed lawsuits of eco-litigants bent on destroying the course. 
 
Repaired culvert and bridge at 12
Reconstructed culvert and bridge on 12th tee
 
Habitat recovery work still remains to be done at Sharp Park, along with renovation of the historic golf course itself. Plans for Phase Two work are currently undergoing environmental review in the San Francisco Planning Department. In coordination with San Francisco and San Mateo County. The non-profit San Francisco Public golf Alliance and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation stand  ready to support this effort.

 


San Mateo County Studies Sharp Park Partnership with City of San Francisco

Nov 12, 2015

Sharp Park
 
Sharp Park -- the historic, much loved, Alister MacKenzie designed, seaside municipal golf course in Pacifica --  is owned by the City of San Francisco, managed by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, but resides in San Mateo County.
 
Since the diverse students, retirees, and blue collar golfers who patronize the popular and affordable course are primarily San Francisco and San Mateo County residents, common sense dictates a regional partnership to manage the course would benefit all concerned.  Jane Northrup, writing for the Pacifica Tribune, reports that the first steps to forging just such civic partnership may be underway:
 
Pacifica Tribune article"San Mateo County may be one step closer to taking over the Sharp Park Golf Course from San Francisco. The county of San Mateo engaged a consultant to study the options. Supervisor Don Horsley said he eventually hopes to try and work out a long-term lease. “We don’t want it closed. We think it’s important for Pacifica and for people who want to play golf. The course is affordable,” he said...
 
San Francisco and San Mateo County have long realized the benefits of working together to ensure the future of the historic Sharp Park Golf Course. In Dec. 2011, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee wrote that the SF Recreation and Park Dept. and the County of San Mateo had for some time now been discussing ways “to create a mutually beneficial partnership for the long-term management of the golf course that could help fund the needed habitat restoration, and continue to support an affordable and popular recreational activity.”
 
In Jan. 2012, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution seeking negotiations with San Francisco on a cooperative management agreement at Sharp Park. Discussions delayed when, between 2012 and 2015, anti-golf environmental litigants brought three separate lawsuits in an effort to close the course. All three suits were eventually dismissed."
On November 3, San Mateo County Manager John Maltbie reported to San Mateo County Supervisors that he had assigned a consultant to conduct a financial study of the matter.  This will not be the only public report to consider the San Francisco / San Mateo County Partnership. 
 
The Pacifica Tribune article reports that completion of the San Mateo County study is still months away. We think that at least a preliminary report is likely by mid-December. In any event, it is at this point premature to speculate about the final form any potential San Francisco / San Mateo County Sharp Park partnership might take. The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance believes a mutually beneficial arrangement that improves golf operations, renovates the course, and enhances the habitat for the species that reside there is in the best interest of the City, the County and public golfers. 

 


San Francisco’s Samantha Gong Wins NorCal Girls High School Championship

Nov 12, 2015

Samantha Gong on Sharp Park First Tee
 Samantha Gong on Sharp Park 1st tee at the SF Public Golf Alliance May, 2015 Alister MacKenzie Tournament 
 
Samantha Gong is co-medalist at the Northern California High School Girls golf championship. The St. Ignatius Senior -- a long-time student of San Francisco teaching pro Dede Moriarty -- posted an even-par 72 in the rain Monday, November 9 at the NorCal CIF Tournament at Crazy Horse GC, Salinas (the former Salinas Country Club),  to earn co-medalist honors with Pioneer High's (San Jose) Sabrina Iqbal. Next stop for Samantha is the State High School Championships, Tuesday, November 17 at Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach.   Following graduation from St. Ignatius in Spring, 2016, Samantha will head across town to University of San Francisco on a golf scholarship.  
 
Congratulations Samantha and good luck at State!

 


Public Golfers Continue to Win the Legal Battles at Alister MacKenzie’s Sharp Park

Oct 17, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO. (Oct. 9, 2015) – Anti-golf zealots have ended their most recent lawsuit at historic Sharp Park Golf Course, filing a Request for Dismissal in San Mateo Superior Court in the matter of Wild Equity Institute vs. California Coastal Commission, et al, No. 534243.

The dismissal comes two months after San Mateo Judge George A. Miram denied a motion for preliminary injunction to halt work on the Sharp Park Pump House Project, a habitat restoration and flood control project at the golf course, which the Coastal Commission approved in April, 2015. 

In his August 20 Order denying preliminary injunction, Judge Miram found that plaintiff Wild Equity Institute failed to show that it would likely prevail at trial, and also failed to show that it would suffer greater injury from denial of preliminary injunction than the Coastal Commission, City and County of San Francisco, and public golfers would suffer if the motion were granted. 

Sharp Park is owned by San Francisco, but located 10 miles south of the city in the San Mateo County beach town of Pacifica, CA. It was built in the classic Scottish seaside links style by Hall of Fame architect Alister MacKenzie, and opened in 1932. The popular course is recognized as an historic resource under the California Environmental Quality Act by San Francisco, designated an historic site in the Pacifica General Plan, and as a “nationally-significant threatened cultural landscape” by the Washington D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation. Golfweek magazine lists Sharp Park among the 50 greatest municipal golf courses in America.

This is the fourth time in recent years that eco-litigant organizations have failed in their legal challenges to golf operations at Sharp Park. The United States District Court, Northern District of California in 2012, and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and San Francisco Superior Court in 2015 all dismissed prior law suits. Lawyers at San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster have represented the Intervener San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, on a pro bono basis, in all the lawsuits. For the first time in a long time, there are no active lawsuits pending against Sharp Park from anti-golf organizations.

 

Course infrastructure improvements and habitat recovery are underway at Sharp Park

Work on the Pump House Project, a permit issued to San Francisco by the Coastal Commission in April, began in June 2015, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of October 2015. The Coastal Commission’s approval of coordinated golf restoration and habitat recovery work is only the most recent in a long line of local, state, and federal governmental and administrative agency actions between 2009 and the present day rejecting anti-golf attacks on Sharp Park Golf Course.

Habitat recovery work still remains to be done at Sharp Park, along with renovation of the historic golf course itself. Plans for that work are currently undergoing environmental review in the San Francisco Planning Department. In coordination with San Francisco and San Mateo County, the non-profit San Francisco Public golf Alliance and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation stand  ready to support this effort.

# # #

For more information, contact

Richard Harris

Richard@sfpublicgolf.org

415-290-5718

www.sfpublicgolf.org

Bo Links

bo@slotelaw.com

415-393-8099

 


Brad Klein’s “Restorationist Manifesto” and Restoring Sharp Park Golf Course

Sep 6, 2015

ASGCA Article - Return on Renovations
 
Preservationists, golfers, and environmentalists (excluding a handful of fringe eco-litigators) are working cooperatively with the City and County of San Francisco to implement a win-win plan improving both the Sharp Park Golf Course and habitat for the threatened species that live there.  As this work proceeds, we can begin to contemplate a restoration of the historically important and unique Alister MacKenzie masterpiece at Sharp Park.
 
Among the many considerations in this process are the economic benefits  of restoring a classic course. Rebecca Gibson explores this aspect in an article published by the American Society of Golf Course Architects analyzing The Return on Renovation:
 
Golf Course Renovation Payback
 
"While renovations can be challenging, they are often a less risky strategy than doing nothing at all."
 
Clearly there are economic benefits to restoring a beloved golf course, but some things transcend economic gain. Protecting and restoring a masterpiece, whether it is the Sistine Chapel,  a damaged oil painting, or a unique course designed by the most important golf architect in history, is an obligation imposed on every generation to leave to future generations. 
 
No one understands this better than Golfweek senior writer Dr. Bradley Klein, recent recipient of the 2015 Golf Course Architects of America Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award. On the occasion of his publication of "Wide Open Fairways" in 2013,  Dr. Klein was interviewed in Golf Club Atlas,  discussed the value of historic golf course restorations,  and singled out Sharp Park as the leading public course candidate in North America for renovation.  Excerpts from Golf Club Atlas September, 2013 interview with Dr Klein
1.  What prompted you to write Wide Open Fairways? . . .  
The real driving force is that I’ve been traveling and taking notes and having thoughts and feelings about golf architecture for fifty years now and so as long as that continues I’ll be writing. . . .  I love golf courses and I love the imagination that landscape inspires and so I thought I’d try my hand at a different approach. “Wide Open Fairways” isn’t about tournament courses and it’s not an account of routing or playing strategy. It’s about the beauty and character of interesting land – the land we’re lucky to be on when we play golf.  
8. What three courses in North America would most benefit from a restoration?
. . . .  I really like it when a course that people thought  was good and thought they knew gets so much better when its goes back to its design roots.... In a strictly public, municipal setting, I’d have to go with Sharp Park Golf Course in California, where despite some re-routing of holes there’s this amazing array of Alister MacKenzie work along marsh edges, dunes and in terms of alternate shot paths that the public would find fascinating. If course managers or the charitable trust there could ever commit the needed funds to implement a master plan, it would be just stunning. Restoration isn’t just a matter of member pride; it’s about public pride and respect, too.
 
10. You write, ‘Heritage sells.’ Please expand on that concept. . . .
. . . .  The good thing about classical golf course design is that it has increasingly valuable cachet – like antique jewelry, or arts & craft furnishing and houses in the legendary design styles of Green & Green or Frank Lloyd Wright. . . .   In classical design, you’re presenting heritage, craft work, meticulous attention to detail and integrating native land with historically imagined design elements. . .The value there is the uniqueness, the fun and challenge it provides golfers, and the fact that it is readily distinguishable from so many of its more modern competitor facilities in the region. So I think that a good argument for golf course restoration is that it makes business sense in an increasingly competitive golf market.
 
Klein's Wide Open Fairways belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the meaning, heritage and history of great golf course architecture and design. In particular, his Postscript "Restorationist Manifesto" is a blueprint and call to action to preserve and restore the vision of these masterworks across America:
 
A Restorationist Manifesto
"... Whenever I'm asked to name my favorite architects, I simply say, "Dead guys." There was something about their panache, their ego, their ability to utilize horse-drawn plows or mule teams and oxen - and no small cadre of immigrant labor - to create shapes that looked like they belonged as part of nature...  
 
And there was such an abundance of land back in the Golden Age of Golf Course Architecture, roughly from 1919 through 1939, that the classic-era designers could pick and choose among multiple sites rather than settle upon a bad piece of land.  Small wonder that names such as Charles Blair Macdonald, Alistair MacKenzie, Seth Raynor, Donald Ross and A. W. Tillinghast are much in vogue these days. Increasingly, they are being recognized and venerated as visionaries worthy of respect, admiration, and meticulous restoration."
 
Alister MacKenzie's  classic 1932 design of Sharp Park could never be replicated today. It is up to us to preserve and restore that vision. 
 

 


National Interest in Sharp Park Golf Course Restoration

Aug 31, 2015

Shackelford Talks Sharp Park Restoration on Golf Channel

The prospect of restoring the 83 year old Alister MacKenzie municipal masterpiece at Sharp Park continues to garner national attention.  Geoff Shackelford  discusses the current status with Damon Hack on the Golf Channel's Morning Drive - August 31, 2015:

Recently, Golf Digest highlighted Sharp Park as one of "The Nine Most Cheerful Courses in America":

Future of golf at Sharp Park Happy to be on the course
SHARP PARK GOLF COURSE, PACIFICA, CALIF.
 
"Few people know that this short, scruffy muny is a links originally designed by Alister MacKenzie--the same guy who did Augusta National. Although altered over the decades by storms and road construction, much of its MacKenzie bones remain. It was saved from closing thanks to the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, a volunteer organization founded by lawyers Richard Harris and Bo Links. The group is raising philanthropic funds to restore the layout while retaining its populist green-fee rates ($24 in the afternoon). Jay Blasi has prepared a restoration plan, and other prominent architects want to be involved. Meanwhile, the regular crowd continues to happily tee it up, rain or shine, on what they call "the poor man's Pebble Beach."
 
Let's wrap with this 2013 Golf Channel clip and a reminder from Matt Ginella of how fortunate we are to have the world class public courses we enjoy in San Francisco:
 

 


Another Court Victory for Golf and Habitat at Alister MacKenzie’s Sharp Park

Aug 20, 2015

San Mateo County Hall of Justice

PRESS RELEASE

SAN FRANCISCO (August 20, 2015) – San Francisco’s plan to renovate the landmark Alister MacKenzie-designed Sharp Park Golf Course took another step forward today, with a favorable decision from the San Mateo County Superior Court.

Ruling in the case Wild Equity Institute vs. California Coastal Commission, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge George A. Miram denied a motion for preliminary injunction brought by golf foes to halt work on the Sharp Park Pump House Project. The Coastal Commission in April 2015 granted a permit for the work at the 83-year-old golf links, located on the Pacific Coast at Pacifica, CA., a southern seaside suburb of San Francisco.

In denying Wild Equity’s motion for preliminary injunction, San Mateo Superior Court Judge Miram found that Wild Equity failed to show that it would likely prevail at trial, and also failed to show that it would suffer greater injury from denial of the injunction than the Coastal Commission, the City and County of San Francisco, and the public course golfers represented by intervener SF Public Golf Alliance would suffer from the granting of the motion.

Sharp Park Golfers

Wild Equity’s moving papers and the opposition papers filed by the Coastal Commission, San Francisco, and the Public Golf Alliance, together with the court’s ruling, can be found on the case records page of the San Mateo Superior Court's website.

Wild Equity, a small environmental litigation firm founded by a former staff attorney of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, brought the lawsuit to stop San Francisco from installing concrete pier footings and a retaining wall at a pump house at the southwestern corner of the golf course. The concrete work was only a small portion of a dredging and pond-building permit approved in April by the Coastal Commission. The project is intended to improve the habitat for protected frog and snake species at the golf course, while reducing flooding risk to the golf course and a neighboring residential development. Wild Equity’s lawsuit named the Coastal Commission and San Francisco as defendants; the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance joined the lawsuit as an intervening defendant, to represent the interests of the public course golfers and historic preservationists who treasure the venerable golf links.

This is the fourth time in recent years that the courts have rejected environmentalist groups’ challenges to operations at Sharp Park Golf Course. The United States District Court, Northern District of California in 2012, and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and San Francisco Superior Court in 2015 all dismissed prior law suits. Lawyers at San Francisco-based Morrison Foerster have represented the Intervener San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, on a pro bono basis, in all the lawsuits.

Wild Equity has lost every battle. They are on the wrong side of this issue and on the wrong side of history,” said Christopher Carr, chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Environment and Energy Group.. “The responsible thing for them to do now,” said Mr. Carr, “is to support the efforts to get this work done promptly and to fully restore this precious public recreational asset so it will be there for future generations. The species and golfers have always co-existed at Sharp Park and they should continue to do so, for the benefit of everyone.”

Work on the Pump House Project, under the permit issued by the Coastal Commission in April, began in June 2015, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of October 2015. The Coastal Commission’s approval of coordinated golf restoration and habitat recovery work is only the most recent in a long line of local, state, and federal governmental and administrative agency actions between 2009 and the present day rejecting anti-golf attacks on Sharp Park Golf Course..

Habitat recovery work still remains to be done at Sharp Park, along with renovation of the historic golf course itself. Plans for that work are currently undergoing environmental review in the San Francisco Planning Department. SF Public golf Alliance and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation are working together to raise philanthropic funds for the golf course restoration.

# # #

 

For more information, contact:

Richard Harris

Richard@sfpublicgolf.org

415-290-5718

www.sfpublicgolf.org

 

Bo Links

bo@slotelaw.com

415-393-8099

 


Alister MacKenzie Society Visits Sharp Park

Aug 17, 2015

Pacifica, CA., Aug. 4. Golfers from Alister MacKenzie-designed courses around the world—clubs such as Royal Melbourne, Australia, Titirangi, New Zealand, Cork and Lahinch in Ireland, Moortown and Alwoodley in England, Crystal Downs in Michigan, and a handful of California courses, from Valley Club in Montecito to Green Hills (Millbrae), Claremont (Oakland), and Meadow Club (Fairfax)—gathered here on Tuesday, August 4th to try their hand at muni golf at Sharp Park, the world’s only MacKenzie-designed seaside public links.

MacKenzie Society Participating Clubs

If the Good Doctor had been there in person, he would have exhorted them: Save Sharp Park!

These MacKenzie devotees were members of the Alister MacKenzie Society, an international association of MacKenzie-designed courses, who gather annually for golf matches and camaraderie at each other’s clubs. The 2015 hosts—Meadow Club in Fairfax and Green Hills Golf Club in Millbrae—organized a Sharp Park field trip so that Society members could play the golf course and get a status report from San Francisco Public Golf Alliance co-founders Bo Links and Richard Harris.

Sharp Park’s dry, brown fairways and slow greens posed unfamiliar challenge to some of the visitors, but all of them appreciated Sharp Park’s beautiful layout and seaside location. “Can’t wait to see the place after it is renovated,” was a typical remark.

16th Tee

 Neither can we.

Thanks to Brad Knipstein Photography for contributing photos of a fun day at Sharp ...

10th Green

 


Sharp Park Progress In The News (It’s not about golfers vs. environmentalists)

Jul 12, 2015

Sharp Park Green

The struggle to preserve and protect the historic Sharp Park Golf Course has made notable progress in the last few weeks.  After overcoming opposition from a small but noisy coterie of eco-litigants, work on a long-delayed, much-studied, much-litigated project to upgrade aging course infrastructure and improve habitat for the threatened frog and snake is finally underway. Local media outlets are taking note.

Amber Lee covered the story for KTVU News: Legal Battle Over 2 Endangered Species at Pacifica Golf Course

PACIFICA, Calif. (KTVU) - Preservation and renovation work is getting started at Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica. Golf enthusiasts tell KTVU recent developments including court decisions are major steps in rehabilitating the historic golf course. Its cypress lined fairways attract many people. “I love it out here," says Clayton Fandel of Pacifica, "I grew up playing on this course. This is where I learned to play."  Supporters say the 83-year-old course offers nostalgia and beauty. Designed by Alister MacKenzie, a renowned golf course architect, it is a public course. But for years, legal challenges by environmentalists have prevented the course from being maintained properly and kept its future in limbo. "When you have a historic resource like this you don't cast it aside, you preserve it," says Bo Links, co-founder of San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.

Your San Francisco Public Golf Alliance is grateful for the media interest but would like to correct a recurring theme in how this story is covered. KTVU, like most media, frame the story as Golfers vs. Environmentalists. The narrative is simple to understand and easy to present. However, this narrative is simply not accurate.

For openers, what every responsible public official recognizes, and what scientific analysis confirms, is that restoration of the golf course and restoration of habitat are not mutually exclusive concepts.  They can both occur in harmony.  And that is our main thrust:  to restore the historic MacKenzie course at Sharp Park, while at the same time promoting the enhancement of habitat for endangered species. 

Another misconception is that golf is a game for the elite.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and Sharp Park has proved the point for over 80 years, as it has long been home to a delightful mix of local golfers who are hardly the “country club” set.

Sharp Park Golfers

The diverse, blue collar golf community that enjoys the public Sharp Park Golf Course are allied with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, the gardeners of Laborers Union Local 261, as well as Pacifica, San Mateo and San Francisco government, business and community organizations. Everyone in that alliance are committed to enhancing and improving the frog and snake habitat at Sharp Park while also preserving this special golf course, which is affectionately known as “the Poor Man’s Pebble Beach.” Indeed, local officials have proven to be responsible stewards of the park environment and ensure the wildlife will continue to thrive in harmony with the golfers - as they have for decades.

These organizations are staffed with committed, practical environmentalists, conservationists, gardeners, engineers and scientists who are doing the hard work of studying and planning in detail how to improve and protect the frog and snake habitat at Sharp Park. This is the crux of the conflict. The good work of these practical, problem-solving, hard-working environmentalists are being obstructed by a few fringe eco-litigators whose motivations are unclear but who have nevertheless made it crystal clear they will only be satisfied by destroying the legacy Alister MacKenzie course and forcing the City to turn over control of the park to the federal government.

San Francisco Chronicle Metro Columnist C.W. Nevius is digging deeper than most. He devoted two columns to the mystery of why the Wild Equity Institute persists in pursuing losing lawsuits in an attempt to derail needed improvements at the Sharp Park course and wildlife habitat:

Sharp Park Golf Course Fight An Endless Bogey
By C.W. Nevius
June 22, 2015

"The opponents of Sharp Park Golf Course don’t know when to quit. As always, advocacy is a wonderful thing — until it turns into simple bullheadedness. For almost five years, environmental advocates have been battling changes to the 83-year-old course in Pacifica. Although golfers say the renovations, including a new lagoon for wildlife, will actually enhance the natural habitat, members of groups like the nonprofit Wild Equity Institute insist that the changes will harm the endangered California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake...

This has been studied and litigated — extensively — over and over. In ruling after ruling, the plans created by the city of San Francisco and the Recreation and Park Department have been found to be in compliance. Yet a small group (which is getting smaller) battles on...

An example of how support is evaporating is that when the latest appeal was turned down on May 28, most members of the coalition pulled out. After starting with six plaintiffs, ranging from the Sierra Club to a group called “Save the Frogs,” they are now down to one — Wild Equity."

Losing a Lawsuit Can Mean Financial Gain
By C.W. Nevius
July 10, 2015

"Only the truest of true believers think the Wild Equity Institute is going to prevail in its quixotic quest to turn Sharp Park Golf Course into a nature park. It’s a pipe dream... Despite a flurry of lawsuits, the courts have shown no enthusiasm to support the institute’s claims of dire peril to endangered red-legged frogs and San Francisco garter snakes.And yet, the institute and its executive director and prime attorney, Brent Plater, persist. No sooner had a suit for more environmental review been slapped down on May 28 than Plater filed another, the latest in what has turned into a five-year legal guerrilla action...

Judge Susan Illston said in her ruling, “plaintiffs did not prevail on a single substantive motion before the Court.” The institute not only shrugged off criticism, it doubled down. Under provisions in the Endangered Species Act, Plater and his group submitted requests for legal fees. Illston was not impressed. In her ruling, she said the plaintiffs’ lack of success led “the Court to believe that a large majority of the time spent was ‘excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary... What’s more"  she wrote, “plaintiffs failed to satisfactorily explain why Glitzenstein and Crystal, at $700 an hour or greater, spent so much time on this case. Most of the issues in this case were not complex. Yet the Washington, D.C., attorneys account for half of the attorney hours spent on the case.”

So, you assume, that was the end of that. The institute didn’t win and the judge thinks the fees are excessive. Not so fast. Illston cut the amount, but still awarded $385,809, paid by San Francisco. A tidy sum for a losing effort... let’s step back and look at this on a national level, where litigation under the Endangered Species Act has become a hot topic for reform. While the act is meant to protect animals and environment - and hooray for that - there is a concern that environmental groups are using the act, and serial lawsuits, to fund their activities by suing local governments."

Our own Bo Links may have said it best - “It’s a head-scratcher. ... This is environmental litigation in Wonderland ... they lose every motion they file.”

Or - as Alice in Wonderland said herself - "Curiouser and Curiouser." 

Sharp Park Sunset

If you haven’t already, join us in the effort to preserve this priceless public recreational asset that brings the essence of golf, and more than just a touch of Scotland, to the Pacific Coast.  And stay with us until the job is done.

 


ANOTHER ANTI-GOLF LAWSUIT DISMISSED - SHARP PARK GOLF/HABITAT RECOVERY PROJECT BEGINS

Jun 7, 2015

First tee at the Alister Mackenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park 

Busy day at Sharp Park!  Father-son Jon and Wyatt McGovern discuss strategy on the first tee, while in the background Wing Lai, Don Chinn, Clifford Lai, and Weyland Lum (L-R) celebrate a birdie putt on the 18th green, at the recent Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park.

PACIFICA, CA. After years of political, legal, and bureaucratic delay, work began here this week at the historic Sharp Park Golf Course on the first stage of a combined habitat recovery and golf renovation project intended to safeguard endangered frogs and snakes, while renovating the landmark Alister MacKenzie-designed public links.

On June 1, the California Coastal Commission issued a coastal development permit to San Francisco for the Sharp Park Pump House Project, to dredge cattails from wetland areas, construct a new frog pond south of the golf course, and move a small section of cart path out of a wetland bordering the 14th Hole.

San Francisco Superior Court of San Francisco

San Francisco’s Recreation & Park Department is under order from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to begin work on these measures by July 1. But the project had been delayed by a lawsuit filed by anti-golf groups, who sought to further delay the work with demands for extended environmental review. On May 28, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong dismissed that lawsuit, Wild Equity Institute, et al vs. City and County of San Francisco. Finding that San Francisco’s environmental review has been adequate, Judge Wong upheld permits granted in early 2014 by the San Francisco Recreation and Park and Planning Commissions, and approved in March, 2014 by the Board of Supervisors. In March, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed Wild Equity’s appeal from a 2012 U.S. District Court decision which denied the anti-golf groups’ attempt to enjoin golf at Sharp Park for alleged violations of the Federal Endangered Species Act.

This is a common-sense result,” said Attorney Chris Carr of the Morrison-Foerster law office, representing San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, which intervened in the case on behalf of public course golfers. “San Francisco has plans to improve habitat for the frog and snake, the plans have been extensively studied, reviewed, approved – and in fact, ordered – not only by San Francisco agencies and elected officials, but also by all the relevant state and federal agencies, including US Fish & Wildlife, Corps of Engineers, Water Quality Control Board, and Coastal Commission. All of them have rejected the anti-golf arguments, which have also been rejected by both the Federal and State Courts. It’s now time to just get on with it.”

Golfers Celebrate at Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park

High Five!  Alister MacKenzie Foundation founder Nick Zwick celebrates with Lyn Nelson, Chair of the San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council.

Sharp Park’s moderate greens fees notwithstanding, the course is ranked among the Top 50 Municipal Courses in the Country. It is home for high school, women’s, minority, and seniors golfing societies, and in 1955 hosted the inaugural tournament of the Western States Golf Association, one of the oldest and largest African-American golfing societies in the U.S.

Coordinated local-state-federal planning for habitat and golf restoration at Sharp Park began with the 1992 “Laguna Salada Resource Enhancement Plan,” commissioned and financed by the California Coastal Conservancy, which prescribed dredging the lagoons and other measures to recover endangered species habitat at Sharp Park, while preserving the historic golf course. That study was followed by construction of the $12 million Pacifica Recycled Water Project, jointly financed by Pacifica, San Francisco, and the Federal Government, which brought recycled water from Pacifica’s Calera Creek Water Treatment Plant to irrigate the golf course. The pumps, pipelines, and storage tank were completed in 2012, and recycled irrigation water began flowing to the course in Fall, 2014.

Remaining to do at Sharp Park is more habitat recovery work, together with restoration of the golf course itself -- one of the few public courses built by legendary golf architect Alister MacKenzie, who designed many of the world’s acknowledged greatest courses, including Augusta National, home of the annual Masters Tournament, and the Cypress Point Club on the Monterey Peninsula. Plans for that restoration and recovery work are currently undergoing environmental review in the San Francisco Planning Department. San Francisco Public Golf Alliance and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation are working together to raise philanthropic funds for the golf course restoration.

 

Contact: info@sfpublicgolf.org

Richard Harris 415-290-5718

Bo Links 415-393-8099

 

Photographs courtesy of Brad Knipstein Photography

 


Sharp Park Golfers Embrace Governor Brown’s Water Restrictions

May 25, 2015

Sharp Park 17th Tee

In response to the continuing California drought, last month Governor Jerry Brown ordered sweeping water restrictions across the state. Golf courses were among the industries and organizations specifically called out to restrict water usage. Time magazine has the numbers:

"California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday imposed historic water controls on the drought-stricken state. But who will the burden of conserving water fall upon? Here, nine numbers that explain the new measures...  50 million square feet The area of lawns throughout the state to be replaced by “drought tolerant landscaping,” in partnership with local governments. The plan will also require university campuses, golf courses and cemeteries to make “significant cuts” in water use, Brown said."

As a consequence, " Brown is the new green" has become the mantra for many California golf courses including Sharp Park.  The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department reduced water consumption at Sharp Park by 24% over the last two years.  Surprisingly, for many Sharp Park golfers, this is not a bad thing. Wayne Freedman at KGO ABC 7 News has the story:

"GOLFERS AT SHARP PARK WARM UP TO COLOR CHANGE":

"PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- The California drought is taking its toll on lawns around the Bay Area and the grass is as dry as the weather. Golf courses, like Sharp Park in Pacifica, are no exception. They have had to cut back millions of gallons of water. A few golfers on the course have actually begun to embrace the brown grass look and like how it plays. Some we spoke to said they understand the drought is going on and think the whole course doesn't have to be green...  At Sharp Park, they save 15,000 gallons a day by using recycled water on 20 percent of the golf course. The rest they sprinkle conservatively.  Fun part of it is the dry grass and ground has some golf shots rolling 20 percent farther... The look is a natural fit for Sharp Park since it is a seaside golf course, designed by one of the greats -- Alister MacKenzie from Scotland. Some players today say they wouldn't mind if the brown spots on the course were permanent since it is a natural look for the coastline."
A brown fairway means we save water and get longer drives.  What's not to like?

 


Photo: Golfers and Visitacion Valley Community to Benefit from New Job-Training Academy at Gleneagles

Golfers and Visitacion Valley Community to Benefit from New Job-Training Academy at Gleneagles

May 14, 2015

San Francisco's public, nine hole Gleneagles Golf Course -- which overlooks the South Bay from a hillside perch above the Cow Palace in McLaren Park -- is the new site of an innovative Laborers Union pre-apprentice job-training academy, which will provide entry-level job-training for at-risk San Francisco youth, while at the same time providing some TLC and improved playing conditions for the golf course.  The program was announced earlier this week by golf course manager Tom Hsieh, together with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Union Leaders from the Northern California District Council of Laborers.  

Hsieh’s crusade to keep the 52-year-old, Jack Fleming-designed course open, was featured in a September, 2014 New York Times article --  "This Gleneagles Is a Scruffy Cousin":

 
“I care a lot about making sure this golf course is here for another generation of golfers,” Hsieh said.
“By hook or by crook, we’re going to bootstrap this golf course forward. It’s always been that way.”
San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius describes the innovative job training program at Gleneagles, designed to save the course while providing a much-needed public service to San Francisco’s southern neighborhoods in "S.F. golf course an unlikely place to save young lives":
 
Gleneagles Job Training - Photo by Tim Hussin for the Chronicle
 
"... this week, in a trailer in the Gleneagles parking lot, a group of seven twentysomethings sat bolt upright at their desks, took copious notes and answered questions from their instructor, retired Marine Ken Mochida, with a firm, “Yes, sir.” Understand, these aren’t budding golfers. Asked if any of them had ever played golf, the group answered no, although some said they’d tried mini golf.  But they aren’t there to learn how to hit a 5-iron. They are there because the golf course, with the support of the Northern California District Council of Laborers, is training them to qualify as apprentices in the booming construction labor market. For them, Gleneagles is a classroom, workplace and potential springboard to full-time work at a union job — with medical benefits, a union wage and pension... But let’s be honest, this was a program born of desperation. Hsieh has operated the course as a labor of love — which is another way of saying it isn’t making money — for nine years. In July, he gave his 30-day notice to the city, and there were serious questions about whether the course would survive.
 
“It was really the need to repurpose Gleneagles,” Hsieh said. “The course has always struggled, especially in the last few years with the decline in golf rounds and the drought. If we wanted to be here another 50 years, we were going to have to change the approach.” That’s not all that has changed. A program like this could potentially work at any golf course, but Gleneagles has an advantage -- it’s right in the center of where people need it most."
"Innovation", "creativity" and "repurposing" are terms more commonly applied to high tech startups that municipal golf courses. The problems at Gleneagles golf course are a microcosm of the issues facing golf courses across California.  Perhaps another favored startup term could be invoked here - "disruption". Hsieh may have found a disruptive model for a golf industry that could use some innovation.
 
 
See more about the Northern California District Council of Laborers pre-apprenticeship program in their Golf Course Academy Press Release:
 
Gleneagles Job Training - Photo by Tim Hussin for the Chronicle
 
"The Gleneagles Training Academy will provide a useful "classroom" experience for low income workers who are part of federal workforce programs, such as JobsNow!.  The golf course is over 53 years old and is ideally located in the neighborhoods that have a disproportionate need for this special type of training. The goal is to provide a much higher level of job readiness, accountability, skills building, mentorship and follow through than any program in the state or nation. "For decades people from the neighborhoods could walk up to our gates but never find meaningful employment," said Tom Hsieh, general partner of Gleneagles Golf Partners, who operates the property through a lease with the Recreation and Parks Department. "Through this academy we will not only be helping people with jobs, we will be identifying new workers for careers in golf course maintenance, landscaping or the building and construction trades."

 


SF Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council First “Get Out and Golf” Clinic and Mixer May 21 at Golden Gate Park

May 7, 2015

Linda Ko - 2015 Swinging Skirts Champion

San Francisco Women's

SAN FRANCISCO –The newly-formed San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council is proud to announce its inaugural Women’s “Get Out and Golf” Clinic and Mixer, to be held Thursday, May 21, 2015, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Golden Gate Park Golf Course in San Francisco.  This is the first of the group’s many initiatives to encourage women to learn and enjoy the great game of golf. 

The “Get Out and Golf” Clinic will include free instruction by local PGA Golf Professionals, fun contests, raffles & prizes, as well as refreshments.  All Women – Seniors, Juniors, those who have never swung a club, beginners, and accomplished players --- are welcome. 

“Golf is a game for all genders, persuasions, ages, ethnicities and economic levels – and truly reflects our San Francisco diversity,” said Women’s Golf Council founder and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “Women, in particular, can feel uncomfortable when starting the game, so I’ve pulled together a group of women golf enthusiasts who are developing events and building a community to welcome and support new women golfers to San Francisco’s wonderful golf facilities.”

"The Women's Golf Council is excited to share the enjoyment of golf throughout the Bay Area.” SFMWGC President Lyn Nelson stated.  “San Francisco has beautiful, charming golf courses, great places to take a walk and enjoy nature and friendship.  And we appreciate Mayor Lee's support in growing golf, especially for women and juniors."

For more information, or to register for the Inaugural San Francisco Women’s “Get Out and Golf” Clinic & Mixer, visit  womengolfsf.org -- or contact Kyle Wynn, PGA Director of Golf & Operations at Golf Gate Park Golf Course at 1.415.751.8987. 

 

About the San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council

The San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council was founded in July of 2014 by Mayor Ed Lee in support of his passion for San Francisco Golf and his interests of seeing the game promoted and played by more Women at San Francisco Golf Courses.  The Mayor’s vision started with a luncheon held at Harding Park attended by 24 men and women who gathered to share their experiences, passions and goals to increase the awareness of San Francisco Golf, whether by learning, playing the game. teaching children, or spectating at the various tournaments held in the Bay Area.  

A Board was created to coordinate volunteers to implement the Mayor’s goals in making San Francisco “The most women-friendly Golf City in America”.  With events like the Swinging Skirts Championship held at Lake Merced Country Club, the 2016 Women’s US Open coming to Cordevalle in Santa Clara County, and the historic San Francisco City Championship held annually at Harding Park, the San Francisco Bay Area has been an iconic host location for the world’s best women golfers.

This is the first program in the Country to be supported by a Mayor who understands the virtues of golf and embraces the nine core values as taught by The First Tee, that instill life skills through a game that provides fun, exercise, and friendship in the greatest city in the world.

Sara Banke - 2015 SF City Champion

###

 


World Golf Championship at Harding Park Shines National Media Spotlight On SF Municipal Gems

May 4, 2015

McIlroy Tees it off at Harding Park

The week long coverage of Rory McIlroy's stirring win in the World Golf Championship Match Play at Harding Park put the national spotlight on San Francisco as a world class golfing destination. These articles highlight our under-appreciated municipal courses, their historic legacy, and the unique San Francisco golf culture they inspire.

Writing i"Saving Lincoln", in the current edition of Golfworld, Jaime Diaz looks at how the San Francisco golf community has rallied support not only for Saving Sharp Park but also for Lincoln Park Golf Course

 
Buell Quote from Golfworld"Battered Lincoln — which beyond its shabby exterior is a 5,146-yard, par-68 gem of sandy soil, giant trees, charming 300-yard par 4s and killer 240-yard par 3s — has a knack for accumulating lifelong paramours. Some fell in love during boyhood and would like to help pay the course's future forward... The place has great bones. It began as a three-hole loop in 1902, but grew to 18 with the help of Pebble Beach-designer Jack Neville and British architect Herbert Fowler in 1917. When golf was the city game in San Francisco, Lincoln was a spawning ground. Bob Rosburg, a prodigy who put on exhibitions in downtown theaters at age 5, lived down the street. George Archer putted for quarters on the practice green under a street light at 34th and Clement into the wee hours. Before Johnny Miller was honing his iron skill from sidehill lies at the Olympic Club, he was doing so as a skinny grade-schooler at Lincoln...
 
Bo Links, a local golf novelist and historian.. "Especially in cities, golfers make a mistake if they think golf is inevitable. It's not inevitable. You have to fight for it or it will go away." However, the tireless efforts of Links and fellow attorney and golfer Richard Harris to successfully fend off environmental groups' efforts to close Sharp Park, a Alister MacKenzie-designed, San Francisco-run muny close to the Pacific Ocean that was taken for granted and allowed to decay (much like Lincoln), has renewed the collective golf spirit in local golfers...
 
Lincoln's biggest champion is John Abendroth, a 63-year-old stalwart of the San Francisco golf scene. A former journeyman tour player who has run junior events and co-hosts a local radio golf show, Abendroth attended Lincoln High School and played his high school matches at Lincoln. In a recent conversation. Miller spoke for them both when he said, "I owe Lincoln." Abendroth's plan is to convert the widespread affection for Lincoln into philanthropy, creating an endowment to allow tax-benefited donations to refurbish the golf operation.  "There are people with means and influence who want to see this happen" says Mark Buell, 72, who as a member of Olympic Club and Meadow Club and an annual pilgrim to Machrihanish, is a prototype of the constituency Abendroth seeks. "Properly cared for, Lincoln is a city asset like cable cars or the Palace of Fine Arts, and it can be iconic in the golf world. By not doing anything, we're missing a major opportunity."
 
Sean Martin, PGA Tour Events Editor, compares and contrasts the WGC and San Francisco City Championship Match Play Tournaments in his article "The City's Match Play Unlike Any Other":
"The contrasts couldn’t be any deeper between the two match play tournaments held at TPC Harding Park.  The World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play features the world’s top 64 players competing for $9.25 million.  This year’s winner of the San Francisco City Championship, high school senior Justin Suh, didn’t earn any money, but received the respect of this passionate and diverse golf community.... The City Championship has been held every year since 1917. Its endurance through the Second World War is why it can claim to be golf’s oldest consecutively-played championship. Its former competitors range from World Golf Hall of Famers to taxi drivers, NFL quarterbacks to airport baggage handlers. The doctors and lawyers who are members at the Bay Area’s prestigious clubs play alongside bartenders. It’s not unusual to see a player turn to alcohol to steady his nerves or to witness a former U.S. Golf Association president carry his own clubs through a downpour. San Francisco is a city that prides itself on its diversity. Its amateur golf championship is no different....
 
Lincoln Park, the other course used for the tournament’s stroke-play portion, is a quirky layout that adds character to the tournament. It also offers one of the best panoramas in golf. Whereas Harding Park is slated to host a major, Lincoln Park is a short, quirky layout known for its sharp doglegs and small greens. For all its modesty, it also has one of the best views in golf. The 17th tee overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge. Lincoln Park, a par-68 course, measures just 5,146 yards. Scores aren’t as low as one would imagine because of tight fairways, tough lies, long par-3s and the course’s condition...  “You’re not playing in (those conditions) in a PGA TOUR or USGA event,” said Randy Haag, the 1999 champion. “Forget about an umbrella. It’s not going to do any good... You have to waltz around Lincoln.”
 
Finally - Al Sarecevic, Sports Editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, reminds how much fun it is to watch the best golfers in the world play our home course in "Harding Park has its days in sun, and fog, for Match Play":
 
Harding Park
"It’s pretty fabulous when the best golfers in the world come to play Harding Park. It’s like Buster Posey playing Wiffle ball in your backyard. Or Stephen Curry playing H-O-R-S-E in the driveway... Most San Francisco duffers have played Harding Park at least once, if not dozens of times. It used to be a bit of a dog track before its miraculous makeover. But it was our dog track: the true home of city golf... Walking the course with the pros, you could look into the gallery and recognize the Harding faithful. A knowing nod when a ball disappeared into the cypress canopy. A wry smile when the fog-laced wind carried an approach shot into a green-side bunker. We’ve all been there.  Some of us more than others.. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. San Francisco offers the most distinctive golf experience of any major city in the world. The topography. The fog. The number of world-class courses right here in the city (or nearby in Daly City). It all adds up to an extraordinary environment for the game, sidehill lies and all."
True. 
 
Support San Francisco Public Golf.  
 

 


California Coastal Commission Unanimously Approves Permit For First Stage of Sharp Park Golf and Habitat Recovery Plan

Apr 19, 2015

Lisa Wayne of SF RECPARK presenting Sharp Park to Coastal Commission

PRESS RELEASE

San Francisco, CA., April 16, 2015

CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES PERMIT FOR FIRST STAGE OF SHARP PARK GOLF AND HABITAT RECOVERY PLAN

California CoastalCommission Logo

You can now add the California Coastal Commission to the list of local, state, and federal agencies lining up in support of San Francisco’s plan to renovate its cherished Sharp Park Golf Course, a public seaside links created in 1932 by the legendary golf architect Alister MacKenzie.

The powerful 20-member Commission, which oversees development and resource protection along California’s 1,000-mile coast, unanimously approved San Francisco’s Sharp Park permit request for small-scale dredging of a pond and canal, repairs to a pump house, movement of a golf cart path, and dredging of a new frog pond to the south of the golf course. The Commission’s approval came at the Commission's April16th meeting in San Rafael, 33 months after San Francisco filed its coastal development permit application in July, 2012.

The same plan had already been approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (following a 17 month study). Additional approvals have come from the Army Corps of Engineers, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the San Francisco Planning and Recreation and Park Departments and Board of Supervisors. The plan is supported as well by the neighboring City of Pacifica and County of San Mateo. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have dismissed challenges to the plan.

Coastal Commission Decision

The Coastal Commission Staff Report – adopted unanimously by the Commissioners— characterizes the 83-year-old golf course as “an existing public, visitor-serving, low-cost recreational asset that provides access to and spectacular views of the coast.”  The Coastal Act specifically provides that such "lower-cost visitor and recreation facilities shall be protected [and] encouraged".

Bo Links, co-founder of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, was one of several speakers who spoke out in support of the golf course, saying "The entire Bay Area golf community is grateful that the Commission recognized what we've all known for a long time, namely that Sharp Park is a treasured asset worthy of preservation."

The Commission's unanimous voice vote to approve the project came after a motion by Commissioner Carole Groom, a San Mateo County Supervisor. In requesting approval, she noted: “This is definitely a visitor serving golf course... it is lower cost recreation, you can't find a better buy on a weekday than playing golf at Sharp Park... it is used by seniors, women, children... it is evident that you can do both, you can save the snake, save the frog, preserve and protect the snake and the frog, and also preserve and protect a historic golf course.”

Streaming video of the complete 7 hour April 16, 2015 California Coastal Commission meeting is LINKED HERE. The Sharp Park Pump House Project hearing starts at the 3:49:30 mark [Slide the progress bar below the video].

Bo Links of SFPGA offering public comment on Sharp Park at the Coastal Commission

PROJECT STATUS

Work on the project is budgeted at approximately $400,000, and is expected to start in June and to be completed by October 31.

Planning for a combined golf course renovation and frog/snake habitat recovery project at Sharp Park began in 1992, with a joint study by San Francisco and the State of California Coastal Conservancy. In 2012, San Francisco and the City of Pacifica’s water agency completed a $10 Million recycled water delivery system designed to deliver 75 percent of its capacity to irrigate Sharp Park Golf Course. Four of the golf holes were hooked-up to the recycled water system in Fall, 2014. The irrigation lines to the remaining 14 holes will be installed at a later date.

Golf course renovation plans are subject to further environmental review under California’s Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). The golf course is administered by San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Natural Areas Program, which since 2009 has been processing a combined environmental impact study of several Rec & Park properties, including Sharp Park. Public hearings on a Draft Environmental Impact Report were conducted in 2012 and 2013, and issuance of a Final Report is expected – though not yet calendared – sometime later this year.

Following the Commission meeting, Public Golf Alliance co-founder Links commended the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department's natural resources stewardship and discussed the long-running battle at Sharp Park and his hopes for the future.  Links observed:

“This is a slow process. But Sharp Park is an extremely important property, both for its public recreation and golf architecture, and as habitat for the frog and snake. We have to be patient, and remind people that golfers too are nature-lovers at heart. 

Golf's roots in Scotland run deep, especially on land by the sea. Courses like Alister MacKenzie’s Sharp Park have helped enable those roots to take hold and grow in America. The battle to save the golf course at Sharp Park is about balance, partnership and perspective. Sharp Park is a tremendous public resource and its preservation calls for cooperation among all stakeholders. This is not the golf course vs. the frogs and the snakes.  The course opened for play in 1932 and has always existed in harmony with the species that later came to inhabit the property. The Coastal Commission has now joined all the other agencies that agree with this working reality.”

Long known locally as “The Poor Man’s Pebble Beach,” Sharp Park is a San Francisco municipal course, located on Salada Beach, 10 miles south of San Francisco in the coastal suburb of Pacifica. It is recognized by Golfweek magazine as one of the 50 “Best Municipal Courses” in America. In the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year, Sharp Park was San Francisco’s most popular municipal golf course, with nearly 46,000 rounds played.

The course architect, Dr. Alister MacKenzie, is widely acclaimed as the greatest golf architect in history. In the late 1920’s, he was hired by park visionary John McLaren to create a world class course by the sea. In addition to Sharp Park (which opened for play in 1932), MacKenzie designed several of the best-known and best-loved courses around the world, including Augusta National (home of the annual Masters Tournament) and the Cypress Point Club on the Monterey Peninsula.

MacKenzie knew that the course he created at Sharp Park was special. He called it “as sporty as the Old Course at St. Andrews and as picturesque a golf course as any in the world.

Contact:

Richard Harris Richard@sfpublicgolf.org

Bo Links bo@sfpublicgolf.org  

 


California Coastal Commission to Consider Sharp Park Habitat Improvement and Golf Course Infrastructure Project

Apr 6, 2015

Building Sharp Park Memories

The fight to Save Sharp Park Golf Course is at a critical juncture.  You can help.

California’s Coastal Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday, April 16, 9:00 a.m. in San Rafael on the Sharp Park Pump House Project – This is the first stage of the City’s plan to renovate Sharp Park Golf Course and improve the frog habitat. The Commission’s April 16 calendar is LINKED HERE

Your San Francisco Public Golf Alliance supports the Project.  A copy of our detailed letter of support is LINKED HERE

Sharp Park Infrastructure and Habitat Improvement Project

The Pump House Project includes habitat enhancement for the frog and snake, construction of a new frog pond south of the pump house, much-needed infrastructure work at Sharp Park including safety improvements at the pump house, moving the cart path out of the lake at Hole 15, and dredging cattails from a small area of Horse Stable Pond and the connecting channel.

The Project was approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2012 after a 17 month study, approved by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in 2014, voted on and approved by the San Francisco Planning Commission, the San Francisco Rec and Park Commission, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2014. It is also supported by the County of San Mateo, the Pacifica City Council and the previous and current mayors of San Francisco and Pacifica.  The Coastal Commission’s Staff, in an April 3 Report (LINKED HERE), specifically recognizes the value of low-and moderate-cost public recreation and supports San Francisco’s permit application.

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, expert environmentalist endorsements, all relevant agency approvals, political support and popular support, a small but vocal group of eco-litigants are obstructing the progress of this important project in their continuing attempt to shut down the golf course entirely. They will be there to argue against the permit, with the usual mantra that the course loses money (untrue), kills frogs (untrue) and is not a worthy historic resource (untrue).  

We must demonstrate to the commissioners that the golf course -  which was created by John McLaren and Alister MacKenzie in 1932; which boasts the highest rounds count of any course operated by the City & County of San Francisco; which has coexisted with the threatened species for almost a century; and which is a true community center in Pacifica  -  has tremendous public support.  The most effective way to do that is to make sure the Coastal Commissioners see your support and hear your voice.

You can help by: 

  • 1) Sending an e-mail supporting the Project to the Coastal Commission.

  • 2) Attending the Commission’s April 16, 9 a.m. hearing, and giving public testimony why Sharp Park Golf Course is important to you personally and to public golf. 

The Commission will meet in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael (the Frank Lloyd Wright building). Let us know (at info@sfpublicgolf.org) if you will attend. 

For Directions to the Marin County Civic Center  - LINK HERE

Address E-mails to Coastal Commission.  Send to:   stephanie.rexing@coastal.ca.gov. Subject Line: “Support for San Francisco Sharp Park Pump House Project, CDP No. 2-12-014”.

Please copy us on your e-mails at info@sfpublicgolf.org.

In your e-mail, tell the Commission why Sharp Park Golf Course is important to you and your family and friends and community.

For a preview of what we can expect at the Coastal Commission hearing - this video of the March 23,2015 Pacifica City Council considering public comment and voting unanimously to send a letter of support for the project is instructive. The video is linked here (the Sharp Park agenda item is about an hour in length and starts at the 50 minute mark). 

Questions? Need help? Want to help? Suggestions?  Contact us: info@sfpublicgolf.org

 


NINTH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS DISMISSES ENVIRONMENTALIST GROUPS’ BID TO CLOSE SHARP PARK GOLF COURSE

Mar 26, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: NINTH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS DISMISSES ENVIRONMENTALIST GROUPS’ BID TO CLOSE SHARP PARK GOLF CASE

San Francisco, CA., March 25, 2015 

A four-year-old lawsuit brought by a collection of environmentalist groups to close Sharp Park Golf Course – the 83-year-old public masterpiece of famed golf architect Alister MacKenzie – came to an end here Wednesday, March 25, when a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal in Wild Equity vs. City and County of San Francisco

Filed in March, 2011 by Wild Equity Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and other groups, the lawsuit sought an injunction to close the course based on allegations that golf operations kill frogs and snakes protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act. 

 “We’re very pleased that the court of appeals’ decision will allow this historic public locale to continue to serve golfers of all means and levels in the Bay Area,” said Joseph Palmore, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Group, who argued the case in the Ninth Circuit on behalf of San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, a non-profit coalition of local golfers working to preserve affordable golf for Bay Area residents. The group intervened in the case after the plaintiffs began their effort to close Sharp Park in 2011. Both the Golf Alliance and Morrison-Foerster have worked pro bono on the lengthy litigation.

In December, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston dismissed the case, ruling that it was moot following an October, 2012 Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service imposed strict protective terms and conditions on golf operations, but allowed “take” of a small number of frogs and snakes provided that the City complies with those terms and conditions.

On appeal, San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Jim Emery said the question on appeal was academic: “was the case moot then [at the District Court] or is the case moot now”? “Moot squared” was how attorney Palmore characterized the case.

Court of Appeals Judges William Fletcher, Morgan Christen, and Andre Davis were unconvinced by the environmentalist groups’ attorney’s arguments that the case comes within a narrow “capable of repetition yet evading review” exception to the mootness doctrine.

The Court of Appeals’4-page memorandum decision is found at: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/memoranda/2015/03/25/13-15046.pdf

A video of the Court proceedings can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ukp1m8IWl8o.

Long known locally as “The Poor Man’s Pebble Beach,” Sharp Park is a San Francisco municipal course, located on Salada Beach, 10 miles south of San Francisco in the coastal suburb of Pacifica. It is recognized by Golfweek magazine as one of the 50 “Best Municipal Courses” in America. Its architect, Alister MacKenzie, designed several of the best-known and best-loved courses around the world, including Augusta National (home of the annual Masters Tournament) and the Cypress Point Club on the Monterey Peninsula.

# # #

Contact:

Richard Harris Richard@sfpublicgolf.org

Bo Links bo@sfpublicgolf.org

 


NINTH CIRCUIT COURT HEARS APPEAL IN SHARP PARK GOLF COURSE CASE

Mar 14, 2015

9th Circuit Court of Appeals

PRESS RELEASE

NINTH CIRCUIT COURT HEARS APPEAL IN SHARP PARK GOLF COURSE CASE

San Francisco, CA., March 11, 2015   

Sharp Park Golf Course – the 83-year-old public masterpiece of famed golf architect Alister MacKenzie – was the subject of oral argument Wednesday, March 11 at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the matter of Wild Equity vs. City and County of San Francisco

Filed in March, 2011 by a handful of environmental groups led by San Francisco-based Wild Equity Institute, the lawsuit sought an injunction to close the course based on allegations that golf operations kill frogs and snakes protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act. 

In December, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston dismissed the case after the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued a Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement imposing strict protective terms and conditions on golf operations, but allowing “take” of a small number of frogs and snakes provided that the City complies with those terms and conditions. Judge Illston ruled that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s action rendered the lawsuit moot. 

At oral argument on March 11, the Court focused its attention on the fact that the Army Corps of Engineers had incorporated the terms and conditions of the Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement in a Clean Water Act permit, further rendering moot the environmental groups’ claims. The environmental groups’ attorney attempted to explain to Court of Appeal Judges William Fletcher, Morgan Christen, and Andre Davis that this case should come within the narrow “capable of repetition yet evading review” exception to the mootness doctrine, in an effort to keep their claims alive. Appearing for the City and County of San Francisco was Deputy City Attorney Jim Emery. Joseph Palmore, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Group, argued the case for Intervenor San Francisco Public Golf Alliance. 

Following a half-hour of oral argument, the Judges took the matter under submission.  No date was set for the Court to issue its written opinion. A video of the Court proceedings can be found at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ukp1m8IWl8o.

 

Contact:

Richard Harris, Richard@erskinetulley.com, 415-290-5718

Bo Links, bo@slotelaw.com, 415-393-8099

 


NCGA Golf Magazine - San Francisco State of Mind

Mar 6, 2015

NCGA Magazine Cover 2015 Winter Edition

The NCGA Golf Magazine Winter Edition makes the case that Northern California has the best golf in the country. Editor Scott Seward offers the opening argument in "The West Coast is the Best Coast":

"... The regions best attribute is its incredible diversity of landscapes, and public access to spectacular course. .. From the Monterey Peninsula to San Francisco, from Lake Tahoe to the Sierra Foothills. and from Mt. Shasta down the Central Valley, there's a panorama to suit every taste... We enlisted an all-star lineup of writers to help us make the case that Northern California is the best golf region in the nation."

Our public San Francisco courses were, of course, submitted as evidence. In case you missed the issue, we thought we'd highlight mentions of our favorite local tracks, but first - We need to get something off our chest.

It's a great issue except for a glaring oversight. To show off the embarrassment of golfing riches we enjoy in Northern California, the editor hired famous sports illustrator Dan Vasconcellos to design the first illustrated cover in the magazine's history. That's the cover at the top of this page. Notice anything missing? There are no San Francisco public golf courses. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. No Lincoln Park. No Presidio. No Sharp Park. No Gleneagles at McClaren Park, No Golden Gate Park golf course. Not even TPC Harding made the cut. Shocking. We can't blame the artist. After all, Dan Vasconcellos is from Boston. What does he know? But someone at NCGA Magazine should have noticed.  Inexcusable. Still, let's put this unpleasantness aside and look at the positive mentions of our San Francisco public tracks.

Kevin Merfeld considered writing an article listing the Northern California Dream 18 holes, but decided to stick with a "Pebble Beach Dream 18" until he plays a few more courses:

"What good would a Dream 18 be without considering holes from San Francisco GC, Mayacama, California GC, Martis Camp, or the Meadow Club. Or Saddle Creek, TPC Harding Park, the Presidio, or Calippe Preserve? And how could I forgo holes such as the 16th at Pasatiempo, the 17th at Lincoln Park, or the 18th at Half Moon Bay because I haven't played them?"

Exactly. A wise decision. 

Alan Shipnuck celebrates Northern California golf in "It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This":

"If you hunger for more ocean views - and who among us doesn't - peg it at Pacific Grove or Spanish Bay or Half Moon Bay or Bodega Harbour or Presidio. You can make the case that Northern California has more truly memorable public courses than the rest of the country combined. Meanwhile, the well-connected can fill out their itineraries at Monterey Peninsula Country Club - the finest 36 hole facility in the U.S. -  or in the western edge of San Francisco, which offers a density of superb clubs to rival anything in Westchester County: San Francisco GC, Olympic, Cal Club, and Lake Merced, wtih Harding right next door if the need arises for an emergency 18... TPC Harding Park is entrenched in the rota for golf's biggest events, as it will host the  2015 Match Play Championship, 2020 PGA Championship, and 2025 President's Cup..."

Actually, you'll get more ocean views at Lincoln Park than you'll get at Presidio, but you can't go wrong at either.

Finally, Brian Murphy pulls it all together with a compelling closing argument (including a shout-out to your San Francisco Public Golf Alliance) in "Why Northern California Golf is the Best":

"So here's to the places in Northern California that move your golfing soul. Here's to Sharp Park, and a history so powerful it fueled a group of golfers to move heaven and earth to protect its layout. Plus, breakfast in the historic clubhouse restaurant and a a dice game at the bar, if your're up for it. Here's to the nine-hole golf course at Golden Gate Park, where generations of families learn to play the game nestled in the most majestic civic park west of Central Park... Here's to Presidio Golf Club, where if you squint hard enough between the fog and the trees and light, you can see the ghosts of babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, two players who trod its fairways... Here's to Northern California golf. Play in the rain. Play in the mist. Play the ball down. Play on Mother Earth's land as she intended. That's what you do in Northern Caifornia. It's a mystical thing."

It is indeed. Thanks Brian.

And Scott - I'm afraid we have to assess NCGA Golf Magazine a two stroke penalty. Next time let's get that illustration right. 

 


Sharp Park Case Goes to Oral Argument at Federal Court of Appeals

Mar 4, 2015

US District Court 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

The Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on March 11 regarding U.S. District Judge Susan Illston's decision to dismiss the endangered species lawsuit filed by Wild Equity Institute and other environmentalist groups.  Judge Illston in December, 2012 declared the case moot after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued its Biological Opinion that expressly permits continued operation of the golf course and mandates various other actions to protect the California red-legged frog and San Francisco Garter Snake.

9th Circuit

The case is Wild Equity Institute vs. City and County of San Francisco, No. 13-15046.  Oral argument will be held in the 9th Circuit Courthouse, 95 7th St. (NE corner of 7th St. and Mission), San Francisco, Courtroom 2 (Third Floor, Room 330), at 9:00 AM before an appellate panel of Judges William J. Fletcher, Andre Davis (a judge from the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals), and Morgan Christen.

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, joined with the City as co-defendants in the case, will be represented by attorneys from the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, whose Joseph Palmore will argue the case before the panel.

 


Welcome to the New San Francisco Public Golf Alliance Website!

Mar 4, 2015

The New San Francisco Public Golf Alliance Website at SFPublicGolf.org

Notice anything different around here? We've given our website a facelift! The old website served us well in our early years as a grassroots movement defending our San Francisco municipal golf course civic gems from the misguided and misinformed who seek to destroy them.

The battle for Sharp Park is not over. We need to defend against appeals pending in the courts, support needed infrastructure renovations, push for habitat restoration, persuade our civic leaders, and correct disinformation from disingenuous opponents promoting misleading PR campaigns.  We hope this new, improved, more accessible website will help galvanize our supporters and better engage and inform the public about our mission.

The changes are more than skin deep. We have also changed our  primary domain from SFPublicGolf.com  to SFPublicGolf.org  in order to better reflect our status as a 501.c.3  non-profit, public benefit organization. 

As with all changes, there are bound to be glitches and hiccups. Please pardon our dust as we work through any issues and get things cleaned up around here. If you see any problems, have any suggestions, or just want to let us know what you think of the new site, drop us a note at info@sfpublicgolf.org

Help us get out the word about our new site and support our mission. Please -  Like us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Link us on LinkedIn! Like our pictures on Instagram!  The more social media support we get from you, the bigger the impact we can have as an organization.

Finally we'd like to express our deep appreciation for the creative effort and hard work of Jeff Reber, Reed Thompson and the rest of the team at Enlite10 who helped us build this website. We hope you enjoy it!

 


Alister MacKenzie’s Legacy of Public Golf at Sharp Park

Mar 3, 2015

Alister MacKenzie's Legacy of Public Golf at Sharp Park

This book is a labor of love from golf photographer extraordinaire Brad Knipstein and San Francisco Public Golf Alliance founders Richard Harris and Bo Links. It was made possible by a generous donation from NetSuite. All proceeds from the sale of the book will help fund the drive to preserve and restore MacKenzie's Sharp Park for future generations.

Click Book For Preview

Dr. Alister MacKenzie is known the world over as one of the preeminent golf course architects of all time. He created Cypress Point, Augusta National and Royal Melbourne, among others. One of his greatest creations is the public course at Sharp Park, located just 10 miles south of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast. The course, which opened for play in 1932, displays MacKenzie's design philosophy in full - multiple tees, dual fairways, cloud shaped bunkers, heaving greens and MacKenize's favorite tool: camouflage. Sharp Park is special for another reason: it is MacKenzie's only seaside public links. When he introduced his original routing to San Francisco golfers in 1930, MacKenzie proclaimed:

"The proposed municipal seaside golf course at Sharp's Park will be as sporty as the old course at St. Andrews, and as picturesque a golf course as any in the world."

MacKenzie's lost 8th hole at Sharp Park

Knipstein captures MacKenzie's lost 8th hole

This beautiful coffee-table book commemorates Sharp Park's unique beauty, charm and mystique. It is a visual celebration of a course that is truly unlike any other, a masterpiece dedicated to public golfers. Photographer Brad Knipstein's  images allow readers to experience MacKenzie's magic at Sharp Park - both as it exists today and as it existed when the course first opened for play. Historic commentary by San Francisco Public Golf Alliance founders Richard Harris and Bo Links compliment Knipstein's stunning photographs. The book also includes historic images as well as a reproduction of the original course map, artfully depicted by Andy Anderson. This book is a true collector's item for every golfer.

Available at Blurb and Amazon.

 


Sign-up to Sponsor and/or Play in the Fourth Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament To Save Sharp Park

Jan 20, 2015

SFPGA 2015 Alister MacKenzie Tournanment

Sign-ups are now open for Sponsors, Teams, and Players in the 2015 Alister MacKenzie Tournament, May 30 at Sharp Park, All proceeds go toward the ongoing campaign to save and renovate this seaside public golf gem.

Click here to download the entry and sponsorship form (in Adobe .pdf format). Click here to view a photo essay of all the fun we had at this tournament in 2014. And check out this video from the first Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park on the the occasion of the landmark course's 80th anniversary celebration:


The $190 per player entry fee pays for a long day of fun, 18 holes of golf, a GREAT tee prize, and donation to the worthy cause of saving Alister MacKenzie's historic public Sharp Park golf links. The tournament format will be foursome scramble, gross score. We will have 2 shotguns: at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., with BBQ lunch for all at Noon; the day will conclude with a silent auction full of great golf deals, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and other festivities in the Clubhouse. 

We need Captains to sign-up foursomes early. So Save the Date. And line-up your teammates, fill in the entry blanks, and return them to us. Please let us know right away if you will serve as a Team Captain. And let us know if you or anyone you know can Sponsor a Hole, or step up to be one of our honored Tournament Sponsors. 

The tournament will be hosted by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, together with the Sharp Park men's and women's golf clubs, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, Pacifica Historical Society, and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation. All proceeds go to our ongoing campaign to Save and Renovate Sharp Park Golf Course. 

Respond to: info@sfpublicgolf.org

Original Alister MacKenzie 1932 Sharp Park Routing

The Original Alister MacKenzie Sharp Park Routing in 1932

 


Season’s Greetings

Dec 15, 2014

2014 Was A Very Good Year for Public Golf Alliance and Sharp Park

  1. Sharp Park’s 82nd Anniversary Tournament in May was a big success: http://sfpublicgolf.com/third-annual-alister-mackenzie-tournament-to-save-sharp-park-may-31-you-had-to-be-there
  2. Sharp Park was in June designated by Golfweek magazine as one of America’s Top 50 municipal golf courses: http://golfweek.com/news/2014/jun/25/golf-courses-municipal-golfweeks-best-travel/
  3. The San Francisco Supervisors in March voted – over objections from golf’s opponents -- to proceed with habitat recovery work at Sharp Park, compatible with plans to renovate the golf course: http://sfpublicgolf.com/san-francisco-supervisors-okay-frogs-snakes-and-golf-at-sharp-park.

2015 will bring new challenges in fending-off the anti-golf crowd’s repeated attacks; and we will continue to work with public agencies and officials in San Francisco, San Mateo County, and Pacifica towards the goal of renovating Alister MacKenzie’s historic links, while recovering compatible habitat for frogs and snakes. Hang in there with us.

If, in this Season of Sharing, you can find a way to help our common fight to Save Sharp Park, we appreciate donations of any kind or amount. San Francisco Public Golf Alliance is a 501.c.3 non-profit, public benefit organization.

 

Here's to 2015!
 
Donations are greatly appreciated.  To donate please visit our website donations page
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Hickory Open at Sharp and Lincoln Oct. 11th and 12th

Sep 24, 2014

YOU ARE INVITED:
HICKORY GOLF FUN AT SHARP AND LINCOLN
SAN FRANCISCO HICKORY OPEN, OCTOBER 11-12

The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, together with NorCal Hickory, will convene the first annual San Francisco Hickory Open, Saturday-Sunday, October 11-12 at Lincoln Park and Sharp Park golf courses. The entry fee (including greens fees) is only $100 for the 2-day event, which is open to all – women and men. Hickory-shafted clubs will be available to participants at no extra cost.  Only a few spots remain open, So sign-up now.  For more information and an entry form, click here.

 


Alister MacKenzie Tournament To Save Sharp Park: May 31

May 30, 2014

The Third Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park will be held Saturday, May 31, 2014 at Sharp Park Golf Course. 

Click here to download the entry form (in Adobe .pdf format).  And click here to view a photo essay of all the fun we had at this tournament in 2013. 

Your $175 entry fee pays for a long day of fun,  18 holes of golf, a GREAT tee prize, and donation to the worthy cause of saving Alister MacKenzie's historic public Sharp Park golf links.   The tournament format will be foursome scramble.    We will have 2 shotguns:  at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., with BBQ lunch for all at Noon; the day will conclude with silent auction, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and other festivities in the Clubhouse.  

We need Captains to sign-up foursomes early.   So Save the Date. 

The Third Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park will be held Saturday, May 31, 2014 at Sharp Park Golf Course. 

Click here to download the entry form (in Adobe .pdf format).  And click here to view a photo essay of all the fun we had at this tournament in 2013. 

Your $175 entry fee pays for a long day of fun,  18 holes of golf, a GREAT tee prize, and donation to the worthy cause of saving Alister MacKenzie's historic public Sharp Park golf links.   The tournament format will be foursome scramble.    We will have 2 shotguns:  at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., with BBQ lunch for all at Noon; the day will conclude with silent auction, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and other festivities in the Clubhouse.  

We need Captains to sign-up foursomes early.   So Save the Date.  And line-up your teammates, fill in the entry blanks, and return them to us.    Please let us know right away if you will serve as a Team Captain.  And let us know if you or anyone you know can Sponsor a Hole, or step up to be one of our honored Tournament Sponsors.

The tournament will be hosted by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, together with the Sharp Park men's and women's golf clubs, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce,  Pacifica Historical Society, and the Alister MacKenzie Foundation.  All proceeds go to our ongoing campaign  to Save Sharp Park Golf Course.  

 CONTACT:  info@sfpublicgolf.com

 


Say Thanks to the Supervisors

Mar 31, 2014

It's nice to be nice.  Say 'Thanks' to the Supervisors for their vote in favor of Sharp Park, by sending them a thank-you e-mail.  For the Supervisors' e-mail addresses, click here.

 


SF Supes OK Sharp Park Golf, Habitat Project

Mar 30, 2014

By a 7-4 vote on March 25, and over the strenuous objection of anti-golf activist groups, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to proceed with a small habitat improvement and golf infrastructure project at Sharp Park.  For more, click here.

 


Golfers Win Two More Rounds

Feb 2, 2014

The San Francisco Planning Commission on January 16, 2014 held a well-attended public hearing, and then voted unanimously to approve a Mitigated Negative Declaration -- a planning document outlining the environmental effects and mitigations -- for the Sharp Park Safety, Infrastructure Improvement, and Habitat Enhancement Project.  The project includes dredging cattails from Horse Stable Pond and the channel in front of the 12th and 13th tees at the golf course, the construction of a 'frog spa' south of Horse Stable Pond, and replacement of a 60-yard section of cart path north of the 15th tee.  Opponents of the golf course promised to appeal the Planning Commission's decision to the Board of Supervisors.  See the report of the Planning Commission's action in the SF Chronicle >

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission, following its own public hearing on January 23, 2014, also unanimously approved moving forward with the Project.  

Thanks to San Francisco Public Golf Alliance members who turned-out and spoke at both public hearings.  Your voice is important. 

 


Holiday Party And Book Launch for ‘Sand and Golf: How Terrain Shapes the Game’

Nov 21, 2013

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance Holiday Gathering and Celebration & Book Launch Party of

Sand and Golf: How Terrain Shapes the Game
by
Alliance Member George Waters

Sharp Park Clubhouse
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance is pleased to announce its holiday gathering and celebration, coupled with a  book launch party for Sand and Golf: How Terrain Shapes Game, written by Alliance member George Waters. The book contains an enlightening foreword by Tom Doak, who is one of Sharp Park’s great supporters.

The celebration and launch party will take place at the Sharp Park Clubhouse, Thursday December 5th.  Happy hour starts at 5:00PM, complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served, drinks will be available at the No-Host bar.

A presentation by the author will begin at 6:00PM, followed by a book signing. The presentation by George Waters will focus on the significance of sandy courses in golf history and on the special golfing qualities of sandy terrain. The presentation will be illustrated by photos from the best sandy courses in the world.

 Books will be available for purchase for $40.00, with 25% of sales being donated to the Public Golf Alliance for its ongoing work to Save Sharp Park.

Sand and Golf: How Terrain Shapes the Game explores what makes golf, and golf course architecture, so special on sandy terrain. This book investigates the relationship between sandy terrain and great golf from all angles. From the classic links courses of the British Isles to the great sandy courses of the modern era, sandy terrain has always produced golf at its best. The unique features of sandy ground are the reason. Firm conditions, natural bunkers, and fantastic contours are all part of the story. Sand and Golf explores all aspects of the art and architecture of golf on sandy terrain, from the routing of entire courses to the significance held by a tiny wrinkle in a windswept fairway. Golfing on sandy ground is a special experience, this book explains why.

About the Authors

George Waters is an expert in golf course architecture and construction with extensive experience working on sandy terrain. He has participated in the design and construction of several of the most significant new courses built on sand, in addition to the restoration of some sandy classics. Over the course of his career in golf course architecture he has worked with leading architects on some of the world's best sandy courses, including Barnbougle Dunes (Tasmania), Sebonack (Southampton, NY), The Renaissance Club at Archerfield (Scotland), and Pinehurst No. 2 (North Carolina). These experiences, and the opportunity to play many of the world's great sandy courses, have given him a unique perspective on golf course architecture and the makings of great golf on sandy terrain.

Tom Doak is one of the world’s leading golf course architects and author of numerous books and articles on golf course architecture including The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses and The Anatomy of a Golf Course. In his Foreword, Doak reflects on the special link between sand and golf, and how it has shaped his designs and career.

Come and join us at Sharp Park, 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, to celebrate our effort to Save Sharp Park, as well as to help launch this exciting new book!

 


 


Get ‘em While they’re Hot!

Nov 21, 2013

In time for Holiday Giving to your favorite golfer (which might be yourself)   

 

Classic “Save Sharp Park” cotton-blend

Sweatshirt:  $45.00, postage included.
Available in All Sizes. Your choice of colors:  so long as it’s RED.

Send your request to:  info@sfpublicgolf.com

 


Summer Solstice by the Sea At Alister MacKenzie’s Sharp Park

Jun 21, 2013

Photo essay on Second Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament.

 


Ken Venturi died May 17, 2013.

May 18, 2013

San Francisco favorite son Ken Venturi, 1964 U.S. Open champion, CBS TV golf analyst, recent World Golf Hall of Fame inductee, and Honorary Chairman of SF Public Golf Alliance, died Friday, May 17.   

Ken was a beloved great champion who never forgot his roots in San Francisco public golf and inspired us with his encouragement: 
'I write this letter to urge my friends and fellow San Francisco Bay Area golfer to preserve Dr. MacKenzie's legacy, and defend San Francisco's golf heritage and public courses. Defend them with your time, your money, and your passion. Do not let anybody destroy Sharp or Lincoln.'  - Ken Venturi
We'll miss you Ken: 

Ken Venturi Letter to SFPGA - Oct. 12, 2009
New York Times obituary, May 18, 2013
Golf Digest interview with Ken Venturi, December, 2004
 

 


Reyhan Griffin, 13, wins the First Tee’s "Succeeding Together" video contest

May 17, 2013

Reyhan Griffin,  a 13-year-old student at the San Francisco First Tee program's Visitacion Valley and Harding Park programs, last month won the national 'Succeeding Together' video contest, sponsored by the national First Tee organization.  

Reyhan, who carries a 4.0 grade point average at A.P. Giannini Middle School, submitted the following video telling of his passion for golf:  http://www.thefirstteesanfrancisco.org/club/scripts/view/view_insert.asp?pg=PUBLIC&GRP=19251&IID=187536&NS=PUBLIC&APP=106 

Congratulations, Reyhan!

 


Don’t Forget: Alister MacKenzie Golf Tournament to Save Sharp Park

May 16, 2013

Don't Forget the Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park, Saturday, June 22, 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. shotguns. 

 Be There!.  Bring your foursome.  

Click here to download the entry form and sponsor sign-up.

 


Second Annual Alister MacKenzie Golf Tournament to Save Sharp Park

Apr 16, 2013

We're doing it again in 2013! 

The Second Annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park will be held Saturday, June 22 at Sharp Park Golf Course.  The tournament will be hosted by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, together with the Sharp Park men's and women's golf clubs, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, and Pacifica Historical Society.  All proceeds go to our ongoing campaign  to Save Sharp Park Golf Course.  

Your $175 entry fee pays for a long day of fun,  18 holes of golf, a great tee prize, and donation to the great cause of saving Alister MacKenzie's historic public golf links.   The tournament format will be foursome best ball (1 ball) , net and gross.    We will have 2 shotguns:  at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., followed by silent auction, a raffle, and other festivities in the Clubhouse.  Click here to download the entry form (in Adobe .pdf format).

We need Captains to sign-up foursomes early.   So Save the Date.  And line-up your teammates, fill in the entry blanks, and return them to us.    Please let us know right away if you will serve as a Team Captain.  And let us know if you or anyone you know can Sponsor a Hole, or step up to be one of our honored Tournament Sponsors. 

 


Golfdom Magazine Honors Wayne Kappelman as 2012 Golf Businessman of the Year

Feb 24, 2013

In the cover story of its February, 2013 issue, the golf course superintendent's magazine cited Wayne's 'Herculean efforts' to lead an undermanned greens crew in maintaining the golf course while protecting endangered species at Sharp Park.  Click here: {module_literature,i,117895}

 


Sharp Park Volunteer Work Crew Brings Native Plants to 17th Tee

Feb 23, 2013

A dozen volunteers from Sharp Park men's and women's clubs and the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, led by Sharp Park superintendent Wayne Kappelman, spent the morning of Saturday, February 9 pulling iceplant and replacing it with native plants on the small dune between the 16th green and 17th tee at Sharp Park.  In January, another volunteer crew, including members of the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, repaired the sea wall fence.

Check it out next time you're there.  



(you can download a larger version of this picture by clicking here:  {module_literature,i,117894} 

 


Go Figure: Anti-Golf Activists Now Want San Francisco to Pay $1.3 Million Legal Fees

Feb 7, 2013

Anti-Golf activists ask Federal Court for $1.3 Million fee award for their losing efforts in Sharp Park lawsuit - San Francisco, CA

          In a curious twist in the long-running fight between anti-golf activists and San Francisco over the fate of the city’s historic public Sharp Park Golf Course, the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, Wild Equity Institute, and a handful of other groups filed a motion here today in Federal Court, asking the same Federal Judge who dismissed their lawsuit in December, 2012 to order the City of San Francisco to pay their legal bill of more than $1.3 Million.

          “It’s a head-scratcher,” mused San Francisco attorney Bo Links, co-founder of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, which has led the golfers’ fight to preserve the 80-year-old seaside golf links, designed by legendary architect Alister MacKenzie.  “The plaintiffs swung and missed, and seem to think they won the Open.” 

          The fee motion was filed in Wild Equity Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, et al. vs. City and County of San Francisco, U.S.District Court, Northern District of California, No. 11-cv-956 SI, in which the plaintiff groups filed suit under the Endangered Species Act, alleging that golf operations are killing federally-protected California red-legged frogs and San Francisco garter snakes.  The Plaintffs sought a Court order closing golf operations at the popular public course, owned by San Francisco but located in the southern beachside suburb of Pacifica, CA.

          Federal Judge Susan Illston on December 6, 2012 dismissed the Lawsuit, and the Plaintiffs have since filed an appeal.  Judge Illston had previously in November, 2011 denied the Plaintiffs’ motion for a Preliminary Injunction to halt golf operations, and in April, 2012 denied the Plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion.

          The Plaintiffs’ fee motion was filed under a provision of the Endangered Species Act that authorizes the Courts to award legal fees “whenever the Court determines such award is appropriate”.  Plaintiffs seek payment for more than 2,000 hours of attorneys time, most of which are billed at hourly rates between $550 and $750. 

          “This is environmental litigation in Wonderland,” said Links of the Public Golf Alliance.  “Plaintiffs bring suit to close the golf course that created the freshwater conditions that enabled the frog and snake to come in the first place.  Then they lose every motion they file, and their case is thrown out.  And now they want the Court to order the City to pay their attorney’s fees?  How can this possibly be an “appropriate” case for a fee award?  It’s a request that boggles the mind, especially given the City’s efforts, which began long before this lawsuit was filed, to do the right thing by the species and golfers who together inhabit this wonderful place.”

          A hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion is currently scheduled for May 10, 2013.

                         # # # # #

For more information, contact:

Richard Harris

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Richard@erskinetulley.com

415-290-5718

 


Join Us at Sharp Park for a Volunteer Work Party Saturday, February 9, at 8 a.m.

Jan 28, 2013

Sharp Park Superintendent Wayne Kappelman has a great volunteer opportunity for us:  pulling iceplant and planting native plants near the 16th green and 17th tee.  

Come join volunteers from the  SF Public Golf Alliance and the Sharp Park Golf Club for a work party Saturday, February 9, at 8 a.m.  Meet at the Clubhouse.  Bring your work gloves.  

RSVP to the SPGC's Butch Larroche at venkman62@yahoo.com and to us at info@sfpublicgolf.com .

 


Federal Judge Dismisses Anti-Golf Lawsuit at Sharp Park!

Dec 6, 2012

Judge Susan Illston on December 6, 2012 dismissed a federal court lawsuit aimed at closing the historic, San Francisco-owned Sharp Park Golf Course.

See the Press Release and the Judge's Decision.

PRESS RELEASE  - FEDERAL JUDGE DISMISSES ANTI-GOLF LAWSUIT AT SHARP PARK

SAN FRANCISCO.     

Judge Susan Illston on December 6 dismissed a federal court lawsuit aimed at closing the historic, San Francisco-owned Sharp Park Golf Course.

Brought by a covey of conservation groups led by the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sierra Club, the lawsuit alleged that public golf operations at Sharp Park are killing rare frogs and snakes  in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act.  Wild Equity Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, et al. vs. City and County of San Francisco, et al., U.S. District Court, N.D. California, No. C11-00958 SI.

Judge Illston cited an October 2, 2012 Biological Opinion issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) that found golf at Sharp Park is “not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the California red-legged frog or San Francisco garter snake.”  The FWS issued an Incidental Take Statement, approving continued golf and related maintenance activities, subject to FWS restrictions on pesticides, golf carts, water pumping, and other practices. 

“This is a common sense result,” said Chris Carr, of the Morrison and Foerster office, lawyers for co-defendant San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, which brought the motion to dismiss.  “And it should lead to a period of cooperation in which San Francisco and San Mateo County can work together to restore habitat for the species, while preserving historic and popular public recreation.”  

Sharp Park was created by master architect Alister MacKenzie, who built many of the world’s greatest golf courses, including Augusta National, home of the annual Masters Tournament, and the Cypress Point Club. 

 Long known as “the poor man’s Pebble Beach,” Sharp Park has been a Pacifica gathering place since its opening in 1932.  It is the historic home of a middle-class and ethnic minority golfing clientele, and in 1955 hosted the inaugural tournament of the Western States Golf Association, one of the country’s oldest and largest African-American golfing societies.  Sharp Park is designated an “historic resource” under the California Environmental Quality Act, and recognized as historic by the Pacifica General Plan, the Pacifica Historical Society, and the Cultural Landscape Foundation of Washington, D.C.

Sharp Park has been the focus of a four-year political and legal tug-of-war between advocates of public recreation and historical preservation on the one side, and the environmental groups led by CBD on the other.  In December, 2011, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance calling for closure and conversion of the golf course into a frog and snake sanctuary.  But the ordinance was vetoed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who in his veto message called for San Francisco and San Mateo County to work together for a “balanced approach” to save public recreation at the golf course, while recovering habitat for the species.

“With this important step behind us,” said former Pacifica Mayor Julie Lancelle, “the dream of restoring the public treasure that is Sharp Park can move forward.” 

Golf course preservation, combined with habitat recovery, is supported by San Francisco Mayor Lee, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission, unanimous resolutions of the Pacifica City Council and San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, and by Congresswoman Jackie Speier

 

Contact:

Richard Harris:  Richard@erskinetulley.com; 415-290-5718

Bo Links: bo@slotelaw.com; 415-393-8099

 


Sharp Park Sneak Attack Tabled Indefinitely

Dec 3, 2012

Good News!

On Monday, Dec.  3, the Land Use Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors 'Tabled ' indefinitely a draft Resolution sponsored by Supervisor Christina Olague, that would have aborted the nearly-four-year-old Environmental Review process for a Rec & Park Sharp Park Plan to recover frog and snake habitat, while saving the 80-year-old Alister MacKenzie-designed 18-hole golf course.  Supervisor Olague herself, with an assist from Supervisor Scott Wiener, moved to 'Table' the Resolution; the motion was adopted by the Committee without objection.  A video of the Land Use Committee's Dec. 3 proceedings (Sharp Park occupies the opening 4 minutes) can be found at:  http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=12 

The Olague Resolution was supported by anti-golf groups, including the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, Wild Equity Institute, and by the Sierra Club's San Francisco Bay Chapter.  San Francisco Public Golf Alliance led the opposition.    

Special thanks to:  the several dozen Alliance members who wrote e-mails and letters to the Supervisors, opposing the Olague Resolution; and to the additional handful who  personally attended and monitored the Land Use Committee meetings on Nov.  19 and Dec.  3.   

Under Board of Supervisors' procedural rules, the 'tabling' of draft legislation does not kill the bill; rather, it means the bill will go into a kind of legislative limbo; the legislation can be revived by any one Supervisor,  calling at a meeting of the Full Board for the Land Use Committee to conduct a public hearing on  the matter, on no less than 6 days' notice. 

Semper Vigilans.

Save Sharp Park!

 


December 3rd hearing postponed!

Nov 29, 2012

There will be no need for you to attend in person the SF Supervisors' Land Use Committee public meeting Monday, Dec. 3 at City Hall. The anti-golf Olague Resolution remains on the Dec. 3 Agenda (Item #7). But the Agenda also says it's the Committee Chairman's intent to seek a continuation of the hearing to an unspecified future date. 
 
So we suggest that you Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, Stay Home, and save your gas and your public meeting energy for the next round, whenever that may come. (We will notify you.) Take the saved time to read a good book, do the Holiday shopping, or practice your short game. 
 
We here at Public Golf Alliance Central will cover the Dec. 3 meeting, and convey Golf Alliance members' opposition to the Olague Resolution.

 


Sharp Park Sneak Attack Hearing Continued to December 3 at SF Supervisors Committee

Nov 27, 2012

Save Sharp Park Golf Course.  Come to the San Francisco Supervisors' Land Use Committee public hearing, December 3 at 1:00 p.m., to testify against the Olague Resolution, which is part of the anti-golf activists' campaign to convert the golf course to a nature park.  The Olague Resolution would require start-over of the 4-year-old Environmental Impact Review process for the Rec & Park Department's plan to keep Sharp Park Golf Course open, while recovering habitat for frogs and snakes. 

 

The hearing will be at San Francisco City Hall, Room 250, the Supervisors' Hearing Chamber at the top of the grand staircase.  This will be a continuation from the Land Use Committee's November 19 meeting.  See copy of the Resolution here.  And see our earlier notice of the November 19 Committee hearing, here.  

 


Help Defend Against Another Sharp Park Sneak Attack

Nov 16, 2012

Testify Against Olague Resolution to Sever Sharp Park from Natural Areas EIR

At SF Supes Land Use Committee Hearing Monday, Nov. 19, 1 p.m. at City Hall;

Write E-Mails before Monday, Nov. 19


 Please attend, if you can, on Monday, Nov. 19, 1 p.m. at San Francisco City Hall, Supervisors Legislative Chambers, Room 250 (at top of the grand staircase) a public hearing by the SF Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee, at which an Anti-Sharp Park Golf Course resolution will be debated on Agenda Item #5.  See the Notice of Meeting and the Resolution.  Members of the Land Use Committee are:  Supervisors Eric Mar, Scott Weiner, and Malia Cohen.

 Also, please send an e-mail to the Committee members (with cc to Supervisor Elsbernd and Mayor Lee); see sample e-mail, below.  And send me a copy; I will collect the e-mails and deliver hard copies to the Committee at the public meeting.

  The Olague Resolution would sever Sharp Park from the ongoing Natural Areas Environmental Impact Report process, thereby requiring San Francisco to start over in its Sharp Park planning.  Please come  to the Land Use Committee meeting and testify that you want to see the Natural Areas Plan EIR go forward, including the combination golf course renovation/species habitat recovery plan that was approved by the Rec & Park Commission in December, 2009.  The public has spent years on this fight, and San Francisco public agencies have spent thousands of hours of staff time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in consultants fees in development of the Sharp Park golf course renovation and habitat recovery plan.  And of course members of the public have collectively expended thousands of hours of their time in commenting and attending public meetings.  It would be irresponsible to unravel all of this time, money, and effort.  The City has better uses for its limited financial resources.

 If you cannot attend in person, please send an e-mail to the Supervisors, with copies to Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, strongly stating your opposition to the Olague Ordinance.  See a draft of such an e-mail, below, with the supervisors' e-mail addresses.  That draft e-mail briefly recites the procedural history of the Sharp Park plan and all of the public meetings, hearings, etc., over recent years.  Likely you have attended and/or written letters, and are familiar with all this process.  But if you need more details, send me an e-mail request, and I will respond.   

 Be certain to put your own home address and phone number on your e-mail comment.  Send a copy of your e-mails/letters to me, and I will copy them and carry hard copies to the Committee meeting. 

 RSVP:  Please let us know if you will be able to attend.  We will meet you outside the Supervisors' chambers at 12:40 p.m.  Circulate this note to your friends, and bring 2 friends to the meeting.  Thanks.

 Save Sharp Park!

_____________________

Sample E-Mail

_____________________

San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Land Use and Economic Development Committee    alisa.miller@sfgov.org

Supervisor Eric Mar         Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org

Supervisor Scott Weiner  scott.wiener@sfgov.org

Supervisor Malia Cohen   malia.cohen@sfgov.org

 

Re:  Please Vote No on Resolution to Sever Sharp Park from the Natural Areas EIR

File No. 120619

Land Use, etc. Committee Hearing November 19, 2012, Agenda No. 5

 

Dear Supervisors,

            I am a public course golfer, and I support the San Francisco Rec & Park Department's plan to save the historic and popular Sharp Park Golf Course, while at the same time protecting the environment by recovering frog and snake habitat in the golf course's wetlands. 

            Please vote 'No' on the Sharp Park resolution, File No. 120619, which would require the City's Rec & Park and Planning Departments to start over on the Environmental Review process for the City's Sharp Park plan (overwhelmingly endorsed by the Rec & Park citizens advisory committee and unanimously adopted by the Rec & Park Commission in December, 2009).   Supervisor Olague's Resolution would mean a colossal waste of public time, money, and effort that has gone into the Sharp Park plan.  We cannot afford such public waste -- especially not now, in hard economic times, when we need to spend public money carefully.     

            The City's Sharp Park plan is the result of more than a dozen public meetings in both San Francisco and Pacifica since April, 2009, by several San Francisco public agencies, including the Rec & Park Commission and its citizens advisory committee ('PROSAC'), the SF Public Utilities Commission (on the related issue of the Sharp Park Recycled Water Project), and the Board of Supervisors and its City Audit and Neighborhood Services and Government Audit and Oversight committees.     

            Sharp Park has been part of the Significant Natural Areas Management Plan since the initial draft plan in 1995.  The golf course was very explicitly the subject of the Environmental Impact public 'scoping' written comments and public meetings in both San Francisco and Pacifica in May, 2009, and again in both public testimony and written comment to the Planning Commission on the Draft Environmental Impact Report in 2011 and 2012.    

            All of this represents thousands of hours of paid consultants' time public agency staff time over many years, and yet more thousands of hours of individual citizens' time in submitting written comments and appearing at the public hearings.   Supervisor Olague's Resolution would let all of this money, time, and effort go to waste.

For these reasons, I respectfully request your 'No' vote on File No. 120619.

 

Yours truly,

[your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address]

 

cc:    Mayor Ed Lee                                ed.lee@sfgov.org

        President of the Board David Chiu    david.chiu@sfgov.org

        Supervisor Sean Elsbernd               sean.elsbernd@sfgov.org

        Clerk of the Board of Supervisors     angela.calvillo@sfgov.org



 


Public Golf Alliance Member’s Golf Video Game Is Big Hit

Aug 30, 2012

World Golf Tour, a golf video game created by SF Public Golf Alliance member Yu-Chiang Cheng, is the talk of the business world. 

Click here to read the article in the September 10 issue of Forbes Magazine.

 


Fry’s.com Open Ticket Sales to Benefit SF Public Golf Alliance

Aug 30, 2012

The Fry's.com Open -- the PGA Tour's mid-October Silicon Valley tour stop, scheduled for October 10-14 at the Cordevalle Resort -- will donate to the Alliance 20 percent of ticket sales to Alliance members. It's a great way to support the Alliance, while watching top professionals such as British Open Champion Ernie Els, and taking in the Fall Colors at the beautiful Cordevalle Resort in the Santa Clara Valley wine country south of San Jose. See below for ticket information and instructions on how to credit your ticket purchase to the SF Public Golf Alliance. See you at Cordevalle in October!

PGA TOUR RETURNS TO SILICON VALLEY

OCTOBER 10-14, 2012

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! 

20% of San Francisco Public Golf Alliance ticket sales will go to

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Purchase your tickets online at www.frysopengolf.com/tickets/.  Be sure to enter partner code PUBLIC GOLF ALLIANCE in the Partner Code (promo) box in “ALL CAPS” when you login. 

  • Daily Tickets:  Wed – Fri $35 per day
  • Daily Tickets:  Sat – Sun $45 per day
  • All-Week Badge:  Wed – Sun $125 One general admission badge good all week.
  • One Child 14 and under gets FREE admission when accompanied by a paid adult
  • Each ticket also includes FREE convenient parking.

For additional information, please go to our website www.frysopengolf.com or

Contact Jun Lee, Ticket Sales Manager at 408-487-4653 / jun.frysopen@gmail.com


 


Sharp Park to host inaugural Lefty O’Doul charity tournament to support youth baseball, September 10

Aug 12, 2012

Join the Public Golf Alliance team in supporting youth baseball at the inaugural Lefty O'Doul charity golf tournament, Monday, September 10, at Sharp Park.  Click here for information and entry blank.

Let the Alliance know if you sign-up, at:  info@sfpublicgolf.com.

 


The San Francisco First Tee program featured nationally

Jul 8, 2012

The San Francisco First Tee program at the Visitacion Valley Middle School is featured in national stories in Golf Digest.com and the Golf Channel.

The First Tee's program to teach good citizenship through a golf program at the Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco's Sunnydale neighborhood is the subject of national news coverage in Golf Digest.com (click here) and The Golf Channel (click here).

 


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