Jack Fleming’s 1932 Preview Of The “New” Sharp Park

The San Francisco Call Bulletin on 02/29/1932 and the original Alister MacKenzie routing on opening day.

Tee Topics

Here’s What You’ll Find at Sharp’s Park

Fleming Describes City’s Newest Layout

San Francisco Call-Bulletin, February 29, 1932

With the opening of the Sharps Park course set for April 1, a lot of fairway folks want to know what the "going" is like between the first tee, and the eighteenth green.

After playing the layout the other afternoon with Dr. Alister MacKenzie, its designer; Bob Hunter Jr., who played a prominent part in the construction of the course, and Jimmy McGee, the writer agrees with Jack Fleming, the superintendent of the course, that he has had one whale of a time trying grow grass on the acreage circling Laguna Salada. The soil itself is not good and innumerable top dressings have not benefited it much. There is sufficient water available, but until a reservoir is constructed in the canyon east of the course to guarantee an adequate supply of fresh water, I am inclined to the belief that growing grass will remain a problem to Fleming.

Water now used on the course is pumped from a reservoir near the beach and, naturally, contains salt. The result is that the grass isn't growing as it should, and the course at present presents a "splotchy" appearance. The greens are excellent.

You want to know about the course, don't you? Well, here is a description of the layout prepared by Jack Fleming. You will be interested, I know, in knowing that Fleming is rated by none other than Dr. MacKenzie as one of the most expert greenkeepers in the country.

Here is Fleming's hole by hole description of the course:

Hole 1 (current 11th hole)

409 yards - Par 4

The 11th was the original opening hole, and a test at that: over 400 yards back in 1932

"A fairly long two shot hole slightly dog legged. No particular difficulties to a straight hitter." - Jack Fleming

Hole 2 (current 12th hole, shortened to a 3-par)

262 yards - Par 4

The 2nd hole originally was a short par 4 with double tees and a routing that crossed a corner of the lagoon. Today it's the 12th, a stout three par, backed against the sea wall with ocean breezes always in play.

"A short two shotter. Drive must clear an arm of lake at about 100 yards, but a wide fairway available at 175 yards out. Green set back against trees and trapped in right front." - Jack Fleming

Hole 3 (lost)

420 yards - Par 4

"One of the ocean holes constructed on the beach in a slight depression bounded by sand and sand grass embankment on left, trees on right. Entrance to green slightly advantageous from left on account of traps." - Jack Fleming

Hole 4 (lost)

120 yards, Par 3

The original 4th hole is waiting to be reclaimed.

Artists recreation of the original 4th

"A one shotter. Green very large, but well trapped in front and right, trees left and rear." - Jack Fleming

Hole 5 (current 17th hole)

327 yards - Par 4

This hole was one of two that MacKenzie modeled after the famous "Lido Hole“, the 1914 design entry submitted to Country Life magazine that launched his career.

"A lakeside hole and one of the most interesting holes on the course, similar to Dr. MacKenzie’s “ideal golf hole” [a reference to the Lido Design]. Three tees, four routes. Easy route probably will cost at least one extra stroke to get on while the other combinations of tees and routes give rewards proportionate to their respective risks." - Jack Fleming

Hole 6 (lost)

158 yards - Par 3

"A difficult par. Green well trapped." - Jack Fleming

Hole 7 (Paralleled current 16th hole)

383 yards - Par 4

"Similar to No. 3, but in opposite direction. A trap endangers the short player on his second, but properly played as a two shot hole a par is possible." - Jack Fleming

Hole 8 (lost)

398 yards - Par 4

"A dogleg, quite difficult for two shots. Drive is blind and over trees if played close to get in opening for a good second. Plenty of fairway, however, for those who play short and do not care to risk trees on right for possible par. The wide play practically requires three strokes to get on." - Jack Fleming

Hole 9 (current 13th hole)

538 yards - Par 5

The modern day 13th as viewed from behind the old 9th tee.

"A lakeside hole with wide, sandy beach on water side. Back tee should be used by all, as water carry is very short and close to tee. Requires three good shots to get on if dogleg is played, but possibly a very long sure approach will get in under par." - Jack Fleming

Hole 10 (current 14th hole)

382 yards - Par 4

This is the other hole MacKenzie modeled after his Lido Hole. The original design, like that of the original 5th hole, featured two fairways. The one on the left, closest to the lagoon, was a peninsula much like the Lido design. A mound and camouflage bunker protect the green.

"One of the best holes, two tees, four possible routes, sand and water carries optional. The ideal shot is an accurately placed ball on an island with a water carry on both first and second shots. If well placed on first, the green opens well for a pitch and run second. All other approaches to the green are guarded." - Jack Fleming

Hole 11 (currently 15th hole)

142 yards - Par 3

"A fairway-less short hole. Water and sand carry, trap green. Green, however, is long and should receive an average straight ball easily." - Jack Fleming

Hole 12 (current 18th hole)

486 yards - Par 5

"Fairway flat, double dogleg. Not difficult except to get two good straight drives in succession." - Jack Fleming

Hole 13 (current 3rd hole)

345 yards - Par 4

This sporty par 4 was originally the 13th hole. The green is well protected and one can readily see how MacKenzie's original green must have heaved and flowed with the bumps and hollows that are there today.

"Passing the clubhouse from No. 12 green to No. 13 tee. The thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth are all holes of a different type than the lakeside and ocean holes. No 13 is an upland type of hole of average difficulty. The green is well trapped." - Jack Fleming

Hole 14 (shortened; current 8th hole)

134 yards - Par 3

"This short hole has two tees. The tee with the carry across the creek opens into green easily, while on crossing creek to the other tee a more difficult shot over a trap at the green is encountered. Directly into prevailing winds." - Jack Fleming

Hole 15 (current 2nd hole)

339 yards - Par 4

"Similar to No. 12. At present along the edge of the county road, which it is planned to re-locate. No. 15 green is near clubhouse." - Jack Fleming

Hole 16 (current 1st hole)

363 yards - Par 4

"A nice hole with two optional routes and a creek to cross." - Jack Fleming

Hole 17 (current 9th hole)

471 yards - Par 5

"A long hole down the south property line. The green is on a 15 foot fill." - Jack Fleming

Hole 18 (current 10th hole)

443 yards - Par 4

In front of the Clubhouse - Original 16th tee and 18th green (Current 1st tee and 10th green)

"The finishing hole is long and hazardous if not successfully played on both long shots, but the green is wide, open and nicely rolling in order to lend interest to the many thrilling final decisions which will no doubt be made on it. A clump of trees guards the green on the left." - Jack Fleming