News & Events

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.

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For more information, contact

Richard Harris


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