The big-ticket landscape of the greater Bay Area, from bustling cosmopolitan cities to quiet coastal communities, has been gifted with an exceptionally diverse collection of communal golf courses layered with a rich frosting of history, from the architects who conceived them to some of the greatest wizards of the links, including Johnny Miller and Ken Venturi, who honed their skills on the sidehill, uphill, and downhill lies around the doglegged fairways. Whether a local or visitor, there’s a golf challenge to suit any size wallet.
The following is a curated list of the best public golf courses in San Francisco.
Feature Photo: Courtesy of TPC Harding Park
Presidio Golf Course
Year built: 1895
Architect: Robert Johnstone/William McEwan
Number of holes: 18
Practice Area: Driving range, 6-hole practice putting/chipping green
Food & Beverage: Presidio Café
Overlooking the gateway to San Francisco Bay, Presidio GC (1895) is the second oldest course west of the Mississippi. Before transitioning to a public course in 1995, play was restricted to military officers and the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth and Dwight Eisenhower. The deceivingly long 6,481-yard hilly layout within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area meanders around Eucalyptus and Monterey Pine trees and is a mission worth undertaking. presidiogolf.com
TPC Harding Park
Year built: 1925
Architect: Willie Watson/Sam Whiting
Number of holes: 27
Practice Area: Toptracer Range, putting green
Food & Beverage: Cypress Grill
Surrounded by Monterey Cypress trees and Lake Merced, TPC Harding Park (1925) is where San Francisco-born golf legends Johnny Miller, Ken Venturi, and George Archer honed their game. Following a $16 million restoration project in 2002-03, the 6,845-yard gem has hosted multiple pro tournaments, including the Presidents Cup (2005) and the 2020 PGA Championship. The Fleming 9 course (2,165 yards) was added in 1961 in the interior of the 18-hole layout. tpc.com/hardingpark
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