The Best Golf Courses in San Francisco

The Best Golf Courses in San Francisco

Picture of Robert Kaufman

Robert Kaufman

Robert Kaufman is an internationally published golf & travel writer and award-winning photographer with an observant eye and insightful journalistic style that has guided him around the world, including all 50 states...and playing golf in 24 countries! During his entrepreneurial career, Robert founded Northern California’s first monthly golf publication and was instrumental in directing Visit California’s golf marketing initiative to raise global awareness for the state as a top-tier golf destination. His work can be viewed at Picture PARfect.

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, theres 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
A scenic view of one of the best golf courses San Francisco boasts, with green fairways, sand bunkers, and tall trees. In the background, there's a large domed building and an urban skyline under a clear blue sky. This is just one of the many things to do in the Bay Area for golfing enthusiasts.
Photo: Robert Kaufman

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.

A golf course with a well-manicured green fairway on a sunny day. Trees line both sides of the fairway, and there are sand bunkers near the green, which has a flag marking the hole. If you're golfing in the Bay Area, this is one of the best golf courses San Francisco offers under a clear blue sky.
Photo: Robert Kaufman

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. 

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