The 2020 PGA Championship, contested in early August in San Francisco, was the first major golf championship held without fans. Collin Morikawa's drive-and-putt for eagle at the 16th will become the target of visitors to the San Fran muni for years to come. The mild trend toward contesting major events at public-access courses, regardless of green fee, means that more golfers will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of their heroes.
Harding Park was designed by William Watson and Sam Whiting, who also joined forces to lay out the adjacent Olympic Club, a decidedly-private venue. The course has a riches-to-rags-to-riches history, moving from storied venue to parking lot, to a refurbished gem. It became a TPC course in 2010, That means that your green fee will set you back a few bills. No worries, though, as there is plenty of golf to be played in San Francisco, to balance the budget.
San Francisco's Other Munis
The city by the bay has a soft spot for golf. McLaren Park, Golden Gate Park, Sharp Park and Presidio are four courses, owned and operated, by a variety of municipalities, in addition to the 27 holes at Harding Park. Rates at these other munis are one-fifth to nearly one-tenth of what is costs to peg it at Harding. If you're staying in Frisco and don't want to move around much, there's plenty of public-access golf via SFMTA.
Two in Oakland
Lake Chabot and Monarch Bay-Tony Lema are located across the bay in Oakland. Much like the finances-friendly courses across the water, these two fit well inside the affordable-green-fee-per-round bracket. Lake Chabot comes in between $30 and $45, while Monarch Bay maxes out at $59 on the weekend. The San Mateo-Hayward bridge is your passage eastward, to two courses with tremendous views of the land and sea of the Bay area.
Forget North, Head South
Nature lovers and hikers head north of The City, but for golfers, it's a dead zone. To the south, however, wonderful golf awaits. There is plenty of golf between San Francisco and San Jose, but we're going to stay along the coast and give you a look at a pair of high-end golf locales.
The sweetest ones are Half Moon Bay (36 minutes from Harding Park) and Pasatiempo (67 minutes to the south). Two courses await at Half Moon Bay, which is situated on the water, just south of Redondo Beach. Pasatiempo is something of a pilgrimage site. It is the spot where golf course architect Alister MacKenzie laid down roots, after traveling the world as a doctor, warrior, and builder. His home is located to the left of the 6th fairway, and Pasatiempo was his favorite tract of land. Like Donald Ross at Pinehurst, Pasatiempo is synonymous with MacKenzie.
If you find yourself jonesing for a round of golf at TPC-Harding Park, be sure to set aside a few more days to see the area's other golf wonders.