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San Francisco public golf a great value in an expensive city

By S. Adam Cardais,
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A view of No. 18 at Harding Park in San Francisco, one of the most storied and revered municipal golf courses in America. (Courtesy Harding Park)

It may be among America's most expensive cities, but luckily for golfers some great deals can be found on tee times at San Francisco's golf courses.

The home to the Golden Gate Bridge boasts renowned municipal golf courses such as Harding Park. But average duffers won't have to cash in their kids' college funds to get a round, as tee times at Harding Park and other excellent San Francisco munis can be had for around $50.

Here's a quick look at the best municipal golf courses in San Francisco.

Public golf courses in San Francisco

Harding Park: This legendary San Francisco muni hosted the 2005 WGC American Express Championship, won by Tiger Woods. Harding Park, measuring nearly 7,000 yards, has built a strong history since opening in 1925. Today, it's one of the most revered public tracks in America, following a massive renovation in 2003.

Bordered on three sides by beautiful Lake Merced, the facility includes a practice area, where beginner and seasoned golfer alike can train with one of Harding Park's PGA Professionals. After your round, grab a quick bite to eat or get a drink at the club's restaurant, The Cypress Grill.

The Presidio Golf Course: Originally built as a nine-hole golf course in 1896 on what was then an army base, The Presidio is steeped in history. Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower both played the course, which became a national park, and therefore public, in 1995.

Today, Arnold Palmer Golf Management operates the 6,477-yard track. Golfers will play on rolling fairways filled with Eucalyptus and Monterey Pine trees and dotted with penal bunkers. Beware: precision is key.

"Accuracy is important on these straight, tight holes, placed fairly close to each other," Rebecca Larsen wrote in a story for GolfCalifornia.com.

Half Moon Bay Golf Links: This public facility has two tracks: The Old Course and The Ocean Course. At 7,003 yards with a 135 slope rating, The Old Course is the tougher of the two. The Arnold Palmer design plays through lakes, cypress and coastal pines. It is perhaps best known for its No. 18, a cliff-hanging 412-yard par 4 that plays south along the Pacific Ocean.

The Ocean Course is a links-style track reminiscent of the best golf courses of Scotland. It measures 6,649 yards from the tips and carries a 131 slope rating. Playing along the edge of a cliff, The Ocean Course's final three holes are its crown jewel.

Poplar Creek Golf Course: The fairways at Poplar Creek are lined with nearly 1,000 mature trees, and golfers will have to battle with seriously undulating greens and five rock-edged lakes. But not to worry, four sets of tees make Poplar Creek accessible to a range of skill levels.

The clubhouse faces the golf course, offering views of the 18th fairway, green, lake, waterfall and stream. It includes a full-service pro shop, Dominic's Restaurant & Bar and banquet facilities that can accommodate as many as 200 people.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • San Francisco

    Dan Lindsay wrote on: Jun 28, 2007

    Kind of stretching the term 'muni' don't you think? Harding is the only true SF muni listed. Half Moon is down the coast, Poplar Creek is in San Mateo and the Presidio belonged to the military. Talk about old true muni's muni's like Tilden and even Lincoln.


  • Tilden

    paul wrote on: Jun 26, 2007

    You forgot Tilden a great muni in SF