Golden Gate Golf: A guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area

By Brandon Tucker,
Senior Writer

One of America's most exciting and diverse cities to visit, San Francisco is a regular spotlight in the golf world as well.

Olympic Country Club's Lake Course is a regular host to the U.S. Open, and will host the 2012 event. Next door, the city's historic, coveted municipal course, Harding Park Golf Course, is the host for both the World Golf Championships in 2005 and the 2009 Presidents Cup. Locals adore this Willie Watson design from the 1920s that saw a massive restoration project recently, though out-of-staters are welcome here, too (for a higher green fee).

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How much golf at your disposal in San Francisco and the Bay Area depends on exactly how big of a palette you're willing to call the "Bay Area."

Historic Presidio Golf Course, established in 1896, opened its doors to the public in recent years and lies at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge in the 77,000-acre Golden Gate Recreation Area and offers classical golf design set through Cypress and Eucalyptus trees on sloping terrain near the bay.

Golden Gate GolfThe golf options are more varied if you get out of the city center a bit. In the East Bay, Callippe Preserve Golf Course is one of the Oakland-area's top munis and is a good value even for non-residents. Sixty miles south from the center of San Francisco is Pasatiempo Golf Club, it's an Alister Mackenzie-designed masterpiece in Santa Cruz that was recently restored to one of the nation's best once again.

Two hours south is the golf mecca of the Monterey Peninsula, home to Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Links at Spanish Bay and many more of America's most coveted coastal plays.

Golden Gate GolfOr stop halfway there at Half Moon Bay Golf Links' 36 oceanfront holes and hotel between San Francisco and San Jose. Other San Jose-area public options are CordeValle Golf Club, an upscale resort course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., and Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, which offers dramatic golf through steep canyons.

Getting to San Francisco

San Francisco Airport (SFO) offers access to the Bay Area and is usually the cheapest and convenient option. Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC) also have large airports with direct flights to many destinations.

Brandon Tucker is a Senior Writer and Special Projects Editor for the Network, where he contributes not only golf and travel articles, but photo essays, videos and more. His golf travels have taken him across the U.S., including more than 50 Myrtle Beach-area golf courses, and to such destinations as Scotland, Wales, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Malaysia.

September 18, 2009

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Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.

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