San Francisco Golf: TPC Harding Park

The fairway bunkers at TPC Harding Park golf course, San Francisco
The fairway bunkers at TPC Harding golf course, San Francisco

I live in the east bay, near Walnut Creek, 20 miles east of San Francisco and have been playing a different local public golf course nearly every weekend for 15 years.  There are tremendous public golf opportunities within a 40 minute drive from Napa (north) to Brentwood (east) to Livermore/Sunol (south.)  There are literally dozens of golf course choices.  With that in mind, I rarely consider the City when it comes to golf. My son, Evan, and I and another father son twosome, Tim and Brian Repp, had the opportunity to play  TPC Harding Park golf course in San Francisco on the Saturday of the Masters weekend. We were fortunate to score a 9:30 a.m. Saturday tee time.  The advice ‘Go West young man’ is still very sound when it comes to golf.

Golf at TPC Harding Park

When playing a golf course for the first time, I have found it advantageous to ride in a cart rather than walk.  One can check out the blind shots in a cart and still keep pace. Many golf courses require carts and distances from greens the next tee box are often extended.  I prefer to walk a golf course whenever I have the opportunity. Fortunately for me, our group decided to walk TPC Harding Park. (it is cart path only at Harding for and you can get a pull cart both are included in the green fees).

"TPC Harding" golf
TPC Harding Park #9 Fairway

TPC Harding Park golf history

TPC Harding Park was built in 1925 before golf carts were a part of golf.  This golf course was meant to be walked and is a classic course; meticulously maintained with new greens and bunkers this year. It is a wonderful walk, spoiled only by the things that make golf fun and frustrating at the same time….one’s own golf game.  The first nine holes are in the center of the golf course with the back nine wrapping around the perimeter.  There are no condos, roads or bike paths on the golf course; perhaps a few San Franciscans wondering with small dogs on number 18 as you approach the club house, but otherwise the golf course is lined by cypress trees with amply wide fairways and beautiful hole after hole of challenging but straight forward golf.  It is a par 72, the white tees play at 6405 yards (71.1/122).  At one point our own shadows startled us while putting on the back nine, but the sun quickly retreated as it does in San Francisco.

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"TPC Harding" golf
TPC Harding Park Cypress and Lake Merced

We played our round in four hours and ten minutes, a treat to never have to wait as this is not always the case on some public golf courses.  Chris in the pro shop gave us sound advice “the new greens run true.”  TPC Harding Park has a full driving range and range balls are included with the green fees. The dining facility at TPC Harding is very nice and they have a good selection of beers with outdoor tables overlooking the lake.  Across Lake Merced, which borders several holes on the back nine and over the hill, is the Olympic Club where the 2012 US Open was held.  Just across Lake Merced is the Pacific Rod and Gun Club. Established in 1934, it is the last facility of its kind in a major metropolitan area.  I mention this fact because you may experience the sound of shot guns as you play the back nine. The gun club opens at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.  They close at 5:00 p.m. so you could fit in a round or two of skeet after golf with an early tee time.  ($40 a round of skeet including steel shot that you have to buy there.)

I played Lincoln Park Golf Course a long, long time ago and remember the views of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio Golf Course is on my list to play and it is known for its tight fairways. I will come back to TPC Harding Park as it was a premier golf experience with excellent facilities, friendly staff and an outstanding golf course.

"Evan D. Brown" "TPC Harding"
Evan D. Brown drives it home from TPC Harding Park 18th tee

Insider Tip

Did you know that TPC Harding Park is an ADA accessible golf course? For ADA program access, the accessible route to teeing grounds, putting greens and other playing areas is via the accessible golf cart. The accessible cart at Harding Park Golf Course is available for use with 24 hour notice. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown and TPC Harding Park on Twitter for golf tips @TPCHarding.

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If You Go:
TPC Harding Park Golf   (415) 664-4690

99 Harding Road
San Francisco, CA 94132

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Article and photos by Cory Brown who was a guest of TPC Harding Park.