Sharp Park Golf Course, a rare seaside municipal golf links built in 1932 by master architect Alister MacKenzie—- best-known for building world-class private courses like Cypress Point Club and Augusta National, home of the annual Master’s Tournament – will mark its 80th anniversary Saturday, May 19 with a golf tournament and birthday celebration.
The festivities are part of National Historic Preservation Month, and will be hosted by the Pacifica Historical Society, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, Sharp Park men’s and women’s golf clubs, and the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance. A long list of sponsors include the Northern and Southern California Golf Associations, and PING Golf, a leading golf manufacturer now based in Phoenix, that was founded in the early 1960’s in San Mateo County.
Sharp Park is designated an “Historical Resource” under the California Environmental Quality Act by the Planning Department of the City and County of San Francisco, which owns the property – notwithstanding its location in San Mateo County. The golf course is also listed as a threatened nationally-significant cultural landscape by the Cultural Landscape Foundation of Washington, DC.
San Francisco favorite son and 1964 U.S. Open winner Ken Venturi, Honorary Chairman of the Golf Alliance, calls Sharp Park “Alister MacKenzie’s great gift to the American public golfer,” because of its Scottish seaside links character, distinguished architect, great natural beauty, and modest greens fees. In December, 2011, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee vetoed a Board of Supervisors resolution designed to lead to closure of the golf course.
Sharp Park is currently the subject of a lawsuit, brought in 2011 by a collection of conservation groups, which claim that golf harms endangered frogs and snakes that inhabit wetlands on the golf course. In April, 2012 that suit was stayed by Federal Judge Susan Illston, who shelved the legal proceedings pending a Biological Opinion from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which is due to render its Opinion sometime in September, 2012. In November, 2011, Judge Illston denied the conservationists’ motion for a preliminary injunction to halt golf operations at the course.
“The frogs and snakes wouldn’t even be there if it weren’t for the golf course,” says Lisa Villasenor, a Pacifica resident and member of the Women’s Club. “We golfers are stewards of this beautiful place. Golfers are light on the land, and their presence actually protects these creatures from their animal predators, such as dogs, cats, and small mammals like raccoons. The golf course is also the social and economic heart of Pacifica’s Sharp Park district. Folks here love this place, and that’s why we’re celebrating it and working hard to preserve it.”
The May 19 golf tournament, expected to draw nearly 250 golfers, will be followed at 6 p.m. by festivities, including historical observance and a silent auction, in the Sharp Park Clubhouse Restaurant.
Richard Harris: 415-290-5718
Bo Links: 415-393-8099