TPC Harding Park unveils renovated greens after four-month makeover

TPC Harding Park
Courtesy of TPC Harding Park
TPC Harding Park has renovated all its greens and bunkers, and now hopes to land some high-profile golf events.
By John Holmes

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014 | 11:40 p.m.
What a week it's been for golf in California. In the past few days alone, the famed Poppy Hills Golf Course reopened after a top-to-bottom makeover and the city of Oceanside turned down a big-money proposal to convert the popular but perpetually underfunded City Center Golf Course at Goat Hills into a soccer facility.
Then, last weekend, TPC Harding Park – the most popular and prestigious municipal course in the San Francisco area – reopened its normal configuration after a major remake of its own. Golfers had been using temporary greens since December 1 while all the permanent greens were renovated.
The makeover involved converting all 18 putting surfaces from poa annua to tyee bentgrass, according to the Northern California Golf Association. The bentgrass not only will improve playability, the NGCA said, but is also more resistant to pests.
In addition, all the bunkers were refurbished and the approaches to all the greens were reconfigured. About 375 tons of pebble beach white sand replaced all the existing bunker sand, according to The San Francisco Appeal, while 6.2 acres of sod were used on the greens and their approaches.
The renovation was done with the idea that the course could regain the Champions Tour's season-ending Schwab Cup Championship as early as 2015 – or perhaps land the PGA Tour's Match Play Championship, which is looking for a new title sponsor and host venue, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. The PGA Tour, which took over Harding Park's day-to-day operations in 2010 when it became a TPC facility, is funding $400,000 of the $1.2 million cost of the green renovation, the paper said.
"We painted a rusted car for the [2013 Schwab Cup Championship]," Harding Park General Manager Tom Smith told The Chronicle last fall. "This is basically ensuring a long-term, premium product. It definitely needs to be done. This is the championship course in the city’s portfolio, so we have to put some money back into it."
TPC Harding Park opened in 1925, and was named after President Warren Harding. The course hosted the 2009 Presidents Cup, the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship and several PGA Tour events in the 1960s, along with the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in 2011-13. Johnny Miller, Michael Allen and Ken Venturi are some of the players who frequented the course as junior players.