After a brilliant restoration, this rolling layout that Alister Mackenzie left his mark on reassumes its place in the pantheon of Great Bay Area Courses. – By Tom Cunneff
Straddling opposite sides of Lake Merced, San Francisco Golf Club and U.S. Open Host The Olympic Club have rightfully earned their reputations as the city’s best courses. But seven miles to the southeast, there’s another club that is every bit their equal after a $13 Million renovation: California Golf Club of San Francisco. In 2007-8 Kyle Phillips restored the course to its Golden Age splendor when Alister Mackenzie redid all the bunkers and few of the greens.
“Before when people came to San Francisco they thought of just two courses—Olympic and San Francisco,” says Phillips, whose other credits include Kingsbarns and Dundonald in Scotland, and Yas Links in Abu Dhabi. “But now, mainly through word of mouth, there’s another one that people are saying, ‘We’ve got to check this out.’ It’s been gratifying.”
What visitors find are long-range views of the Bay Area, stunning bunkering, and rolling terrain with firm-and-fast conditions. Unlike most other layouts in coastal California where spongy poa and sticky kikuyu dominate, Cal Club features fine fescue and colonial bent fairways and bent greens that allow the ground game to flourish. Read More…