…The runaway winner of “Comeback of the Year” is California Golf Club in South San Francisco, Calif., which appears as No. 60 on the Classic after a yearlong shutdown and massive restoration/renovation project. Bay Area golf aficionados always had
respected the 1926 Vernon Macan design, especially after it was treated to highly-stylized bunkering by Alister MacKenzie. But the course suffered a clumsy partial rerouting in the mid-1960s.
California GC enjoyed the national rating limelight for one brief stint at No. 92 in 2003, and then fell off the Classic list as tree problems, a nematode infestation and poor drainage took their toll.
Starting in August 2007, architect Kyle Phillips, working closely with
course superintendent Thomas Bastis, undertook a gutsy project: five retro
holes created, the practice range moved, two clumsy ponds filled in, 450 yards added and the old fairway widths and bunkering restored. Along the way they also dealt with eucalyptus and pine trees that had overgrown the grounds.
The boldest move was utilizing a virtually abandoned l7-acre dump site on a hill overlooking the bulk of the course and using it for California GC’s seventh hole, a
stunning, wrap-around 402-yard par 4 where the fairway clings to the edge.
Bradley S. Klein