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Matt Schoolfield

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Today was pretty ideal weather in San Francisco, so my partner and I cycled to have lunch at Ocean Beach. On the way back, we stopped by GGPGC to see how the work was coming along (Jay Blasi). It's really coming along! I was able to take some photos through the fence line, unfortunately there are only a few places to peek through so the angles are sub-optimal.

Here is the former #2, now #7, green and tees:





On the plus side, the new green looks very exciting, and will leave some options open for different approach strategies. Sadly, this was my favorite par 3 in the area, and the forced fade into the prevailing wind aspect seems to be removed. It looks like they've removed all the non-native trees (which is almost all the trees), and the eucalyptus that forced players to move the ball to the right is gone.

The redesigned #7, now #3, leaves much of the same strategy in place. Playing a draw to the left side gives a change for a friendly kick even if the shot misses left, but a high fade is also an effective shot. Interestingly, all the eucalypti along the right side remain.

 

Finally the redesigned #8, now #4, remains mostly as it was, however the green is suppose to now be a double-green with the new #1 green (formerly #5):



Anyway, the bike ride went well, and if you're in the area, I would also recommend checking out the biergarten with live music the park has just for the summer. It's on the car-free section of JFK, just past the rose garden (easily accessible by foot when accessing the park by Fulton at Park Presidio).
« Last Edit: July 23, 2023, 01:37:58 AM by Matt Schoolfield »
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
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David_Tepper

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2023, 09:26:33 PM »
Matt -

Thanks for the pics. I was not aware the GGP par-3 course was undergoing a renovation. Very good know.

Clearly I missed this:  https://firepitcollective.com/golden-gate-park-golf-course-reborn/

DT
« Last Edit: July 22, 2023, 09:36:15 PM by David_Tepper »

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2023, 09:36:30 PM »
I was not aware the GGP par-3 course was undergoing a renovation.
Yea, I've been following it pretty closely since the clubhouse burned down and the whole process got started. I'm excited they are planting fine fescue. It seems a shame to have anything other than fescus in the dunes out there.

I was surprised to see how dark the soil is on some of the videos. It's literally just packed sand only a dozen yards or so past the edge of the course.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2023, 09:38:33 PM by Matt Schoolfield »
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

Mark Kiely

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2023, 09:55:50 PM »
I meant to take a look on our trip last month but forgot both times we were in Golden Gate Park. Thanks for the pics!
My golf course photo albums on Flickr: https://goo.gl/dWPF9z

Peter Flory

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2023, 10:43:16 PM »
I can't wait to see this one completed.  The world needs more of these. 

Jim OíKane

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2023, 08:52:41 PM »
I can't wait to see this one completed.  The world needs more of these.
Indeed the world does.

And thanks for the pictures Matt.

It looks like a completely different planet from when I used to "drop by" in the early 90's -- completely unrecognizable.

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2023, 08:41:54 PM »
Went back to day, and got photos of the practice green, and #9 (old #4):

New clubhouse looks like it's coming along nicely



The back of #9:



9th green:



Approach to #9, the bunkers have been removed:



A shot past #9 to some interesting contouring for the new 6th tee or behind the 5th green:



Finally, my favorite shot I got, I believe it's toward the new 6th green, you can see the edge of one of the new waste areas. It really is exciting, especially since I couldn't really capture it. It really looks like the edge of something that is very much a big risk to miss in that direction:



Anyway, that's all I've got. Can't wait for it to open. I've tried to send a couple emails, but if anyone has any inside-baseball on the course, I'd love to see it and celebrate on opening day. Also, kudos to whoever did the fencing work. I tried to poke around to find a better angle, but they have most of the course locked up tight!
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

Matt_Cohn

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2023, 09:26:00 PM »
Here are some updated pictures from today.  :)

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2023, 05:29:35 AM »
Thanks for the pictures. What a great-looking golf course. I love the terrain.
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

MCirba

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2023, 09:30:49 AM »
Looks awesome...I would love to see a similar effort at nearby Lincoln Park which I was able to play (after Presidio) on a recent visit but since I have no idea how the GGP effort was funded I'm not holding my breath.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Kevin_Reilly

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2023, 02:35:39 PM »
Looks awesome...I would love to see a similar effort at nearby Lincoln Park which I was able to play (after Presidio) on a recent visit but since I have no idea how the GGP effort was funded I'm not holding my breath.


Mike, unfortunately, Lincoln Park has been a neglected step-child (same as Sharp Park) in the SF muni golf rota for as long as I can remember.  In the late 70s early 80s it had short galvanized steel pipes as flagsticks!  Conditions there have always been sub-par.


No chance it gets any $$ for updates in my lifetime.
"GOLF COURSES SHOULD BE ENJOYED RATHER THAN RATED" - Tom Watson

Jim OíKane

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2023, 10:46:34 PM »
GGP pics look like it's coming along nicely. Nice to see those -- thanks for sharing.

Sentiments about LP couldn't be more true. Such a shame as it has some incredible terrain and some interesting holes.



MCirba

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2023, 11:35:07 AM »
Kevin/Jim,


Some locals I was playing with mentioned that there may be some restrictions at LP on everything from construction to normal care and feeding of the golf course due to the fact that it's built atop a Chinese immigrant cemetery.   I'm not sure if that's the reality but it seems a consideration if so.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2023, 01:22:42 PM »
Mike, unfortunately, Lincoln Park has been a neglected step-child (same as Sharp Park) in the SF muni golf rota for as long as I can remember.
Sentiments about LP couldn't be more true. Such a shame as it has some incredible terrain and some interesting holes.
Some locals I was playing with mentioned that there may be some restrictions at LP on everything from construction to normal care and feeding of the golf course due to the fact that it's built atop a Chinese immigrant cemetery.   I'm not sure if that's the reality but it seems a consideration if so.

I can add some context to this. Lincoln Park GC was partly (mostly) built on a cemetery. The Chinese immigrant connection is the Kong Chow ruins and there is still an annual ceremony of remembrance. This isn't the only limiting factor, however, as the site is shared with the Legion of Honor (a fine arts museum), and is directly adjacent to the SF VA Medical Center. These confluences mean that it would be extremely difficult to renovate. Add to that the fact that the cliffs that parts of the course are on occasionally fall into the ocean (the current par 3, 3rd hole used to be a par 4 until the fairway collapsed). The existence of a scruffy muni with the best views of the bridge of any course is also a striking symbol for public golf. That said, some tree maintenance could be possible, and is needed (though i'll strongly defend the trees on the 14th hole, as one of the most strategically interesting uses of a dogleg I've ever seen -- the strategic play is short right, away from the hole, which leaves a wedge to the green; any attempt to cut the corner will leave a player blocked out by the trees).

Sharp Park will probably never see any major renovation because the site basically exists as a wildlife refuge. The California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake both use the site as a habitat, and they are protected species. So, Sharp Park now exists in a state of actual nature (with no herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides being used) rather than the artificial (and often surreal) versions of nature we see on most "nice" courses. Sharp Park is a reminder that we can have golf courses that serve the environment, while also serving the public. If that means we need to play match-play instead of stroke-play to avoid frustrations on the occasional bumpy green, I think that's a fair compromise given the circumstances.

---

I'll note that I was also invited to the updated GGPGC tour (thanks to David and Jay for making that happen), and I'm still working on a proper write up, but I'll say this: the changes are pretty dramatic. The previously-added top soil was removed to reveal the underlying (native/pre-existing) dune sand, and that is use throughout the course. The sand was used to add wildly more interesting shapes to the course, and dramatic and beautifully framed waste areas. All but one (new) bunker are gone (a good decision in my opinion), and most of the trees have been removed opening up views of the ocean and cliffs. The attention to making the shortest holes more interesting was, at this point (in my opinion), the most impressive part of the project. Where two of the holes on the course were consider boring-at-best, now, fallaway sections of the greens and other mounding that can kick the ball away can make the simple sand wedge a bad decision, and force players to use the undulating terrain (which is a very exciting change). I still haven't got to editing my photos, but here's one of the ninth green, looking back from the parking lot toward the tees, so you can see one of these waste areas frames views of the course as players walk to the clubhouse:

« Last Edit: November 09, 2023, 01:50:46 PM by Matt Schoolfield »
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

MCirba

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2023, 02:00:44 PM »
Matt,


Thanks for all of that additional information.   


I also got out to Sharp Park in the afternoon to play after getting physically pummeled and mentally mutilated at Spyglass Hill that morning and given the lateness of the day ended up skipping past the 4 1941 Jack Neville Fleming designed holes across the street to focus on what remains of the original MacKenzie 14 holes and was able to play all of them as the sun gorgeously set over the Pacific.


I joined a very nice young couple who shared with me that during some heavy spring rains much of the course had again been underwater, even with the sea wall.   Given that, conditions were very reasonable and if one accepts some degree of inevitable shabby-chic still think there could likely be quite a bit done to enhance that course and celebrate its Dr. Mac legacy.   
« Last Edit: November 09, 2023, 02:43:24 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2023, 02:26:51 PM »
I think the 4 canyon holes are Jack Fleming (Iím a fan of his, especially because of Gleneagles, but also GGPGC).


I would also note, if you look at old maps of Sharp, a lot of the current flood zones are actually old hazardous areas (especially the area on #9 that floods).


The biggest long term issue at Sharp Park is unavoidable. Itís built around a lagoon, and lagoons slowly fill with silt over time. The current lagoon size is tiny compared to when the course opened, and the sea wall certainly doesnít help with silting, and thatís a double whammy with flooding.


Obviously any improvements would be welcome, especially with the modeling Iíve heard about folks doingÖ I just worry people donít realize how close the course came to being shut down. The fact that the folks there like Rich Harris are actually environmentalists, and not antagonists to the cityís concerns (itís technically owned by San Francisco, not Pacifica), went a long way to resolving the issue I think.
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

MCirba

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2023, 02:42:05 PM »
I think the 4 canyon holes are Jack Fleming (Iím a fan of his, especially because of Gleneagles, but also GGPGC).


I would also note, if you look at old maps of Sharp, a lot of the current flood zones are actually old hazardous areas (especially the area on #9 that floods).


The biggest long term issue at Sharp Park is unavoidable. Itís built around a lagoon, and lagoons slowly fill with silt over time. The current lagoon size is tiny compared to when the course opened, and the sea wall certainly doesnít help with silting, and thatís a double whammy with flooding.


Obviously any improvements would be welcome, especially with the modeling Iíve heard about folks doingÖ I just worry people donít realize how close the course came to being shut down. The fact that the folks there like Rich Harris are actually environmentalists, and not antagonists to the cityís concerns (itís technically owned by San Francisco, not Pacifica), went a long way to resolving the issue I think.


Thanks, Matt...I knew I should have checked my notes who built the replacement holes in 1941...oops.   I've corrected it in my initial post as I wouldn't want anyone to perpetuate that misnomer.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Jim OíKane

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2023, 02:03:16 PM »
Kevin/Jim,


Some locals I was playing with mentioned that there may be some restrictions at LP on everything from construction to normal care and feeding of the golf course due to the fact that it's built atop a Chinese immigrant cemetery.   I'm not sure if that's the reality but it seems a consideration if so.
Whoa?!
Makes me rethink how i behaved out there sometimes.


Mark Kiely

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2023, 11:16:16 PM »
Pictures look great, Matt! The pin:flag scale looks off, though. Are those giant flags or short pins? Or is it me?
My golf course photo albums on Flickr: https://goo.gl/dWPF9z

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2023, 12:37:44 PM »
Okay, I've finished my hole-by-hole write up on the course renovation (technically not a redesign), and that is here: https://open.substack.com/pub/golfcoursewiki/p/a-preview-of-the-next-era-at-golden

I'll add the photos here though (if any media outlet would like to republish these, feel free to reach out. These were taken with a Fujifilm x100v and I have the RAW files):







That's Jay Blasi on the right (playing the second hole with a putter)













Strategic tree removals opens up views of the ocean...



...and the Cliff House



I kept complementing Blasi on how he framed the holes, this hole (#6) i think is the best of all. The dunes surround the green in a frame, but they aren't tight up against it, and the hole remains extremely playable.







I just thought this one looked much better in B&W



This is the green that started this thread, as it was pretty easy to photograph through the fence (left)





Between 7 & 8 is possibly the most beautiful vista on the course, you can see 5 or 6 of the greens from a single spot.









Anyway, thanks to David for setting this all up, and thanks to Jay for walking us through the whole course. I had a blast.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2023, 02:21:16 PM by Matt Schoolfield »
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

MCirba

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2023, 02:49:09 PM »
It looks like a blast!   Thanks, Matt!
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Kevin_Reilly

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2023, 03:19:19 PM »
Very cool, Matt.


To my earlier post, get some sand mix out there on the tees (the one picture with a big un-fixed divot).
"GOLF COURSES SHOULD BE ENJOYED RATHER THAN RATED" - Tom Watson

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2023, 03:23:21 PM »
Very cool, Matt.


To my earlier post, get some sand mix out there on the tees (the one picture with a big un-fixed divot).


The divot was fixed!  ;D


Off camera Jay was grabbing my divot for me while I took the photo. It was the only hole I played, and I got par (thankfully).
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

Kevin_Reilly

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2023, 03:32:39 PM »
Why was the 5th hole shortened?  Back in my day (70s and 80s) it was the hole where you used a wood or a 2 iron off the tee as it was a long shot into the ocean breeze.  What changed (aside from equipment)?
"GOLF COURSES SHOULD BE ENJOYED RATHER THAN RATED" - Tom Watson

Kalen Braley

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Re: Some photos of the Golden Gate Park GC redesign I took today
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2023, 03:39:41 PM »
Been quite awhile since I've been to San Francisco and even longer since I've been to GGP.

But those photos like tremendous, appears to be quite the dramatic turn around/improvement.  Will certainly make a point to get out there on my next visit for an in person look.

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