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Matt Schoolfield

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Apparently, San Francisco has extended the lease of Gleneagles GC at McLaren Park for only one year.

Rec and Parks Dept, again apparently, believe that there are not enough players using the course to justify its continued existence. It appears that the course/club is planning to begin a development/training program for new players, and to be generally more open to new comers. Ideally this will be enough to save the course, but I would like to solicit some ideas from the group.

The course is a 1962 Jack Fleming design, with very few changes through the years (trees now line fairways that used to be much more open, and Erik de Lambert, a former operator, changed the 3rd green). Golf author [1, 2] and podcaster [3] Stephen Proctor is a former club president. Fried Egg Golf has mentioned the course twice when talking about affordable golf architecture in Northern California [4, 5] and already wrote a long form piece about saving the club during the pandemic [5]

I am a member of the club, and this has been unnerving, because the situation is extremely challenging because of the course's challenging architecture. The club boasts the second highest slope on a public course in the city (only slightly lower than Presidio), yet because of the 9-hole nature of the course, it typically tries to cater to beginners. It's also the only muni course in the city not able to participate in the reclaimed water program (unlike Harding/Fleming and Lincoln), which leads to higher costs, and notably worse course conditions by comparison. Finally, the location of the course is a third challenge, the course's clubhouse sits awkwardly in the center of a park, and the only neighborhood adjacent is public housing which, unfortunately, does not seem to have a positive relationship with the course.

I find these three points of fact put the course in a fairly untenable situation long-term, but I still would love to help preserve one of the more architecturally interesting courses in the region.

- Any advice on how to make a punishing course less punishing for beginners?

- Does anyone have experience on setting up a warm-up cage? The course has no range, and I totally understand when folks get fluster on the first hole (it's extremely challenging).

- Does anyone have experience on setting up a player development program?

Finally, if you've never played, I suggest you go play while you can. I hope the course isn't closed at the end of next year, but I don't see any easy solutions.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2023, 05:12:58 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


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