Vote likely ends the long political fight over the future of Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park Golf Course

SAN FRANCISCO - Eight long years of legal and political battles to save the historic Sharp Park Golf Course appear to be over for the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.

By a 9-1 vote on Feb. 28, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors certified a Final Environmental Report for a Sharp Park Restoration Plan that recognizes the historical significance of the 85-year old links designed by Alister MacKenzie, one of world's most famous golf course architects. According to the press release by the SFPGA, the supervisors voted the following:

  • Approved the continued operation of the 18-hole public course, owned by San Francisco but located in its beachside suburb of Pacifica;
  • Designated the seaside links as "Historic Resource Property" under the California Environmental Quality Act;
  • Allowed modification of three holes along the margins of Laguna Salada, a freshwater marsh in the center of the course, to enhance habitat for the endangered San Francisco garter snake and the protected California red-legged frog, on condition that the changes be consistent with the golf course's historic architectural character.

The 6,382-yard course along the Pacific Ocean has been embroiled in a decade-long dispute involving environmentalists -- including the San Francisco Chapter of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Wild Equity Institute -- who wanted to close the course to protect the frogs and snakes.

Like most municipal courses, Sharp Park struggles with conditioning and poor pace of play, but its affordability, location on the Pacific Ocean and MacKenzie pedigree has made this long journey worthwhile for SFPGA co-founders Richard Harris and Bo Links.

"There's still a lot of work to be done to restore MacKenzie's masterpiece at Sharp Park," Links says, "but now the wind is at our back."

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Vote likely ends the long political fight over the future of Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park Golf Course