A standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 supporters of San Francisco's endangered public golf courses at Sharp Park and Lincoln Park jam-packed the Sharp Park Golf Course banquet room in Pacifica Thursday night, October 22, as San Francisco golf icons, labor unions, public- and private-course golfers, high school students, San Francisco and San Mateo County politicians, and the golf course's Pacifica neighbors called for preservation of the 77-year-old Alister MacKenzie municipal golf course. Calling destruction of the golf course "unthinkable," San Francisco favorite son Ken Venturi, the 1964 United States Open winner and retired TV sports broadcaster, extolled the links as an "unpretentious place," whose seaside location and historic MacKenzie design pedigree "connects golfers to the Scottish public course roots of the game." Venturi, Honorary Chairman of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, appeared in the form of his personal letter, read to the crowd by Bob Dellas Captain of the Honorary Society of San Francisco Golfers. "Without the public courses, golf becomes inaccessible. The game shrivels and dies," Venturi continued. "So I ... urge my friends and fellow San Francisco Bay Area golfers to preserve Dr. MacKenzie's legacy, and defend San Francisco's golf heritage and public courses... with your time, your money, and your passion. Do not let anybody destroy Sharp or Lincoln." Co-hosted by the Public Golf Alliance, State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, and Pacifica Mayor Julie Lancelle, the meeting was addressed by speakers including San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrerra, Lancelle, Elsbernd, with an appearance by San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom. The diverse crowd included Sharp Park golfers, Pacifica homeowners and business leaders, two high school girls golf teams, representatives of San Francisco and North Peninsula private golf clubs, a cameo appearance by former U.S. Golf Association President Sandy Tatum, and a surprise supporting appearance by a large contingent of orange-shirt-wearing golf course gardeners, members of Laborers Union Local 261. Next on the agenda for the Sharp Park Golf Course will be the long-delayed report of the San Francisco Park and Recreation Department on potential alternative uses of the golf course, which is part of the 400-plus-acre San Francisco-owned Sharp Park. Recreation and Park Department spokespersons have announced that the report, still in preparation, will be publicly released in the first or second week of November. No details have been announced by the Department or the Board of Supervisors about the decision-making timeframe thereafter.
Source: 235 Montgomery Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94104, 415-392-5431, ext. 203, SF PUBLIC GOLF