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of Sharp Park The Spirit BY KEVIN MERFELD T


he Eureka moment of golf course design this side of the pond came in 1911, when C.B. MacDonald crafted National Golf Links of America. The creation of the Long Island mas- terpiece triggered a golf rush. Born was the Golden Age of


Golf Architecture in this country, as enlightened designers stud- ied and borrowed features from the best layouts in Scotland and Ireland, evolving the primitive ideas of strategy previously found in America and sculpting a steady stream of timeless treasures.


The next 25 years were a


golf renaissance. More than 5,000 courses were built, including 11 of the top 13 from Golf Digest’s 2013- 14 rankings of America’s Greatest 100. The golf landscape was painted with the works of MacDonald and Seth Raynor, Alister MacKenzie, Donald Ross,


A.W. Tillinghast, George C. Thomas and more. Golf also grew to the


masses. The USGA intro- duced the U.S. Public Links Championship in 1922— the U.S. Amateur only accepted private club entrants back then—as demand for golf spiked. San Francisco’s Lincoln


Park morphed from a free three-hole loop, to six holes, to nine and eventually a full 18-hole municipal course in 1917. Lincoln Park was immediately crawling with public golfers, so much so that San Fran- cisco built a second munici- pal, Harding Park, just eight years later in 1925.


But even two municipal courses for golf-starved San Francisco weren’t enough. So a third was commissioned five years after Harding during the Great Depression, through the dunes of scenic Salada Beach in Pacifica. That third municipal course would be designed by Alister MacKenzie, who gave the privileged few Cypress Point (1928) and Pasatiempo (1929), as well as Royal Melbourne (1931) and Augusta Na- tional (1933). But while all those courses were private, the municipal Sharp Park— affectionately called “a second St. Andrews”— could be enjoyed by ev-


WHAT MACKENZIE’S MUNICIPAL MEANS TO GOLF HISTORY AND THE PEOPLE IT SERVES


44 / NCGA.ORG / SPRING 2013


PHOTO: JOANN DOST


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