Top 6 Golf Courses in the Bay Area, San Francisco
San Francisco is home to many attractions, but one of the most overlooked has to be the most stunning urban golf courses in America. What more could a golfer ask for than views of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Park, while breathing in the scent of pine and eucalyptus trees? The best part — these San Francisco golf courses are public or municipal courses, meaning they are open to the public, with reasonable green fees and same day booking.
The Presidio Golf course is located within a national park yet has easy access from downtown San Francisco. TPC Harding Park consistently receives high praise from reputable golf magazines as one of the top courses in America. One of our favorite golf courses in SF is Lincoln Park, with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and up-close views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Presidio Golf Course (Public)
If you’re in the city, you’ve got to play golf in this picturesque golf course nestled amongst eucalyptus and Monterey pine trees.
Set in one of the USA’s most dynamic national parks, the Presidio Golf Course is famous for its setting, and challenging course. Now open to the public, it was once restricted to military officers and private club members. Amenities include a driving range, practice facility, pro shop and a restaurant.
It was built in 1895 when the Presidio’s then-commander gave permission to local businessmen to create a nine-hole course. The course was expanded to 18 holes in 1910. The course was used as a refugee camp for survivors of the 1906 earthquake. Over the years, the San Francisco golf course has seen celebrities play the eighteen, including Babe Ruth, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Charles Schulz & Joe DiMaggio.
TPC Harding Park (Municipal)
San Francisco Municipal Golf Course. Set against the cypress tree-lined Lake Merced, TPC Harding Park is the only city-owned public course managed by the PGA Tour. The award-winning course is named after golf lover and former President Warren Harding and first opened in 1925.
With 27 holes of championship golf — the 18-hole Harding Park Course and the 9-hole Fleming Course — it consistently receives top honors from Golfweek Magazine and Golf Digest Magazine. Golf legends Ken Venturi, Billy Casper, and Gary Player all won tournaments here in the 1960s before the course underwent a major renovation in the early 2000s. Once again the fairways saw legends Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson play here. It has also hosted the Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Bonus Points. Its large maintenance budget keeps it in top shape when compared to the other two city-owned courses, Lincoln & Sharp. The terrain is fairly flat, with short distances between greens and tees, making it an ideal walking course.
Lincoln Park Golf Course (Municipal)
On a clear day, you will be rewarded with one of the best views of the most beautiful bridge on Planet Earth, the Golden Gate Bridge.
The historic course, built in 1902, is considered one of the most highly scenic urban golf courses in America, overlooking the bridge as well as the romantic Palace of the Legion of Honor.
Despite its short length, measuring in at 5,416 yards, Lincoln Park takes longer to play due to its hilly terrain, ocean winds, and narrow cypress-lined fairways that reward precision.
Bonus Points. If you’re pressed for time, Lincoln offers a back-nine rate. The 18 holes have a par of 68.
hey call it The Poor Man’s Pebble Beach, with its historic seaside links surrounded by a natural lake.
It was built in 1932 by the icon of golf architecture, Alister MacKenzie who also designed Augusta National, Cypress Point, and many other esteemed courses. Expect fabulous views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding mountains.
The course is located 10 miles south of San Francisco at the intersection of Sharp Park Road and the Coast Highway. It’s not without controversy, naturalists are pushing to plow it under and restore the area with a wetlands project.
Bonus Points. This is a walkable course with pleasant seaside vistas and several holes that wrap around Laguna Salada.
Golden Gate Park Golf Course (Municipal)
Imagine playing golf in the stunning Golden Gate Park on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
This 9-hole par-3 golf course was built in 1951 and was designed to follow the natural rolling sand dunes. The course is famous for its challenging terrain, ocean breezes, and parklike setting. It’s the perfect course for beginners or experienced players wanting to refine their short game.
Bonus Points. 9 holes over 1,357 yards with a par of 27. After a round of golf head to the Windmill Grill for one of their famous hot dogs, “You bark it, we build it!”.
Gleneagles GC at McLaren Park (Municipal)
Nestled amongst eucalyptus, cypress and redwood trees, many call this San Francisco golf course a hidden jewel with its stunning bay vistas and challenging course.
Designed by Jack Fleming, the 9-hole course can be played as 18 holes and will challenge the most experienced golfer.
The green complexes were recently upgraded with the same bent grass varietal as TPC Harding Park. Golf World Magazine, SF Weekly, and SF Chronicle all name Gleneagles as one of the best courses in the city and America.
Bonus Points. 9 holes over 3,293 yards with a par of 36. Expect varied terrain, fast greens and narrow fairways. Also expect affordable rates and firm, fast greens.