San Francisco Golf Club---San Francisco, CA
Rankings as of 3/12/2012
-17th Best U.S. Course; 26th Best course in the World (Golf Magazine)
-33rd Best U.S. Course (Golf Digest)
-15th Best Classic U.S. Course (Golfweek)
San Francisco Golf Club is the most exclusive and private club in the Bay Area and it has a golf course designed by one of the true legends in golf course design, AW Tillinghast, with recent renovation work done by two modern day legends, Jim Urbina and Tom Doak. With this pedigree and exclusivity premium, I was quite excited to be playing here.
To analyze the course, it is technically perfect. The routing takes great natural advantage of the hilly terrain it sits on. Holes move uphill and downhill through natural valleys and swales, green sites appear to have always been there and they seamlessly blend into the fairways.
The bunkering is always strategically placed. It seems like every bunker brings with it a decision that has to be made; carry it, go around, lay up. And with every decision involves an element of risk/reward; make the carry and you have an easy shot into the green, lay up and give up at least half a shot.
With those elements in play, the course is wonderful. But even with that I left the course feeling like something was missing. I never felt a rush of excitement of exhilliration while playing. None of these risk/reward shots seemed to leave me facing a do-or-die situation. No forced carry over a massive gorge and none of the bunkers were overly intimidating to get out of and there was no water (Thank God for that!!). But still, no excitement was there. Good quality golf shots. Yes. Risk/reward decisions. Yes. Thrill. No.
Now, to the greens. Yes, they were wonderfully placed. They were well maintained with an ideal speed to slope mix. But again, no amazing putts. No amazing contours. No jaw dropping green sites. Good, solid, greens. Nothing wrong with that, of course. In fact, there were quite good. But just lacking that certain something.
So, all in all…San Francisco Golf Club is a truly excellent golf course. For some, it might be ideal. For me, however, it was very good and pleasant but not overly exciting.
But, nevertheless, MAN...it is pretty darn good!!