Play & Explore: San Francisco, CA

Expertise Provided By: “Lonely Planet San Francisco City Guide”

Best Public Golf Courses

The Bay Area is one of the world’s premiere golfing wonderlands. The glittering oceanfront jewel, Pebble Beach, anchors Monterey Bay, which is home to some of top-rated courses on the globe, including the ultra-private Cypress Point. Other prized layouts in the area include Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, the 36-hole Half Moon Bay Golf Links, and the course at Stanford University where Tiger Woods, Mickey Wright, Tom Watson, and Michelle Wie honed their games.

The City is no slouch when it comes to outstanding courses either. The U.S. Open returned to the Olympic Club in 2012. It’s a private facility, except during the Open when the hoi polloi is welcome to watch the action. However, terrific public options are available for everyone from scratch golfers to duffers.

Harding Park

A full-scale renovation early in the 21st century restored a run-down layout into one of the finest public links in America. Host to the President’s Cup matches in 2009, Harding Park features lovely ocean views, tall Cyprus trees, and a classically stern and memorable test.


Another stellar city layout, Presidio, formerly an exclusive playground for the military, runs along the San Francisco Bay near the Golden Gate bridge.

Lincoln Park

Bargain rates for a hilly course with striking views of the city and the ocean.

Golden Gate Municipal

Pretty 9-hole par 27 short course in Golden Gate Park, with steep elevation changes and some views of the ocean.

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