Book a tee time with a view at Half Moon Bay. (Courtesy Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay)
Sightseeing is a must for any trip to San Francisco. But what if you could see the sights while working on your golf game? The world-class golf courses in San Francisco and beyond lay claim to some of the best views of the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, vast lakes and forests, vineyards and even the bottom of a pint glass. Here, challenging greens and unparalleled views are literally par for the course. Book a tee time to see a different (greener) side of the city.
TPC Harding Park
In the southwest corner of San Francisco, less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean, TPC Harding Park has views of serene Lake Merced, a practice area for putting and chipping and on-site golf instructors. Harding Park has played host to a number of prestigious tournaments throughout its history, and it will be the site of the PGA Championship in 2020. Greens fees: $157 weekday, $177 weekend, $87-$102 twilight.
Lincoln Park Golf Course
The 17th hole is the most memorable here, where the Golden Gate Bridge looks like it can be reached from the tee box. (It can’t!) This course is located in the northwestern corner of San Francisco, where the sea meets the bay, which means the weather here is variable, but the value and the views make it worth it. Greens fees: $40 weekday, $44 weekend, $24-$30 twilight (seasonal).
The Course at Wente Vineyards
Designed by World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman in 1998, this course is only 50 minutes east of San Francisco. Wente is a world-class course that’s included on the PGA Tour’s Nationwide Tour, and each of the 18 holes winds around Wente’s own vineyards that produce outstanding wines. Greens fees: $95 weekday, $125 weekend, $59-$69 twilight.
The Links at Bodega Harbor
Just an hour north of San Francisco, Bodega Harbor hugs the coastline for an eyeful of green and blue that will leave you in awe at nearly every hole. All handicaps can work on their game here where the course is as challenging as it is scenic. Built in 1978, it’s a Bay Area golfer’s dream. Greens fees: $45 weekday, $55-$65 weekend, $35-$55 twilight.
Presidio Golf Course
Presidio Golf Course is a National Historic Landmark and a leader in environmental practices (the course uses roughly 75 percent less pesticides than private courses in the city). It has been a part of the San Francisco landscape since it was built in 1895, making it one of the oldest courses on the West Coast. Greens fees: $110-$125 weekday, $130-$145 weekend, $49-$105 twilight.
Golden Gate Park Golf Course
Who would have guessed that a friendly nine-hole, par-3 golf course would be part of the 1,017 acres of San Francisco’s prized park? Only a few blocks from Ocean Beach, this course is perfect for a weekend outing or for working on your short game before heading to nearby Beach Chalet for a well deserved beer. Greens fees: $18 weekday, $22 weekend.
Half Moon Bay Golf Links
The bluff-top vistas from the final few holes of Half Moon Bay Golf Links’ Ocean Course rival those of the Monterey Peninsula. Whether you play that or the more protected Old Course, be sure to finish your day with a relaxed sunset cocktail set to the fittingly traditional sounds of a bagpipe. Greens fees: $125-$147 weekday, $165 weekend, $90 twilight.
San Francisco is home to not one but three nine-hole golf courses. Besides Golden Gate Park Golf Course, Fleming 9 and Gleneagles Golf Course at McLaren Park are ideal even for the briefest visits to San Francisco, without ever having to leave the city. Fleming 9 is just adjacent to the 18-hole TPC Harding Park and shares its challenging style and unparalleled views. Or, play at unassuming Gleneagles, which prides itself on having a legendary pub, dubbed “the finest 19th hole in all the Golf Kingdom.”