Is a Round of Golf at S.F.'s Harding Park Really Worth $170?
It's a question worth asking, after the San Francisco Examiner reported this morning that the city is on the verge of hiking greens fees to $170 on weekends and $150 on weekdays for non-residents. (City dwellers will continue to pay a comparably low rate of about $47, according to the Ex.)
That's an extravagant amount by the standards of normal muni golf courses, which embody the old-fashioned principle that middle- and working-class golf enthusiasts should be able to enjoy a round at a reasonable price. Rates at Sharp Park, a San Francisco-owned course in Pacifica, are $36 for non-residents on weekends and $31 on weekdays. In all of Los Angeles County, the highest non-resident rate for 18 holes of golf at a city-owned course is $39.
Then again, most would argue that Harding Park offers better play than just about any muni course out there. "Yes, it's a municipal golf course," said Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, an enthusiastic supporter of Harding Park who represents its district. "But when you get to play the same shots that Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh and all of them played, I think it's still a heck of a deal."
Indeed, a more appropriate comparison might be made with San Diego's famous Torrey Pines course, which hosted the U.S. Open in 2008. Weekend rounds at its south course are $218 for nonresidents and $73 for residents, according to the Torrey Pines website. (Golfweek magazine ranked Torrey Pines the fifth-best municipal course in the country this year. Harding Park wasn't far behind, at No. 10.)
In other words, compared to other courses of its caliber, Harding might still be a deal for visitors -- those who have $200 to spend on a round of golf, at least.
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