On December 15, two key San Francisco commissions approved a plan that would, in part, restore wetlands near Sharp Park Golf Course, a municipal track designed by Alister MacKenzie in 1930. Since this plan entails retaining rather than scrapping the Pacifica course, its approval counts as a win for the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, which has long resisted the efforts of environmental groups to turn all of Sharp Park into a wildlife habitat.
The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance has distilled the six-hour RecPark / Planning Commission hearing into a 30-minute video pertaining to Sharp Park, embedded below. As public hearings go, it is an interesting watch. Particularly compelling are the comments of Paul Slavin, president of the Pacifica Historical Society (19:43-22:20). Slavin emphasizes the historical and cultural value of the golf course, and although he may exaggerate the extent to which it remains a true MacKenzie creation, he gives a vivid sense of what Sharp Park means to golfers and what the Bay Area stands to lose if the Wild Equity Institute get its way.
My one gripe: I wish that this video had included comments from the opposition. I understand that the SF Public Golf Alliance wants to promote its vision, but I assume that the group is confident enough in its own arguments to give an airing to the prevailing counter-arguments.
In any case, this controversy sits at a fascinating conjuncture of interests — the advancement municipal golf, the preservation of classic golf course architecture, and the defense of the environment — and I will continue to follow along. But for now, I will say that, as a longtime golfer and Sierra Club member, I see no necessary contradiction in my devotions both to the game of golf and to the integrity of the natural environment.