History of Presidio Golf Course in San Francisco and comparison to St. Andrews.
By. John K. Abendroth, PGA
What if I told you the Presidio Golf Club and Golf Course in San Francisco has similarities to St. Andrews in Scotland? Crazy? No, let me explain and give you some history of The Presidio Golf Course founded in 1895.
Comparisons of options to play each course
Both clubs have various ways to play the course, in the case of Presidio established in 1895 for many ears was a Military course with a private membership. In 1996 the course was taken over by the National Park Service for public play but the private Presidio Golf Club retained playing privileges.
The St. Andrews Links trust was established in 1974 to manage maintain the 7-coursees in St. Andrews known as the home of golf. Similar to Presidio, there are various ways to play the courses. The R&A (Royal and Ancient) members have access, the trust offers public play often on a lottery basis but there are other clubs in town with access.
The St. Regulus Ladies club was formed in 1913 with access for their 400 members and 40 junior members. The New Golf Club was formed in 1902 as a private club and hosts their own schedule of events on the 7-St. Andrews layouts.
The Old Course that we all know from it from being in the rotation for The Open Championship earned its name in 1895 when The New Course was opened.
The Arnold Palmer management company operated the public play portion of the course for several years starting in 1996. In a bit of irony, after the big loss for Arnie to Billy Casper in the 1966, Palmer and Casper came to Presidio in 1967 for what was billed as a rematch. Palmer won this time 70-72.
San Francisco Golf Club began as part of the Presidio Golf Club but moved to its current location but moved to their present location in 1915. In 2016 the Presidio Golf Club merged with the Concordia social club that was formed in 1864 in San Francisco and the private club with access to the Presidio Golf course is now known as the Presidio Golf and Concordia Club.
Several professional championships were hosted by The Presidio golf club including the 1956 Western Open and the 1935 and 1941 National Match Play open that included stars of the day, Byron Nelson, Walter Hagen, Jug McSpaden and Harry “Light Horse” Cooper.
Hall of Fame Presidio Members
Joe DiMaggio, “The Yankee Clipper” the Hall of Fame baseball star grew up playing baseball in San Francisco and the surrounding area in his youth attended Galileo High School as did golf Hall of famer Lawson Little Jr. DiMaggio was a long-time member at the Presidio Golf Club, played there often and to this day his locker is maintained in his memory.
Lawson Little Jr. Went on to play college golf at Stanford played golf at Presidio in his youth as his father was an Army doctor. A great feat that connects Little to the R&A is him winning the 1934 and 1935 British Amateur Championship as well as The USGA Amateur those same years. In 1935 Little would be awarded the Sullivan Award for the outstanding amateur athlete.
Lawson, known as “Cannonball” would turn pro in 1936 and go on to win 8-times on the PGA tour including the 1941 U.S. Open Championship. Little passed away at his home in Monterey in 1968 and was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1980. He would often carry up to 26 clubs in his bag and in 1938 the United States Golf Association established the 14-club rule also followed by the R&A.