SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — It has played host to numerous professional golf tournaments and is considered one of the finest public courses in the country. But now, TPC Harding Park is undergoing some renovations.
Starting next week, the City of San Francisco and PGA will begin to rip out all the putting greens at Harding Park and replace them.
The replacement project has long been in the works, even though just ten years ago, the entire course was overhauled.
TPC Harding Park General Manager Tom Smith said over the next four months, workers will pull out the poa annua grass on the greens, and replace it with bentgrass, partly because of invasive nematodes, a microscopic roundworm that eats poa.
“Nematodes do not eat bentgrass, so we can manage a better putting surface for the public to enjoy at a premium level by putting a different plant in there,” he said.
The project will cost $1.2 million, with two-thirds paid by the city.
“The PGA Tour is paying for a little over a third of that. So we’re coming to the table financially,” Smith said.
The city also estimates it will lose $548,000 this winter, since fewer golfers will want to play on the temporary greens, and fees will be cut almost in half during construction.
“We have to replace the greens to keep it at such a great caliber of a golf course,” Smith said. “Thus, it’s attractive to the golfers, but also to the PGA Tour.”
Some suspect the city is doing this just to attract more professional golf tournaments, but Nick Kinsey, Director of Property for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, insists that’s not the case.
“It’s been ten years since the course was first renovated in 2003 and this is one of those things that we as a city has to continue to do, to continue to invest in the property, to make sure that it stays as one of the best public golf courses in the country,” Kinsey said.
Longtime Harding Park golfer Jerry Murphy said the old poa greens seem to play just fine to him, but he’s been convinced, the project is a worthwhile investment of public funds.
“It didn’t seem to be needed, but in the long run, it will be very beneficial,” Murphy said. “They’re trying to get the type of tournaments for professionals to play, and that’s the key, you need greens. So I think they’re doing a good thing.”
Harding Park just hosted the Schwab Cup Championship last month and is thought to be eyeing another Champions Tour event in 2015.
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