Let golfers play through on Sharp Park course
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I posted this comment on the site:Golfers teeing off Sharp Park course in Pacifica have more to worry about than a slice or hook. The beachside course, run by San Francisco's parks system, is home to a colorful snake and bug-eyed frog whose advocates want the 18-hole muni course sharply altered, if not eliminated.
Both duffers and environmentalists are waiting on a study before the next round, which could be a court fight over federal protections involving the San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog, whose numbers have plummeted to danger levels because of development. City leaders also may pull a lifeline subsidy for the money-losing course.
Before the battle gets that far, San Francisco officials should consider a compromise that would let both golfers and nature lovers co-exist. At issue are both a low-priced course ($24 for a weekend round) and habitat for two signature species. One idea: a nine-hole course with the remaining fairways restored to wetlands. Another option: Preserve the course's most historic holes.
So far, the arguments are building to a needless all-or-nothing showdown while the city prolongs its homework. An overdue study by the city Recreation and Park Department is weighing three options: Keeping the present course with extra mitigation steps, reducing the fairways by half, or ending all golf in favor of restored wetlands.
Sharp Park, the creation of famed course designer Alister MacKenzie, deserves to stay open. Along with its loyal users, the surrounding city of Pacifica wants to keep it. The course's low greens fee draws budget-minded players who can't afford other spots. Also, Sharp Park is one of the oldest around, dating the 1930s when it opened on land donated to San Francisco...
"I am delighted to see a liberal application of common sense in this editorial. Kudos to the Chron. Now if we can only find the same on our board of supervisors. The liberal part is easy to find - the common sense? Not so much.
Rather than change the size of the historical course, mitigation could be as simple as closing the course for a month or two during the wettest season when frogs are laying eggs and there is lower golfer utilization on the course. This could both save money and help the frogs.
Other well managed public golf courses around the country close for months at a time due to a predictable weather condition called "winter". There is no reason golfers, the frog and snake cannot co-exist on this course as they have for over 70 years."