Dan De Vries, Eden Anderson and Richard Harris authored a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed column on the latest at Lincoln Park, where the city and residents are battling over the course's future. I can't imagine why it's in poor shape:
Lincoln Park, the city's oldest and most scenic golf course, is Exhibit "A" for the need to change the public golf course maintenance status quo. Lincoln's fairways are a patchwork of gopher mounds, leaky-sprinkler-fed bogs, and brown patches where the water has been shut off to stop leaks. In June 2007, Lincoln's only fairway mower broke. Instead of repairing or replacing it, the Recreation & Park Department mowed the fairways infrequently all summer with a narrow, slow, trim mower, leaving grass so tall that the fairways became indistinguishable from the roughs. After rain, Lincoln's fairways become waterlogged and inhospitable both to golfers and mowers, due to poor drainage system. The quaint, 1920s clubhouse is dilapidated, its public rooms empty, food service minimal and the bathrooms dank. The pro shop and restaurant have been on a month-to-month lease for more than five years, discouraging the concessionaire from making needed repairs. It is more than coincidence that the number of annual rounds declined from 55,000 in 2002-03 to 35,000 in 2005-06, the last year for which complete figures are available. So far as we are aware, the city has no current cost estimates for the needed infrastructure repairs.And this was disturbing...
Why is this happening? Between the Recreation and Park Department, the Board of Supervisors, and the Mayor's Office, no clear statement has been made of the city's intentions at Lincoln. But one thing is perfectly clear. Lincoln is extremely valuable property, as it adjoins the exclusive Seacliff neighborhood. When neglected or abused, such property becomes target for developers. And thus civic birthrights are lost. At Lincoln, there is an ironic twist to this old story: a so-called friend of public parks, San Francisco Neighborhood Parks Council, is calling for construction of an "event center" on Lincoln's famous 17th hole. No details have been released, but an "event center" inevitably means building complexes, roads, parking facilities, congestion, noise and traffic. And all of this in the middle of the famous view of the Golden Gate now enjoyed not only by golfers, but also neighbors, strollers, schoolchildren, bikers, motorists, dog-walkers, birders, museum-goers, not to mention visitors from around the world.
A shame the PGA Tour, which is using nearby Harding Park, can't step in and offer the city some assistance. Then again, maybe some of the city don't want any help. The worse it gets, the less it makes and as the columnists note, the more willing people are to accept redevelopment.