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16 comments

Comment from: Ron Mon [Member] Email
Ron Whitten wrote an outstanding article on the Country Club of Buffalo on the Golf Digest website. Then he proclaimed the twelfth, not the sixth, to be the true Volcano hole. There is no other par three IN THE WORLD like the sixth at CCB. It is more memorable than anything at Bandon Dunes or St. Andrews (and that's not just me being a homer, 'cause I can't afford the initiation fee) and that's not a knock on Bandon. Everything from the understated quarry setting, the winds, the angled, three tiered green that erupts from the ground like a primordial launch pad, makes number six without peer. That Whitten could possible pimp the twelfth leaves open the possibility that another revisionist tale might escape his pen in the guise of ink, from an otherwise fine writer.
2005-10-08 @ 06:13
Comment from: John D [Visitor]
Damn! Almost beat Tigger. Stupid putt wasn't working.
2005-10-10 @ 05:14
Comment from: Brian S [Visitor]
I was just wondering if you were at Harding Park this past weekend, the course was amazing. You didn't think it was good probably because you didn't play it close the tournament time. That course was in unbelievable shape, so don't hate just appreciate the great golf that was played there this weekend.
2005-10-10 @ 17:22
Comment from: Eric B [Visitor]
Are you really basing your opinion of Harding Park on playing in the middle of winter? I realize it's fun to be a contrarian when everyone else is heaping praise on the course, but you really need to see the course during sometime other than the rainy season.
2005-10-10 @ 19:22
Comment from: David L. [Visitor]
I don't think it is fair that you are basing your opinion of the course on an experience you had a year ago. Plus, you are implying that PGA golfers seldom say negative comments about a course. I'm sure you are aware that the contrary is true. In addition, if the PGA has agreed to bring an event back to Harding Park within the next few years the course cannot be that bad. Lastly, yes the course wasn't the most beautiful thing in the world but you can't deny that the atmosphere was exciting.
2005-10-10 @ 20:07
Comment from: Chris Baldwin [Member] Email
Obviously, any course is at its best during tournament time. But you're not playing it then. Good luck trying to elbow Tiger out of the way.
The question is: What's a course like when the mere mortals are allowed on? And even at its absolute best this last weekend, even Harding defender poster David L. just admitted the course wasn't that inspiring.
The San Francisco crowd? Great. Harding Park? Not so great.
And I was there this last March when the weather couldn't have been more sunny sky beautiful. Ask any local and they'll tell you the weather's often better in San Fran in the winter than the heart of the summer. This isn't a weather issue, just an overhyped course issue.

2005-10-10 @ 21:34
Comment from: Eric B [Visitor]
I think it's a logical storyline to get excited about the fact that a "muni" can actually host a pro tournament (a fact that ESPN/ABC beat into the ground during their coverage)

Here's the deal, the course is very challenging, great to play, and one of the best "munis" around. Every time I play Harding, I am struck by what a great day of golf I had. For $88 on the weekends ($46 with a city card), it's a tremendous place to spend a day. Yes, the weather in winter is sometimes nicer than a June day, but we still get our share of winter rains (every course in Northern California is not at its best at this time of year...see the fact that some pros refuse to play the AT&T in February due to perceived poor conditions)

btw, calling San Francisco "San Fran" belies the fact that you are not a local (2nd only to calling it "Frisco").
2005-10-10 @ 23:32
Comment from: Ivory [Visitor]
Chris, Chris, Chris!!! Most, if not all, of the broadcasters covering the AMEX Championship and interviewing the tour stars commented that there were no complaints about the course...and that was unusual. These were the PRO's, Chris...the best players in the world!! It must be really being you. You still cannot get over yourself.
2005-10-11 @ 12:05
Comment from: steve san filippo [Visitor]
A couple of thoughts about your issues with Harding. First, do you say the same things about Olympic Lake because having played and walked both at professional events there was little difference at the AMEX, other than Harding was longer.

Inconsistent greens? Not at the tournament. And remember, this is Nor Cal. You have greens that remain moist for months at a time while enduring 80,000 rounds a year, with many of those 300 lb. players doing pirouettes next to the hole after missed three footers. Yeah, they do get bumpy and uneven at times. It's part of the game.

Harding was everything the announcers said it was. As Tiger said, "it rewards good shots and penalizes marginal shots" without 8" roughs and tricked up greens. And when a course limits the winning score to -10
with a field of 70 of the best players in the world, it is a true and fair test.

But I have to say, as a local, after a while all the gushing did make me start to cringe.
2005-10-12 @ 10:57
Comment from: Butch V [Visitor]
As a person who plays golf, I give due credence and respect to every golf course I play in. I have not played in Harding Park but would love to play some time. A golf course is a blend of design and the elements. Maintenance, good or bad, makes part of the challenge in the game. This game will never have a perfect course, much less a perfect player. Not even a hunderd Tigers, Jacks, or Arnolds. While the game's technology have evolved, this game grows as nature wants it. Not on how we want it to be. What makes a golf course worthy of worldclass play is made up of the players who play in it, who wins it and of course, the color of money. Certainly the challenge of the course will always be there.

2005-10-14 @ 02:14
Comment from: James G. Prusa [Visitor]
FROM: Director of Agronomy -- Harding Park

Read your column with peaked interest. H'mmm, I could write a book. How about 75,000 rounds a year and full tee even in February -- wear and tear with slow growth...

First, this past winter was no time to judge Harding. Weather was terrible, turf conditions were not good. Frankly, our City staff has been learning and raising the quality bar since our opening in 2003 -- AND they, to the credit of SF municipal employees, have reached the mark. There won't be any going back either.

As to the sincerity of the pros'comments on Harding -- it was all real. Even off the record the caddies were gushing. Even the wives in the clubhouse were thrilled. Sure, the course put on its Sunday best (well, almost as we could notch it up even further), but the kudos were very real. I personally had the press coming to me asking if the positives were real as they were astonished by the favorable reaction.

I have been around golf professionally since the 1960's, Ron Whitten and I even worked togther when I was tech editor of Golf Course Management magazine. Ron shoots straight, objective and hard. He hit the mark on his assessment of Harding and time will tell.

There is more to Harding and SF golf than you can see right now. You mentioned Lincoln (and Sharp too) -- well just watch partner!

Best regards,

Jim Prusa
Harding Park
Director of Agronomy
2005-10-16 @ 10:50
Comment from: arnie [Visitor]
Wow you really are as clueless as everybody thinks, aren't you? How did you ever get into golf writing?

To rip Harding based on comments by some weekend hackers about inconsistent greens is ridiculous. I notice not a single comment about the design of the course itself or the shotmaking it requires. The beauty of Harding is that it requires just that, shotmaking. The fact that you think 18, probably the worst hole on the course, is one of the best, shows that you know nothing about golf or course design and really shouldn't share your thoughts on those topics with the world.

I've played Harding many times and, while I agree it is being overrated by the media, it is definately a top tier course design and also a course with a lot of history. I'm sure you'd be happier if they held the tournament at some new tricked up high end daily fee course with pretty grass and perfect greens, eh?
2005-10-17 @ 11:30
Comment from: Denver Player [Visitor]
Chris,

If I play an away course, I try never to criticise it. It is someone's home course, and they may take offense.
I had a friend play at my course two years ago. He was a hack. He voiced his dislike of the course. He hasn't been invited back since.
One rule I live by: I never take instruction or advice from a hack. I am guessing that you are a hack. So I won't take heed of your review of Harding, just like I won't take heed of your choice in cheesesteaks. BTW, are you even from Philly?
2005-10-19 @ 18:04
Comment from: Greg Pinelli [Visitor]
I don't know if I can write this...Ivory actually makes sense. Have you ever played Harding...Chris???? Harding rests on a truly remarkable piece of terrain. The course follows the same route it followed pre remake. When I attended the AMEX I was very impressed with the redesign. It's an excellent course...and if they had allowed the rough to grow much more scores would have been MUCH higher. The short par 4's are very creative and take away much of the course bullying on tour today.
Olympic Lakeside...which you can see from Harding..Chris....only deserves more respect because of it's great (and deserved rep)....but , of course....you've played both and know that.
2005-10-20 @ 22:00
Comment from: craig scott [Visitor]
I must say you do have the nerve of a sandbagger. I must say you do have the skill of a 43 handicap hack! I must say you are no class act Mr. Chris Baldwin... Blog writer, one of kind nobody! Stand tall Chris Baldwin- Be proud of the ass you've made yourself! Just think, your parents have to be proud of thier clueless numbnutt son!!!!!
2005-10-22 @ 14:35
Comment from: Dale C [Visitor]
I find this review of Harding Park a bit hard to believe. It seems that the author has completely missed the point of Harding Park and San Francisco golf.

Harding is truly one of the great golf experiences that a public golfer can experience. When you are playing Harding there is no mistaking where you are. The place just oozes San Francisco. To judge the course conditions mid-winter is not fair as well as expecting municipal course conditions to be on par with PGA Tour conditions in the middle of winter. As a layout Harding is fabulous, especially when you get a bit of wind blowing and the famous Marine Layer. It held up very well to the best players in the world. Then only day they had their way with it was the first day with SoCal weather.

I played Harding back in the early 90's when I was at Stanford and absolutely loved the place before the makeover. I played it in very poor condition but still found it to be a great and unique golf experience. With the changes and improved conditions I am looking forward to getting back. Harding Park is all about the San Francisco golf experience. If you can get on the Lake or SF Golf Club great but that is unattainable for most mortals. Harding exudes the same type of atmosphere plus a special feel that only a muni can. If you play golf because you love it you will not leave Harding disappointed and the remake only made it that much better. Otherwise, there are plenty of very well conditioned, forgettable layouts around the country that will be happy to take your money.
2005-10-25 @ 14:23

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