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Course of the Week: Heritage Links, Hanse Golf Design to revamp Lake Merced Golf Club

By |  August 3, 2022 0 Comments
The par-3 13th hole at Lake Merced GC before its restoration by Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design. (Photo: Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design)

The par-3 13th hole at Lake Merced GC before its restoration by Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design. (Photo: Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design)

Heritage Links, in collaboration with Hanse Golf Design (HGD), is in the process of renovating and restoring Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif.

The restoration process of the Alister MacKenzie original began in October 2021. HGD and Heritage rebuilt all 18 greens, created a 36,000 square foot Himalayas-style putting course, new short-game practice areas, turf research nursery, refurbished 150,000 square feet of bunkering, restored then expanded all 18 tee complexes, moved the practice facility from one end of the property to the other and installed a two-wire irrigation system using flexible, no-leak HDPE piping.

The par-3 13th hole at Lake Merced GC after its restoration by Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design. (Photo: Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design)

The par-3 13th hole at Lake Merced GC after its restoration by Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design. (Photo: Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design)

“This job was a total blow up,” Jim Wagner, one of the golf course architects, said. “The club wanted a restoration and we did have great photography from the 1930s. At 1, 4, 5, 10 and 13, for example, we were able to put the holes back as Mackenzie created them. But we couldn’t do that everywhere. The property had undergone too much radical change through the years.”

The first design at Lake Merced GC dates to 1922 and that work is attributed to Willie Lock. MacKenzie arrived in the late 1920s and he put his stamp on this topographically diverse routing south of John Daly Boulevard. He designed both Cypress Point and Pasatiempo, among other West Coast venues, at this time.

In the 1960s, the construction of Interstate 280 resulted in Lake Merced GC losing portions of its property. Lake Merced responded by moving its clubhouse from the north end of the property to the southeast corner. It also authorized a major rerouting managed by architect Robert Muir Graves and resulted in many new holes.

No. 13 under construction, from behind the green. (Photo: Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design)

No. 13, under construction, from behind the green. (Photo: Heritage Links/Hanse Golf Design)

“We’re very fortunate to have worked several project with Heritage Links,” Wagner said. “Everyone saw Southern Hills and the restoration there — and all the love it got from the players. That was Perry Maxwell. Then, to turn around and adapt to the MacKenzie style? It shows what they’re all about: getting egos out of the way and working as a team to get that vibe we’re trying to achieve. They really showed off their versatility.”

The course is on schedule to reopen in October 2022.



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