As a one-time four-year resident of Oakland, I feel that I can assess the state of public golf in the Bay Area with some degree of certainty.

Which is why I was so surprised to see’s latest article recommending Bay Area courses.  Granted, there aren’t a lot of choices within a 30-minute drive of Berkeley.

Purists will LOVE the Mickey Mouse astroturf range at Tilden Park and the plug-and-slog condition of the course.

If Metropolitan Golf Links is “fast and firm” (while extremely bland, from a pace-of-play standpoint it’s your best public option in the immediate vicinity), conditions at East Lake last week would have to be called “rock hard and lightning fast.”

If you’re flying up from LA for the Cal game this weekend and can’t have your pro call a private club for you in advance (of which there are numerous fine options in the Bay Area), please do yourself a favor and leave your sticks at home. Save the baggage fee and the inevitable long wait at the OAK or SFO carousel.

If you insist on playing, you’ll have to drive at least 45 minutes (Roddy Ranch) or even an hour-and-a-half (San Juan Oaks) to find a decent course that won’t take an entire day to play.

(At least got their bar recommendations right.  Jupiter, Bear’s Lair, and Henry’s are all terrific places to grab a pizza and a pint.)

2 Responses

  1. I have experienced the same with’s recommendations in other states. Some of the courses they recommend are over-priced cow pastures.
    I don’t follow their recommendations any longer.

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