Runways to Fairways: Eat well, play better in San Francisco

By Matt GinellaApril 3, 2013, 3:24 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Although I grew up an hour north of “the city,” it’s hard to call San Francisco home. It’s more like the old blanket that sits at the end of my sofa – a loyal and consistent source of warmth for my soul.

I went to a lot more 49ers’ games than Giants’ games. I’ve only been to Alcatraz once. In college, I tended bar at Capp's Corner, an Italian restaurant in North Beach. But it wasn’t until I recently started spending quality time using the city as a base that I began to appreciate it for how small it is – “you can get anywhere in the city in 20 minutes” – and how much it has to offer.

As a kid, I tried to hold my breath from tower to tower on the Golden Gate Bridge (depending on the traffic, I’d have to cheat to beat my four older siblings). Now I appreciate those two red arches, and their ongoing battle with the fog, for being the most beautiful bridge in the world.


In my college years, if I wasn’t squirreling away soup and garlic bread from Capp’s, I’d maximize my profits by buying frozen burritos. Now I don’t take for granted the wide range of culinary options. As you’ll see in my latest installment of “Runways to Fairways,” I sampled Memphis Minnie’s (pictured above), Original Joe’s and the sushi bar at Hotel Nikko.

SF Coit

I also took in sites, such as the Coit Tower (pictured above) and Alcatraz, and I hit a putt down Lombard Street (below): 

SF Lombard

Not to mention, navigating the doglegs of some of my favorite public golf in the country: 

Sandy Tatum, 93, played for Stanford during two national championships (1941 and ’42), served on the USGA’s executive committee and is a member of San Francisco’s Hall of Fame. Tatum gets a lot of credit for the leadership and some of the fund raising that helped restore what is now TPC Harding Park, which is across Lake Merced from The Olympic Club. Some criticize Tatum for exhausting the city’s golf fund. And then some. And then some more. 

But where and how the money was spent, as well as the relationship Tatum forged with the PGA Tour, it’s clear TPC Harding Park’s 27 holes, First Tee program, the 18 new greens in December, as well as playing host to significant PGA Tour and Champions Tour events, has made Harding Park relevant again. Not to mention, it’s a good business model. Had the city continued to split limited funds among Harding, Lincoln and Sharp parks, one could argue, they’d all still be below average. Having Harding be the lead sled dog, pulling in more players, tournaments and profit, will now begin to benefit Harding, Lincoln, Sharp and the local golfer in a way that might never have happened otherwise.

SF Harding

TPC Harding Park (pictured above) has a three-tiered structure to green fees, which I love. City residents pay $52 during the week; $66 on weekends. Residents of Bay Area counties pay $90 during the week; $100 on weekends. Everyone else pays $155 during the week; $175 on weekends.

SF Lincoln

And like I said in the video, on a clear day, the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Lincoln Park’s 17th tee (pictured above) is worth the $41 green fee. The rest of the course is a bonus.


I didn’t have the time on this trip to Northern California, but I usually build at least a round at Pasatiempo into my itinerary, my fifth favorite public course in the country. It’s $250 all week; $110 replay rate.

I’ve also played Presidio Golf Club on previous trips to San Francisco. Featuring tight fairways, 14 elevated greens and the heavy air of Northern California, it’s best to move up a set of tees. Presidio also has a three-tiered structure to the green fees: City residents pay $62 during the week, $72 on Fridays and $77 on weekends. Bay Area residents pay $79, $89 and $99. Non-residents pay $125 during the week and $145 on weekends.

On this trip to Presidio, I had the pleasure of meeting current long-drive champ, Ryan Winther. As you heard and saw on the video, Winther’s ball goes up, and never seems to come down. The sound of the ball leaving his clubface is a violent attack on the ears.


Winther, who used to be a baseball player, took up golf and working at Presidio as an assistant pro six years ago. He went from picking the range to showering the trees behind the range with 400-yard drives that make Dustin Johnson look like Zach Johnson. Winther has clubhead speed of 157 mph, ball speed of 226.7 mph, and the longest carry ever recorded under 1,000-meter elevation, 430 yards, which is an official Guinness World Record.

Coming off dream seasons in baseball, football and golf, and not to mention hosting America’s Cup at the end of the summer, I’m not the only one finding a new appreciation for San Francisco, and all that it has to offer.

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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

“The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.



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Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

She wondered if there would be resentment.

She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

“It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

He waved Lincicome over.

“He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

“I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

What are Lincicome’s expectations?

She would love to make the cut, but . . .

“Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

“I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

“The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

“She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”