Bay Area residents catch a break with the fee structure, but you, too, can play this week’s PGA Championship site … for a price
During or after this week’s PGA Championship, you might ask yourself or your golf buddies: How can I (we) play TPC Harding Park? Because, as you know, in the world of golf-course access, it’s rare that regular folks can play major-championship venues.
Major-championship sites with storied histories can be rattled off quickly by even casual golf fans: Augusta National, Oakmont, Shinnecock Hills, Winged Foot, Baltusrol, Valhalla and Oak Hill, among them. What do all these courses have in common? They’re (very) private. And there’s even a spectrum of privacy within that short list.
So, when the PGA Championship or U.S. Open is held at a public course (resort or daily fee), it’s noteworthy. TPC Harding Park, the host of this week’s PGA Championship, will join a short list of daily-fee municipal courses to have hosted one of golf majors. That list includes 21st-century sites Bethpage State Park's Black Course (2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens, 2019 PGA), Chambers Bay (2015 U.S. Open) and Torrey Pines (2008 U.S. Open).
The reasons for such a small list can be debated elsewhere, but if you want to play Harding Park, here’s how:
Bay Area resident: Like the other three municipal courses to have hosted major championships, TPC Harding Park features a greens-fee structure that greatly benefits local residents compared with the hefty fees for non-residents.
If you live in one of the 10 Bay Area counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma – you’re in luck. You can go online and book a tee time 8-30 days in advance for groups of 2-15 players, for a $15-per-player advance booking fee. The peak season rate for residents is $200 without a resident card ($112 per year) but drops to $76/$97 on weekends and $63/$80 for weekdays with the resident card. Cart fees are $35 per rider.
Non-resident: If you’re coming to play Harding Park from outside the Bay Area, you will need to be prepared to open your wallet or take out a small personal loan. Visitors can use the same online tee-time system, but the cost to play will be significantly higher. The in-season rate is $300, regardless of time or day. Want to ride? That will be another $35 per person.
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