If you overlook Lake Merced Golf Club, located in San Francisco, you will do so at your own peril. I had always found the course visually compelling when I watched in host LPGA events on TV but playing it, I thought the routing was great causing intriguing shots and would definitely be my home course if I lived in San Francisco.
What I found particularly intriguing was how enjoyable it was to tee off with some blind tee shots framed by beautiful trees
and then when you get up to your ball, seeing these great approaches to the greens.
I mean, I probably just described your favorite parkland course with that general description above but believe me that when I say that Lake Merced's routing and framing of holes creates a rather magical atmosphere and makes this a truly special course.
Also, like every San Francisco course I played during my trip there, this course featured a downhill par 3, dramatically framed. This one was a doozy but so fun to play!
One of my favorite holes is the par 5 ninth that starts off with a blind-ish drive and I happened to drive it right where Lydia Ko did in the recent LPGA tournament.
I also hit three wood from that spot but unlike Lydia, I didn't quite make it to two feet from the cup. It doesn't matter because the green is so awesome and framed by the clubhouse that it is a great way to wrap up the front 9.
The back nine features several of the same types of holes that you find on the front side (a blind tee shot playing downhill on a dogleg right, a tee shot that has the ability to catch the speed slot and wind up 30 yards from the green, etc.) and while on most courses this would lead to some grousing, here it works.
That is the thing about Lake Merced, what you think might not work on scorecard, works in person. The routing is great over hill and dale. The tee shots give you something to chew on as do the approach shots. The greens are in great shape. Sure the bunkering is a little ragged and they could do with some tree trimming but the bones of the course are great and I would gladly be a member there if I could, especially if they have a late afternoon membership:
The 18th hole is emblematic of the course as a hole as it is a fun, let it all hang out par 5 hole. You just wail away on shots until you can't wait anymore. If you can get on this gem, do it!
For more info on Lake Merced check out this link: https://www.lmgc.org/
Also do yourself a favor and check out Andrew's golf blog. This guy is a talented writer, golfer and all around good guy and well worth a bookmark: https://golfblogit.wordpress.com/