Presidio of San Francisco (February 4, 2010)
-- With its spectacular panoramic views of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean and its rich and colorful history, the Presidio golf course
is one of the park’s defining features and contributes to the Presidio’s National Historic Landmark status.
The course has also been recognized as a leader in environmentally sensitive golf course management. Operating within the Trust’s guidelines, superintendent Brian Nettz tends the course with innovative practices that marry top quality playing conditions with high quality agronomic standards and environmental sensitivity. His efforts have earned Nettz the prestigious Turfgrass Excellence Award in the public category from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Northern California.
“This award shines brightly not only on the work of Brian Nettz and his crew,” says Jeff Deis chief operating officer of the Presidio Trust, “but it also showcases the Trust’s commitment to sustainability and reflects on the golf course as a whole, given its unique position in a National Park setting.”
By taking a preventative approach to pest control and focusing on alternatives to pesticides, the golf course has been able to cut its pesticide use in half in the last decade and now uses 70-85 percent less pesticide than private courses in San Francisco.
For instance, instead of chemical pesticides, groundskeepers spray a “compost tea”—a solution made by soaking compost in water to extract nutrients from the compost—on the course’s greens to control disease and promote turf health.
They’ve also employed “cultural control” techniques like aerating and over seeding fairways and increasing drainage to create conditions more favorable to turf and less favorable to weeds. Groundskeepers have even gone so far as to change the type of turf and trim tree branches to reduce shade on certain holes in an effort to control the invasive, worm-like nematode.
Built in 1895, the Presidio golf course is the second oldest course in Northern California, and boasts a storied past that is an eclectic blend of military history, golf history and American culture. President Theodore Roosevelt reviewed the troops there in May of 1903. Three years later, the course was used as a refugee camp for survivors of the 1906 earthquake. Joe DiMaggio played there. So did Babe Ruth, not to mention Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. For its first 100 years, the course was restricted to members of the military and the exclusive Presidio Golf Club. That all changed in 1995 when the course opened to the general public.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio's status as a National Historic Landmark District.