San Francisco has hosted many major golf events, but may still be overlooked as a golf destination. Most of the best golf is closer to Daly City and usually private. The Presidio Golf Course, however, is right in town and worthy of a half-day anytime. The Fairmont San Francisco is just a short cab ride away and always a treat to visit.
The Presidio Golf Course was originally a private military golf club. The setting and layout could never be duplicated and it is not a track to be taken lightly. The terrain is somewhat hilly and the narrow fairways are lined with century old eucalyptus and Monterey pine trees. These giant trees act as air traps and often balls hit into them just do not come down. The hilltop setting also affects the greens which offer severe breaks in both directions.
The Presidio Café in the golf clubhouse is one of the best public course restaurants you will ever see and a must for some time after golf. Make sure you dress warmly and remember what Mark Twain said about summer in San Francisco. Go to PresidioGolf.com for reservations.
The Fairmont San Francisco is an icon in a city full of them. If the lobby looks familiar, it is. It was used in the popular TV series “Hotel” as well as countless other films. This grand marble meeting spot is truly one of a kind and draws well-heeled visitors from around the globe.
This is my favorite place to stay in the city and if you can get a high level room in the tower the views are unmatched. The vistas stretch from the Bay Bridge all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge with the entire city unfolding below. Alcatraz and Angel Island in clear view as well as all the ships and pleasure craft navigating the San Francisco Bay.
The rooms are five-star quality all the way as you would expect with Fairmont. The beds are so comfortable that I once ordered a mattress from them so I could have the same feel at home. Bathrooms are large with extensive marble. Housekeeping here almost seems overstaffed but that is a bonus for guests.
The lobby at the Fairmont is a hub of activity and also home to the Laurel Court Restaurant where we dined. My entrée, the pan roasted branzino was expertly prepared and served with Sonoma mushrooms. Chef Chad Blunston seeks out the finest local organic produce and works with the Monterey Seafood Watch to purchase from sustainable sources. Visit Fairmont.com/SanFrancisco for further details.
Nob Hill, Union Square, Chinatown
Nob Hill is where the Fairmont is situated and it is perfectly located for taking in Union Square and Chinatown. Union Square, with all its world-class shopping, is just a couple of blocks away as is Chinatown. But this may not be walking distance for many, because these are very, very steep hills. Some may want to walk down and take a cab on one of the famous cable cars back uphill. For those in search of a workout, make sure to put on your running shoes as the climb back up to Nob Hill will give you all you need.
Chinatown is a must visit. It is so authentic that by the time you get into the middle you might actually forget that you are still in the U.S. Check out the Chinese markets and some of the bizarre things they actually sell to the locals.
Red and White
One of the best ways to really take in all of San Francisco’s sights is to get out on the Bay itself via one of the many public operators. We choose the Bridge to Bridge Cruise with the Red and White line on this visit. The time flew by and the weather was perfect. Cruising by Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge gave us vistas that we would never have seen from land. The boat was clean and the service was very good from start to finish. The Red and White Ferry Fleet located at Pier 43 has several trips to choose from. To see a schedule, go to RedandWhite.com.