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    These 5 muni programs are additionally common Tour stops

    TPC Harding Park is amongst California’s prize munis.

    Getty Photographs

    TPC Sawgrass, web site of this week’s Gamers Championship, is a public course in the identical method that Virgin Galactic is public transportation: anybody can play it, simply as anybody can ebook a seat on a flight into the stratosphere.

    For a value.

    In 2023, the peak-season price at Sawgrass is $600 per participant (for Virgin Galactic fares, test in with Richard Branson). That’s cheaper than it was final 12 months, when dynamic pricing despatched Sawgrass inexperienced charges rocketing to $820. But it surely’s nonetheless a far cry from the discount charges at lots of the programs we rejoice on this area.

    Not that munis can’t have a high-end sheen. Some, together with Chambers Bay and Bethpage Black, have hosted majors. But it surely’s simple to overlook {that a} handful of others function common Tour stops, similar to Sawgrass — although they’re not as spendy for public play.

    The place are they? And what do they price?

    In step with the populist spirit of Muni Mondays, right here’s a have a look at the 5 municipal tracks the place the world’s finest peg it yearly.

    Tilden Park's opening hole.

    Muni Mondays: Probably the most unattainable opening gap in muni golf, in my thoughts

    Josh Sens

    1 and a couple of. Torrey Pines — Farmers Insurance coverage Open (San Diego, Calif.)

    For those who see cling gliders drifting within the backdrop, there’s probability you’re watching protection from Torrey Pines, the bluff-top San Diego muni that has lengthy staged the Farmers Insurance coverage Open, a lynchpin of the West Coast Swing. There are two programs right here, the North and South, a pair of William Francis Bell designs that first opened for play within the late Fifties and have since undergone substantial renovations, by Tom Weiskopf and Rees Jones, respectively. Although each programs are used throughout the Farmers, the South—the longer and the more durable of the 2—will get sole billing for the event’s weekend rounds. The South has additionally been the stage for 2 memorable U.S. Opens: in 2008, when Tiger Woods gained on a damaged leg; and 2021, when Jon Rahm closed birdie-birdie for his first main.

    Torrey Pines South

    Getty Photographs

    On each the North and South, tee occasions will be booked as much as 90 days prematurely and have a tendency to promote out rapidly. However not all is misplaced if you happen to get shut out, as there’s a native custom of sending teams out between between dawn and the primary official tee occasions of the day. That’s the excellent news. The dangerous information is that it’s first-come-first-served, and the toughest of the hard-core sleep within the parking zone to snag these slots.

    Metropolis Resident Charges:

    South Course: $67-$83

    North Course: $47-$62

    Non-Resident Charges

    South Course: $223-$278

    North Course: $141-$176

    3. Memorial Park — Houston Open (Houston, Tex.)

    Houston, now we have a marquee muni. Located inside an expansive metropolis park of the identical title, Memorial Park was born in 1923 as a nine-hole format however bloomed into a completely grassed 18 in 1936. Between 1947 and 1963, it staged the Houston Open 14 occasions. Jackie Burke Jr., Cary Middlecoff and Arnold Palmer all claimed Houston Open titles in that span. Dave Marr didn’t. However the PGA Championship-winner-turned-golf-broadcaster lower his tooth at Memorial Park as a child and by no means misplaced his fondness for it. His ashes are scattered on the grounds.

    Memorial Park in Houston, Tex.

    Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour

    In 1995, after slogging via a interval of neglect, Memorial Park underwent a renovation, a $7 million undertaking that was minor in comparison with what was to come back. A extra complete facelift was accomplished throughout the pandemic, when Tom Doak put the ultimate touches on an overhaul that made Memorial Park Tour-ready once more.

    In its reborn go round as Houston Open host, Memorial Park has a lot bigger greens than the typical Tour venue (small placing surfaces weren’t an choice on a course that will get such heavy year-round play). It additionally has a massively entertaining closing stretch on holes 13 via 17, which function two drivable par-4s and two gettable par-5s.

    Metropolis resident charges: $30-$38

    Non-resident charges: $120-$140

    4. TPC Scottsdale — WM Phoenix Open (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

    Yearly over Tremendous Bowl week, tens of 1000’s of followers, a few of them sober and totally clothed, descend on the Stadium Course for the WM Phoenix Open, a event that makes the Ryder Cup look tame. The environment is very electrical across the sixteenth gap, an in any other case unremarkable par-3 that morphs right into a gladiatorial area ringed by hovering, jam-packed grandstands.

    However you in all probability knew all that.

    What you may not have realized is that the Tom Weiskopf-Jay Morrish design is partly owned by town, which qualifies it as a muni, even when its inexperienced charges aren’t precisely for the lots. Administration makes use of dynamic pricing, with peak-season charges typically starting from $329 to $525 per participant.

    5. TPC Harding Park — Hanwha Lifeplus Worldwide Crown (San Francisco, Calif.)

    In a proud life that started in 1925, Harding has been a number of issues to lots of people. An everyday Tour cease. A significant championship venue. A Presidents Cup stage. The house course to Ken Venturi, whose dad and mom used to run the professional store. Few munis have such a protracted CV. That glittery resume will develop once more this Might, when the LPGA swings via city for the Hanwha Lifeplus Worldwide Crown, a biennial occasion that options four-player groups from eight international locations in match-play competitors.

    The course they’ll play was initially designed by Willie Watson and Sam Whiting (the identical duo who did the close by Olympic Membership) and upgraded dramatically within the early 2000s. Its hallmarks embrace an modern cinnamon-roll routing, with a entrance 9 wrapped contained in the again 9, and a stout closing stretches that curls alongside the sting of Lake Merced.

    Metropolis resident charges: $65-$79

    Non-resident charges: $180-$200

    Josh Sens Contributor

    A golf, meals and journey author, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Journal contributor since 2004 and now contributes throughout all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Finest American Sportswriting. He’s additionally the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Enjoyable But: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.

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