Save Sharp Park Advocates to Receive GCSANC Presidents Award


The Golf Course Superintendents Association of Northern California (GCSANC) will recognize Richard H. Harris and Robert D. "Bo" Links for their exceptional contributions to the game of golf, as evidenced through their grassroots efforts to help save Sharp Park Golf Course, a much-loved, Alister MacKenzie-designed municipal facility in Pacifica, Calif.

The GCSANC Presidents Award will be presented at the association's annual meeting and awards ceremony on Monday, January 9, at The Course at Wente Vineyards in Livermore. More than 100 golf course superintendents and allied golf industry leaders are anticipated to attend the ceremony.

"We are very pleased to recognize these fine gentlemen," said GCSANC president and host superintendent Glenn Matthews. "They have worked tirelessly in support of public golf as they fully demonstrate the kind of effort it takes to preserve public golf especially in challenging economic and political times."

Both men have deep roots in Northern California golf. Harris is a member at Gleneagles GC, Sharp Park GC and Stanford GC. He was introduced to the game at a young age by his father in Redwood City, and later played varsity golf at Stanford, where he captained of the team in 1968. After graduation, Harris served in the U.S. Army, 82nd Airbone Division and 25th Infantry Division in South Vietnam (1969-1971). He graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley in 1977, and has been practicing law in San Francisco ever since. He is with the firm of Erskine and Tulley, where his legal practice focuses on business, insurance and real estate.

Harris was instrumental in the "Save Stanford Golf Course" campaign in 2000. He is co-founder of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance (SFPGA), an organization committed to preserving affordable eco-friendly golf, with a focus on San Francisco's Sharp Park and Lincoln Park courses. According to Harris, the alliance is dedicated to educating and galvanizing public support for the benefits of municipal golf. "These are challenging times, and golf is not the only public resource that is threatened," said Harris.

"The fight to preserve Sharp Park and our other historic courses is an ongoing one, and golfers and the golf industry must continue to be vigorously engaged within the public arena, to help preserve golf's role as a valued place where the broad public can meet, recreate and relax, and enjoy nature together."

Co-honoree Bo Links is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco. He's a graduate of UC Berkeley and UCLA Law School. He has practiced law in San Francisco since 1974, and is currently with Slote & Links where he maintains an active general litigation and legal counseling practice.

Links is an avid golfer and a dedicated golf historian. He has written two golf books, "Follow the Wind - Riverbank Tweed & Roadmap," and "Jenkins: Tales from the Caddie Yard." He has served on the USGA Green Section Committee for nearly two decades and is a pro bono speaker for the association on legal issues affecting golf. He serves as the volunteer historian for the city of San Francisco's golf courses, and was active in the renovation of Harding Park GC.

A past president of Lake Merced Golf Club (2003-04), Links was successful in leading the effort to rebuild the club's infrastructure (new clubhouse, recycled water facilities, maintenance building). In 2007 and '08, Links was honored by the Alister MacKenzie Society, which awarded him first prize in the international Lido Design Contest. He is the only two-time winner of that award.

Links has tackled with immense energy and focus the saving of Sharp Park, which has been under attack by anti-golf activists. Links and Harris continue to help secure funding for an environmentally-sensitive restoration of the course, and both keep others informed about the issues surrounding Sharp Park, as evidenced through their compelling presentations to the California Alliance for Golf (CAG) and the California Chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association (CGCSA).

"Through our travels and work in golf, both Richard and I have come to know and admire many course superintendents all across the country," said Links. "Now, receiving this special award from our local superintendents, right here in our own backyard, means so much to us. It is by far the best evidence that our focus on preserving affordable, high-quality, memorable public golf is striking a responsive chord. As you can imagine, we are both humbled yet extremely grateful for such an honor."

In addition to award winners Harris and Links, the GCSANC will recognize five of its association members. The Golf Course Superintendent of the Year Award will be presented to Patrick "Pat" Finlen, CGCS, Olympic Club (San Francisco), the George Santana Distinguished Service Award is extended to Jason Green, San Jose Country Club, Turfgrass Excellence Award in the Public Category is earned by Abelardo "Lalo" Pacheco, Rancho Solano Golf Club (Fairfield), Turfgrass Excellence Award in the Private Category will be presented to Dale Engman, Mayacama Golf Club (Santa Rosa), and the Bert Graves Affiliate Merit Award Winner is Jim Sherman with Turf & Industrial Equipment Company (Santa Clara).

To learn more about the Northern California Chapter of the GCSAA, visit http://www.gcsanc.com.

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