Yosemite’s Golf Course: Will it remain?



Did you even know there was a golf course at Yosemite? It’s down in Wawona. It opened in 1918, just 2 years after the Half Dome cables were erected.  It was the first regulation course in the Sierra. It’s a 9-hole, par-35 run set in the shadow of the historic Wawona Hotel. Creative tee positions per side provide a par-70, 18-hole format. 18 holes will set you back $41.50 and you can rent an electric cart for another $18.

The question is: Does it have a place in a National Park? I know we have the Badger Pass ski resort, but that’s a subject for another discussion. It’s near the South Fork of the Merced – a Wild and Scenic River. As we know, the developing Merced River Plan is looking at things that impact the river. Just because things have always been, doesn’t mean they will remain. How do you feel? Is it really necessary to have a golf links in the park? Could that land be used for other, more appropriate uses?

Sierra Meadows Golf Course is close by and the  River Creek course can support more players. What do you think?

Unrelated thought worth quoting:Achievements on the golf course are not what matters, decency and honesty are whatmatter.” – Tiger Woods  

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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6 Responses to Yosemite’s Golf Course: Will it remain?

  1. Sönke says:

    I know this is a difficult issue. Especially considering the issue of removing “historical features”. I also wouldn’t mind to see the Ahwahnee go. But where do you begin and where do you stop?! I don’t have an answer for that.

    I apologize if my language seems to be a bit rude. It’s just the way I feel and I sometimes forget that disussing matters has a very different culture in America.

    • Scott Baines says:

      I didn’t think you were rude at all. I’m also mindful that others who have taken your approach over the last 50 years have done us all a great service by getting rid of gross abuses like the Firefall and the old bear feeding dumps.

  2. Baines says:

    We’ve lived with it for almost 100 years and I personally can live with it going forward. Everyone enjoys the park in different ways and I personally know a couple of big $$ Sierra Club supporters who visit the course regularly. These gentlemen usually stay at the Ahwahnee and have never seen a trail other than the sidewalks of Yosemite village, but they have a deep reverence for the park. Apart from financial support, the developed areas of national parks provide a initial toehold for so many who are totally unfamiliar with the natural world. Then they start doing easy trails, harder trails, and before you know it they are camping in the backcountry. (This progression may sound familiar to some of my fellow Mr. HD readers!)

    My own view is that broad public accessibility brings broad public support and I generally favor leaving developments like the Wawona and Ahwahnee, etc. in place but not allowing expansion or new development beyond repair/renovation. Sonke, I know how much you love Yosemite from reading your comments here for the last 2 years or so and I respect your opinion, but I would ask you to remember that the definition of “unnecessary crap” varies widely. Many people would include the HD cables, Curry Village cabins, etc. in that category.

  3. Dean says:

    The course is quite low visual impact, blink and you’ll miss it. We did the meadow loop and didn’t find that the course intruded or spoiled the walk. I doubt if most passers by even notice it.

    Removing historical features could set a precedent and lead to the removal of other important Yosemite features…Half Dome cables?

  4. Sönke says:

    White + 1.

    Can’t wait for all the unncessary crap to go.

  5. Maureen L says:

    hi, Rick,

    Is removing the golf course one of the options in the Merced Wild and Scenic River plan, or is it too far from the river to matter?

    In their Green Path in-house TV piece, DNC claims they manages the golf course organically in terms of fertilizer and pest control.

    The golf course may be protected as “historic,” given it’s not so close to the river. There used to be a small airport around there, too, that’s now history.

    The golf course is a part of the Steven T. Mather “bring the swank, moneyed set to the park so they care about it” approach. That’s how we got the Ahwahnee Hotel and dancing pavilions at Camp Curry.

    I am a big fan of Colonel John R. White, an early and influential superintendent of Sequoia National Park, a bit farther south in the Sierra than Yosemite. In an oft-quoted speech he gave in 1936 to a meeting of national park superintendents, White said: “We should boldly ask ourselves whether we want the national parks to duplicate the features and entertainments of other resorts, or whether we want them to stand for something distinct and, we hope, better in our national life.” I’m with White all the way.

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