TPC Harding Park, the site of the 2020 PGA Championship, is an immaculate golf course meant to challenge the best the world has to offer. However, it wasn’t always that way. Just over 20 years ago, Harding Park served as a parking lot for a neighboring course hosting the U.S. Open. Patrons would drive up the fairways and leave tire marks all over the municipal track, but now, it’s one of the most pristine public golf courses in America.
TPC Harding Park hosts the PGA Championship Aug. 6-9
After nearly a full year without a major championship, the PGA Championship is finally back in 2020. The first major of the season will take place at TPC Harding Park in San Fransisco, Calif. from Aug. 6-9.
Harding Park is a 7,169-yard track that will play as a par 70 for the pros. Normally, the course plays as a par 72 for amateur golfers, but this isn’t your typical Sunday round with your buddies.
Harding Park hasn’t hosted a PGA Tour event since 2015 when Rory McIlroy won the WGC-Match Play at the course. It’s also hosted the Presidents Cup in 2009 and another WGC event back in 2005. Tiger Woods actually won that event, so he should feel right at home when he returns to the Tour this weekend.
The course is is perfect condition for the PGA Championship, but it wasn’t always that way.
TPC Harding Park was used as a parking lot for the 1998 U.S. Open
TPC Harding Park was constructed in 1925 and was immediately considered one of the best municipal courses in the world. The track hosted the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in 1937, and it has since held multiple PGA Tour events.
By the late 1990s, though, Harding Park was no longer a championship-level golf course. A lack of funding forced management to cut back on staff, and the course suffered as a result. The pristine greens and fairways turned into bumpy, brown patches of dead grass as the golf course was neglected for years.
When the U.S. Open came to San Fransisco in 1998, patrons needed more parking spaces close to the Olympic Golf Club. Harding Park, which is Olympic’s neighboring course, became a makeshift parking lot in its run-down state.
Cars littered the fairways and greens for a week as golf fans flooded the Bay Area. Harding Park was officially knocked off its once impressive pedestal.
Harding Park transformed from a parking lot into the 2020 PGA Championship venue
In an incredible turnaround, Harding Park was transformed from a parking lot into a PGA Tour venue in a few short years. After the 1998 U.S. Open, the city government gave the course $16 million in funding to renovate the course. By 2005, Harding Park was back to hosting PGA Tour events.
Just 22 years after being considered a joke of a municipal course, Harding Park is ready to put on a show at the 2020 PGA Championship. The fairways and greens are back to their flawless ways, and the world’s best will gather in the Bay Area to play one of golf’s greatest comeback stories.