Bucket List – The Olympic Club (Lake)

Only seems fitting that “The Olympic Club” be featured this week given the current Winter Olympics. The Lake course at The Olympic Club was founded in 1860 and is the oldest athletics club in the U.S.A. Following the great war, The Olympic Club decided to accumulate a golf course to their ranks, purchasing the struggling Lakeside Country Club. Designed by Willie Watson and built by Sam Whiting, the Lake Course opened in 1924. After damage during winter storms in 1925-6, Sam Whiting redesigned the course and it reopened in 1927. Since, the course has hosted five U.S. Opens, making the Lake course a genuine challenge for golfers of all skill. In 2009, Bill Love, former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, oversaw a restoration and renovation that featured the first routing change since 1927. A new 8th hole was created in the natural amphitheater below the Clubhouse.


Built on a barren strip of hillside, separating the Pacific Ocean from Lake Merced in San Francisco, California, the course offers stunning topography and is a joy to play despite its difficulty. Trees are a predominant feature on the course, and despite the name, there is not a single water hazard present and only one fairway bunker on the entirety of the course!

The sloping fairways and small greens are the challenge here, don’t expect many flat lies. Lightning fast greens and brutal rough make the Lake course a punishing mistress.

The Olympic club will host the 2028 PGA Championship and the 2032 Ryder Cup, the first time the course has hosted either of these events.

Photos from Club website – Laurence Lambrecht

Cover Photo from Stephen Szurlej – Golf Digest