The course – Golf where the crystal waters flow
The azure-blue Crystal Springs Reservoir that you can see sparkling in the sunshine as you drive down I-280 in Hillsborough is also the site of one of the Bay Area’s most unique golf courses. The first dam was built here in 1888 to create a reservoir, part of the San Francisco watershed, that fills a portion of the rift valley of the San Andreas Fault.
The course came later, in 1924, the design of William Herbert Fowler, a noted British golf architect who pioneered in designing courses that naturally followed the lay of the land as does Crystal Springs. Besides working on many famous courses in the British Isles, Fowler did golf designs on the East and West coasts of the United States.
Most of his basic design remains, although some holes were rerouted in the 80 years since the course was built. At 6,628 yards, this par-72 course offers you a true championship test with a slope of 124 from the back tees. But if you play from the middle or forward tees, you’ll find Crystal Springs manageable and enjoyable for all skill levels. Among the tests you will face are well-bunkered greens and rolling hillsides that will amaze you with their uneven lies. The course generally slopes downward toward the reservoir.
Over the past few years, we have greatly improved the drainage and irrigation on the course so that conditions are excellent and also friendly to the environment. We are known for our wildlife – 61 different kinds of birds, mule deer and bobcat are in abundance here. Watch for the red-tailed hawks, the American kestrel and the ever-present turkey vultures wheeling high overhead.
Distance, slope and rating: Championship tees, 6,628 yards (124/72.2); Middle tees, 6,212 yards (122/70.1); Forward tees, 5,580 yards (126/72.3)