American Football Database
Olympic Club
File:Olympic club.jpg
Club information
LocationSan Francisco & Daly City, California, U.S.
Total holes45
Tournaments hostedU.S. Open: 1955, 1966, 1987, 1998, 2012
Tour Championship: 1993, 1994
U.S. Amateur: 1958, 1981, 2007
U.S. Junior Amateur: 2004
Lake Course
Designed bySam Whiting
Willie Watson
Par71 (70 for 2012 U.S. Open)
Length7,170 yards (6,560 m) (2012 U.S. Open)[1]
Course rating76.5
Slope rating145[2]
Ocean Course
Designed byTom Weiskopf
Length6,925 yards (6,332 m)
Course rating73.2
Slope rating131[3]
Cliffs Course
Designed byJay Morrish
Tom Weiskopf
Length1,800 yards (1,646 m)

The Olympic Club is an athletic club and private social club in San Francisco, California. Its main "City Clubhouse" is located in downtown San Francisco, and its three golf courses are in the southwestern corner of the city, at the border with Daly City. The "Lakeside Clubhouse" is located just north of the Daly City border; the two clubhouses are separated by about 10 miles (16 km).

The three golf courses are named Lake, Ocean, and Cliffs. Lake and Ocean are 18-hole par-71 courses, and the Cliffs is a nine-hole par-3 course in the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. All three venues are lined with many trees (almost 40,000 on the Lake course) and offer views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. The United States Golf Association recognizes the Olympic Club as one of the first 100 golf clubs established in the United States.


First named the "San Francisco Olympic Club",[4] it is the oldest athletic club in the United States. Established on May 6, 1860, its first officers were President, G.W. Bell, Secretary, E. Bonnell, Treasurer, H.G. Hanks, and Leader, Arthur Nahl.[4]

James J. Corbett, the heavyweight boxing champion from 1892 to 1897, joined the club in 1884. He later went on to coach boxing at the club for many years. On January 2, 1893 the club opened its first permanent clubhouse on Post Street. That building did not survive the San Francisco earthquake.

Golf club

In 1918, the club took over the Lakeside Golf Club, which had just opened in 1917 but was struggling financially. Lakeside had one 18-hole golf course designed by Wilfrid Reid, but following additional land purchases the club decided to replace it with two courses. These were designed by Willie Watson, a well-known Scottish architect, and the Lake and Ocean courses opened in 1924. The Ocean course was shortly thereafter damaged by landslides, and Sam Whiting (who had constructed the two courses, and would remain as superintendent until 1954) remodeled and rebuilt both courses in 1927. In 1953, the Lake course was modified by Robert Trent Jones in preparation for the 1955 U.S. Open. The Ocean course was altered several times over the years, and following heavy storm damage in 1996 was completely redesigned by Tom Weiskopf and reopened in 2000.[5]

The Cliffs Course opened in 1994 with Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf as the course architects.

The Olympic Club hosted the 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur (won by Sihwan Kim) and the U.S. Amateur in 1958 (won by Charles Coe) and 1981 (won by Nathaniel Crosby, son of Bing Crosby). The Lake and Ocean Courses were used for the 2007 U.S. Amateur, which was won by Colt Knost of Dallas, Texas, who earned a 2-and-1 victory over Michael Thompson of Tucson, Arizona.


In 1909, Olympian and club member Ralph Rose set a world record shot put throw of 51 feet.

In 1915, the club's amateur basketball team won the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Basketball Championship. In 1934, club member Fred Apostoli won the National Amateur Middleweight boxing title. In 1937, the Olympic Club track and field team won the Track and Field National Championships. In 1941, club member Hank Luisetti helped lead the Olympic Club basketball team to win the AAU Basketball Championships again. In 1950, Olympic Club member Arthur Larsen won the U.S. Open of tennis in Forest Hills, New York. The Olympic Club water polo team won the 1959 Water Polo National Championship.

Cycling is one of the sports with the longest tradition at the Olympic Club. From 1893 to 1903, the Olympic Club Cycling Team was one of the club's premier teams. Although the sanctioned cycling team disbanded in 1903, many Olympians participated in cycling on an individual basis. The most illustrious of these was Ernest Ohrt. Ohrt capped his cycling career by being named coach of the United States Olympic Games cycling team in 1924.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, a revived Olympic Club cycling team supported several cyclists who went on to become professional road cyclists. Former Olympic Club cyclists who later turned professional include Skyler Bishop, Nick Kelez, James Hibbard, Jackson Stewart, Mike Tillman and Zach Walker.

In addition to being a springboard for aspiring professional cyclists, the modern cycling team also boasts some of the finest masters-age cyclists in the nation, including Brian McGuire, Hal Johnson, Cynthia Mommsen and Lisa Hunt.

Club member Maureen O'Toole won a silver medal in water polo at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

Two Olympic Club members have won the Dipsea Race: Norman Bright in 1970 and Shirley Matson in 1993.

In 1992, the Club set up the Winged "O" Foundation, which changed its name to The Olympic Club Foundation in 2002. Its purpose is to fund youth sports programs which primarily target less advantaged youth who live in the Bay Area.

Winged-O football and rugby

The Olympic Club fielded a football team that played Bay Area colleges such as Stanford, Cal, St. Mary's, and Santa Clara.[6] The team was formed in 1890.[7] That year, the Olympic Club was accused by a rival club of enticing athletes to jump to its ranks with offers of jobs. An investigation by the Amateur Athletic Union ruled that the Olympics' practice was not actually professionalism but only a "semi" form of it, thus inventing the term "semi-pro". Although the Amateur Athletic Union didn't like the idea very much, it decided that clubs could indeed offer employment without losing their amateur status or compromising the athlete.[8] From 1891 through 1934, Olympic club had a 12-30-8 record against Stanford[9] and a 6-49-5 record against Cal.[10]

In 1913, the Olympic Club's rugby union team played the touring the All Blacks of New Zealand, then as now one of the world's top teams in that sport. Olympic Club members later provided the core of the US national teams that won gold medals in rugby at the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympics, the last occasion the sport was part of the Olympic program.

In 1926, Percy Locey played football at the Olympic Club. He was a member of the Olympic's "Winged-O" football eleven that handed the University of California's "Wonder Team" their first loss in five seasons.[11] In 1928, Locey took over as the head football coach at the Olympic Club.[11] In his first year with the Olympic Club, his team posted an undefeated season, with wins over future Pac-12 schools Stanford and 1929 Rose Bowl bound California. After the success of that season, Locey was promoted to head coach of all sports at the athletic club. He was named the coach of the West team in the annual East-West Shrine game in 1929, though his team was defeated that year, 19-7.

The courses

General course information

Bent grass covers the greens. The fairways are a rye and poa annua grass combination. The roughs also have a bit of bluegrass mixed in.

Setup for the 2007 U.S. Amateur Championship:

  • The Lake Course played at 6,948 yards and par 35-35=70. The Ocean Course, which was used for the first two days of stroke play only, played at 6,786 yards and par 35-35=70.
  • The Lake Course was set for green speeds of approximately 11 feet, 6 inches on the Stimpmeter. The primary rough was grown to 4 inches, with a strip of intermediate rough cut to 1½ inches in height.
  • The Lake Course carried a USGA Course Rating of 74.8 and a USGA Slope Rating of 143. The Ocean Course carried a USGA Course Rating of 74.0 and a USGA Slope Rating of 136.

The Lake Course

File:Olympic Club 18th hole lakeside.jpg

18th hole at the Lake Course

The Lake Course has been recognized by Golf Magazine in its list of the Top 100 Courses in the U.S. It has also been recognized in Golf Week's category of "America's 100 Best Classical Courses." In Golf Digest's list of the U.S. 100 Greatest Courses for 2007–2008, the Lake Course was ranked 23. It is almost entirely within the borders of San Francisco.

The yardage of the Lake Course is 7,060 yards from the new championship tees, with a course rating of 75.7 and a slope rating of 143. From the next set of tees forward, the course measures 6,529 yards, and has a course rating of 72.3 and a slope rating of 132. From the next set of tees forward, the course measures 6,235 yards, and has a course rating of 70.9 and a slope rating of 129. From the front tees, the course measures 5,593 yards, and has a course rating of 68.6 and a slope rating of 122.

The Lake Course has been lengthened in recent years to prepare for the 2007 U.S. Amateur and 2012 U.S. Open by architect Bill Love. Included in the on-going improvements by Bill Love are new tees that have added significant length to the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th, 12th, 13th and 16th holes. In addition, drastic changes were made to the par-4 seventh and par-3 eighth holes as part of the greens replacement project. A new two-tiered green at the seventh replaces the old three-level green constructed in the 1970s. This green is located approximately 20 yards behind the old one. The most dramatic alterations were made at the par-3 8th. Previously just a short uphill pitch, a completely new hole has been built with a teeing area well back and to the right of the original, changing the angle of approach and pushing the length of the hole back to 200 yards. A new green has also been built at the par-3 15th. The controversial 18th green has also been changed further to reintroduce, in a more playable manner, the slope that was previously removed while at the same time creating more diversity in pin placements for the finishing hole. The new 7th and 8th holes opened for play in May, 2009.

The Ocean Course

The Ocean Course has seen many changes over its history. Winter El Nino storms in 1983, and 1997 caused significant damage, and required major changes to the course and layout. During the mid 1990s, the club built 4 holes west of Skyline Blvd. along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Holes of par 4, par 3, par 5, and par 4 had dramatic views. These holes were lost due to erosion in 1997. The current course was finished in 2000.

The regular yardage for the Ocean Course is 6,925 yards from the championship tees with a course rating of 73.6 and a slope rating of 136. From the next set of tees forward, the course measures 6,496 yards and has a course rating of 71.1 and a slope rating of 129. From the next set of tees forward, the course measures 5,898 yards with a course rating of 68.8 and a slope rating of 121. From the front tees, the course measures 5,386 yards with a course rating of 66.5 and a slope rating of 115.

In preparation for the 2007 U.S. Amateur, the 14th hole was changed, to allow the 15th hole to be lengthened. The course is almost entirely within the borders of Daly City.

The Cliffs Course

The 9-hole, par 3 Cliffs Course is the windiest because it is set on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean. Though it is short, it is very challenging. Designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, it is the most scenic of all three courses. It measures 1,800 yards.

U.S. Opens

The Olympic Club has hosted five U.S. Golf Opens, in 1955, 1966, 1987, 1998 and 2012.

The Olympic Club has the reputation as a heartbreaker, having destroyed 54-hole leaders each time the Open has been played there.

Jack Fleck won in 1955, defeating Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff after the two were tied at the end of 72 holes on 287. Billy Casper defeated Arnold Palmer in a playoff to win in 1966 and In 1987 Scott Simpson won by one shot from Tom Watson.

Lee Janzen won at Olympic in 1998 with a score of 280 (even par, as the course played a par 70 for the U.S. Open). Players complained about the pin position at the 18th hole in the second round. The pin was set at the top of a ridge, and, many balls rolled on way past the cup. Kirk Triplett incurred a two-stroke penalty when he used his putter to stop the ball from rolling. Payne Stewart, the runner-up to Janzen, complained as he three-putted the hole. The green was flattened around 2000 as a result, but was given more slope in the recent renovation to the course.

The 2012 U.S Open was won by Webb Simpson when he scored 4 birdies in the last 13 holes.

Major tournaments hosted

Year Tournament Winner Winner's
share ($)
1955 U.S. Open United States Jack Fleck 6,000
1958 U.S. Amateur United States Charles Coe 0
1966 U.S. Open United States Billy Casper 26,500
1981 U.S. Amateur United States Nathaniel Crosby 0
1987 U.S. Open United States Scott Simpson 150,000
1998 U.S. Open United States Lee Janzen 535,000
2007 U.S. Amateur United States Colt Knost 0
2012 U.S. Open United States Webb Simpson 1,440,000
  • Bolded years indicate professional major championships.
  • Bolded-italics years were determined by an 18-hole playoff.

See also

  • List of American gentlemen's clubs


  1. "U.S. Open course 2012". USGA. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  2. "Course Rating and Slope Database: Olympic Club - Lakeside". USGA. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  3. "Course Rating and Slope Database: Olympic Club - Ocean". USGA. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Janssen, Frederick William (1888). A history of American amateur athletics and aquatics: with the records (Digitized March 9, 2010 ed.). Outing Company. pp. 131–2.
  5. "History of Olympic Club Golf".
  6. Olympic Club at a glance, 2004
  7. PFRA Research (1987). "When Did they Start?". Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 9: 1–5.
  8. PFRA Research. "Five Hundred Reasons". Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association): 1–6.
  9. Stanford Football Media guide (PDF copy available at
  10. California Golden Bears Football Media guide (PDF copy available at
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Carry Me Back". Retrieved December 19, 2007.

External links

Coordinates: 37°42′32″N 122°29′42″W / 37.709°N 122.495°W / 37.709; -122.495

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Olympic Club.
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