Olympic (Lake)

The Olympic Lake course
William Watson and Sam Whiting, 1924

It’s always a delight to find a course that rewards the lost art of shaping shots. The 4th hole, for instance, features a reverse-camber fairway: the hole swings right to left but the fairway tilts left to right, mandating a draw from the tee. The next hole, a dogleg right, calls for a fade. Recent clearing has helped to highlight the stunning nature of the cypress trees that line this hillside overlooking Lake Merced. Its famous 5-5-short 4 closing stretch produced another climactic finish at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open. Kudos to William Watson, who might well be the least appreciated important architect from the Golden Age. (Photo: Patrick Koenig)