New push to restore Presidio Hills Golf Course

Posted at 8:13 PM, Apr 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-24 23:13:48-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)- A new effort is underway to revive a San Diego public golf course that's falling apart.  The "Friends of Presidio Hills Golf" went before the city council Tuesday urging them to take up the issue.  Their plan is to restore the course to its former glory days.

Presidio Hills in Old Town is a local golf course with a storied past and an uncertain future.

"It needs to be completely redone," said John Vallas, who spearheaded the proposal.

The place many once called the "cradle of golf" in San Diego is now a long shot from being up to par.
These days, the parking lot is filled with more tourists than golfers. 

"People mention it looks like a cow pasture.  It's weeds, it's dirt," Vallas said.  "t's heartbreaking, not just for me, but for the generations of people who grew up learning how to play golf on that course."

"I learned to play golf with al abrego here at presidio in the early 50s.  It was a wonderful, vibrant junior golf program," said Carol Hartson-Jensen of Mission Hills.

She got her first tournament win at presidio and went on to become a California State Junior Golf Champion.  Golf greats like Phil Mickelson practically grew up on the course and Tiger Woods won his first junior championship here.

Amid the sea of disrepair...the Carillo Adobe has become the Pro Shop.  It's the oldest standing residence in San Diego and a registered landmark.

"And right now, it's being used to sell potato chips and bottled water," Vallas said.

"Friends of Presidio Hills Golf launched last year.  Together with the community, they raised $6 million to redevelop the course, but last month, the city threw out the proposal. 

 "I just don't understand why this effort isn't being considered.  It's a good, solid effort with financial backing.  It's not asking the city for anything," said Hartson-Jensen.

She says according the original gift from George Marston in the 1930s, the land can only be used for a golf course.  She wants to give future generations the chance to get on the links and learn the sport she loves so much.

"There needs to be a small course that's affordable for families to come out and play," she said.

And with few pitch and putt courses left....  

"This is really a treasure." 

The current operation Justine Lee says he has a development plan and is waiting for the city to make a decision before it can be improved.

The city's Real Estate Assets Division tells 10news all proposals were rejected based upon questions and concerns that were not adequately addressed, but they did did not elaborate.  They plan to re-advertise the Request for Proposals (RFP) in the next two months.