Resident Feature

Tee it Up

in the Berkeley Hills

What could $173,000 get you in Berkeley, California in 1936? It could get you land, a lot of land! That is how much the East Bay Regional Park District purchased the 2,079 acre park for, now called Tilden Regional Park. Tilden Park is located in Contra Costa County between the Berkeley Hills and the San Pablo Ridge. This vast land was named in honor of Charles Lee Tilden, a Bay Area attorney and businessman who served on the first Board of Directors of the East Bay Regional Park District. However, the lands one walks upon in Tilden Park were the ancestral lands of the Ohlone Indians. There are hundreds of years of tribal history below those fairways you will hope to land in the middle of with your drive! The Ohlone Indians were pushed from their lands in the 1800’s by the Spanish Explorers and Mexican Rancheros for the use of ranching. By 1910, Frank C. Havens’ Eucalyptus, Mahogany, & Land Company had planted all of the Eucalyptus in the Wild Cat Canyon, as it is known, for lumber. The land purchase came with rich historical roots and later, important uses for the nation’s security in 1942 at the onset of WWII. 

The drive up Fish Ranch Road and Grizzly Peak Boulevard is steep and windy, but the views of the San Francisco Bay are breathtaking! If you have been to UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science on a fieldtrip in elementary school, you have driven up Grizzly Peak Boulevard. 

Entering Tilden Park Golf Course, located 1.8 miles up Grizzly Peak Blvd., gives you a sense of calm. The hills, valleys, and ridges are lined with old growth Eucalyptus and Redwood Trees. There is no sign of college life from UC Berkeley (except a few Cal golf head covers) or of one of the most famous cities in the world, San Francisco, just 17 miles away. The peacefulness of the hills, sounds of wildlife, and being 1,800 feet above sea level creates a feeling of being far away from home. 

After the purchase of the land from the East Bay Municipal Utility District, the 6,294-yard championship golf course was designed by architect William Park Bell Jr. The course opened on November 11, 1937. The first hole on the course is right next to the putting green and golf cart pick up. This allows for many spectators, which is normal, until you hear that the first hole is one “supposed to be, statistically, one of the hardest holes to play.” Every hole is full of natural beauty. Tree lined fairways, views, fresh and blue skies add to the great experience that the Tilden Golf Course has to offer. There is no lack of slope – front to back, back to front, right to left, left to right, almost at no time will you be on flat ground. There may be critters on the brush and tree lined fairways, but it is the Poison Oak that will keep you from looking for your ball that went a bit too far! 

The course boasts an impressive driving range on the back side of the Pro Shop, which drops 20 feet then, up a hillside. The Grizzly Grill overlooks the 10th and 18th hole. At the top of hole 10 you get dramatic view of the elevation drop from the tee box while you pick up your delicious burger & fries or Polish dog from the Grizzly Snack Shack. 

The Tilden Park Golf Course is a local treasure with much to uncover! 

 


By Lynne Harrosh, Resident since 2008 

Lynne Harrosh is an avid golfer and traveler. Follow her on Facebook & Instagram @TeeItUpTravel to get connected to the best places to golf, golf technology, golf equipment, discounts on green fees, stay & plays, and golf travel – lynneharrosh@me.com