By Francis Taylor, Executive Editor
On Sunday, June 11th, the U.S. Open Community Legacy Campaign, a collaborative project between the United States Golf Association, the Southern California Golf Association, the Los Angeles Country Club, as well as the County of Los Angeles, was launched at the Los Angeles County’s Maggie Hathaway Golf Course.
A bevy of executives from the golfing world were on-hand to commemorate the legacy project including Mike Whan, United States Golf Association (USGA) Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Gigax, Southern California Golf Association (SCGA Junior Golf Foundation Executive Director,
Glen Porter, CEO Southern Area Youth Programs, Inc Southern Area Youth Programs, Inc. (SAYPI) and Western States Golf Association (WSGA) Southern Area Vice President, Aaron Grimes, professional golfer and former SAYPI & SCGA Junior participant, to name a few.
Gene Sykes, President of the Los Angeles Country Club, where the 2023 U.S; Open Golf Tournament will be held, was also present. He shared that not only will Los Angeles be remembered for this year’s U.S. Open, but it will also forever be known for the restoration of the Maggie Hathaway Golf Course and the programs for young golfers that will create the professional and recreational golfers of the future. This will create a legacy for the LACC.
Senator Steve Bradford, who learned to play golf at the Maggie Hathaway Golf Course at the age of 11 noted, viewed the diverse group of young golfers who were present, noting that his generation did not have the benefit of a similar youth golf program. He also acknowledged the early efforts of Maggie Hathaway who did more to integrate golf in Los Angeles County than anyone.
Second District Supervisor Holly Mitchell was recognized for supporting the legacy project and explained the direct impact it will have on the lives of young people who have historically had inequitable access to the sport of golf.
Acknowledgement was also extended to Fred Terrell, a successful businessman, philanthropist, golfer, and Los Angeles native, based currently on the East Coast who is spearheading the $15 million fundraising for the legacy project and was the impetus for getting it underway. It was said that over $7 million has already been garnered.
Norma Garcia Gonzalez, Director of the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, noted that the 20 public golf courses represent more municipal courses than any city in the United States. She thanked all of those involved in this project and for the golfers who support the public courses, indicating that their financial support contributes to the other free, Los Angeles County youth athletic programs.
Youth golfers (photo by Francis Taylor)
Gigax, said that the project will restore the golf course, expand the practice area, and develop a legacy learning center for young golfers. He thanked the LACC for their vision. Mike Whan said that the sport of golf has flourished in the last several years due, for the most part, because juniors, girls and people of color have embraced the sport. He said that more Maggie Hathaway Golf Courses are needed to encourage young people to play.
The USGA, LACC, Philanthropist Steve Balmer and the Kroenke Family Foundation have all provided $1 million lead donations for the project as part of a broad commitment to directly impact the region that is hosting the national championship. The funds will drive greater access and opportunity for underrepresented youth in the community and to break down barriers to participate at the grassroots level.