As we close the book on 2013, we look back at another busy and successful year for the City of Long Beach Municipal Golf Operation.
The new Long Beach Golf Advisory Committee hit its full stride in 2013 holding four meetings where numerous topics were discussed. Among the key items discussed or proposed were:
- Portability of range machine keys thus allowing use at both City of Long Beach and Los Angeles County American Golf facilities.
- Discussion of a new Spectator Policy that allows parents of young golfers to be with them on the course without paying excessive fees.
- Updates to the City of Long Beach Golf Operations Manual
- Recommendation of Capital Improvement projects for all of the City's golf courses for 2013 and 2014.
- Appointment of an Ad Hoc Committee to look into ways to improve access and programs for beginning youth and growth of the game that would augment the current offerings of the Long Beach Junior Golf Association.
The Long Beach Golf Festival completed a successful 25th year, with over 1,500 golfers playing over 3,300 competitive rounds in the eight competitive tournaments that are designed to reach every sector of golfing public (men, women, youth, seniors and professionals). Wells Fargo Advisors stepped up for a second year as the presenting Sponsor of the Long Beach Open Pro Am, and Barry Henson won in the Long Beach Open in convincing fashion, then donated $1,500 of his winners check to local charities supported by the Festival.
Over $500,000 was spent on Capital Improvements to the City's courses in 2013. The major project was a renovation of the greenside bunkers on 14 of the holes at Recreation Park 18 GC and the enlargement of two of the course's greens. Over time, the greens at Big Rec have shrunk and for several years there has been discussion about ways to return them to their original or a larger size. Gary Wishon who grew up at Rec and was the PGA Professional at several southern California golf courses before going into course architecture and then returning to "The Park" as the Head Pro, was consulted on what could be done to restore the greens, and it was eventually decided that the best plan would be to rework all of the greenside bunkers in conjunction with a long term plan to enlarge most of the greens. In order to use Poa Annua turf only from Rec Park for the expansion of the greens, it was decided to rework each bunker in anticipation of proposed green sizes and shapes, with the enlargement of the remainder of the greens occurring over time. This will allow the ability to use only Poa Annua grass cultivated at Rec Park (as opposed to shipping in turf from other sites). The 4th green at Rec was enlarged by over 1,000 square feet or a nearly 25% enlargement, and slight reshaping and enlargement of the left side of the 8th green was also completed. This project also included the elimination of two fairway bunkers, the addition of one fairway bunker and the rework of 22 greenside bunkers. At El Dorado, a total renovation of the restaurant was completed and two tee boxes and three bunkers were rebuilt or repositioned. At Heartwell, new cart paths were added to the tees and greens on 6 holes and the parking lots at Skylinks and Little Rec received new slurry coats. There were also multiple smaller repairs and fixes that are not readily visible, but keep the Long Beach courses among the best in southern California.