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Golf at Hamilton High? You Bet!

Notebook / Ray Ripton

May 16, 1985|RAY RIPTON

Hamilton High has a golf team? You bet, and it's been a good one since the sport was reconstituted at the school two years ago.

But golf at Hamilton, a school that draws many of its students from poorer areas of the Westside and where football, basketball and track have reigned supreme?

The team got its start when a group of students, mostly from the well-to-do Cheviot Hills area, persuaded Hamilton Principal Josephine Jimenez and district officials to sponsor a golf squad, said Coach Carol Heiser Altshiller, a former UCLA golfer.

Starting out in the Los Angeles Unified School's District's 1-A League, the team won the title its first year with a 10-0 record, playing mostly against inner-city schools.

"There were four guys last year who wanted the team," said Altshiller, who teaches physical education at the Center for Enriched Studies, a magnet school for grades 4 through 12 at Pico Boulevard and Arlington Avenue.

Of the four, two are no longer with the team. Junior Brent Turley defected to baseball and pitched and played third base for the Yankees this season, and Mike Germansky is a freshman at UCLA. The other two are brothers Bobby Meyerson, a junior, and senior Mark Meyerson, the stars of the team this year and last.

Altshiller said Hamilton had not had a golf team for a decade or so. But not having team experience was no deterrent to the Meyersons, whose father Eddie, a member of MountainGate Country Club, plays with his sons there.

The father, who has played professionally, won the Los Angeles City Schools boys championship in 1951.

Bobby Meyerson qualified for the state high school finals last year, and Mark just missed making the top 10 players from Los Angeles who qualified.

Last year Hamilton had the advantage of being in the weakest level of competition, the 1-A League, and of not having to face such perennially strong teams as Palisades and Taft, which play at the 5-A level and are expected to dominate the City championships May 20 and 21 at Encino Golf Course. Last year, Altshiller said, Hamilton defeated one team in its league by 128 strokes.

Success like that brings disadvantages, one of which was that Hamilton, which plays home matches at Rancho Park Golf Course, was moved to the stronger 3-A League. But playing tougher teams, most of them in the San Fernando Valley, wasn't all that difficult for the Yankees. Hamilton again went 10-0, and Bobby Meyerson was named the league's most valuable player by a vote of league coaches.

Altshiller, who went to the NCAA finals with her UCLA team in 1970 and whose brother Jeff played at Stanford with Tom Watson, one of pro golf's best players, said that not only have the Meyerson brothers been a big help to the team but that their father has helped her with many of the chores and problems of keeping a golf team going.

Bobby, who shot an 81 to finish second in the 3-A championship, is the team's No. 1 player, and Mark, who had an 82 in the league finals, is No. 2. Altshiller, still a top amateur, said the top individual in the 3-A finals was Venice High's Abner Nevarez, who posted a 79 and played along with Hamilton this year because his school did not field a team.

Others who played for Hamilton are No. 3 Gregg Bernhard, No. 4 Cary Biren, No. 5 Bobby Engilman and No. 6 Adam Bernhard. Dana Ginsberg, the team's only girl, is the alternate but is required to hit from the championship tees with the boys. She and Bernard are the team's only sophomores.

That names all the Yankee golfers, something that Altshiller said she was unable to do when she wanted to put an item about the team on a Hamilton bulletin board. She said she refrained from posting the note after one of the boys on her team told her, "Don't mention my name because the kids in my class will laugh."

"Right Man at the Right Time," two volumes of oral history on the late J. D. Morgan, long the athletic director and coach at UCLA, has been placed in the UCLA Library. Unlike most oral histories, this is not an interview with Morgan but with 19 of his UCLA colleagues, according to a university spokesman.

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