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Golf : Record Numbers Hit 13 L.A. Municipal Courses

February 16, 1986

A total of 1,172,671 rounds of golf were played on Los Angeles' 13 municipal courses in 1985, according to the City Recreation and Parks Department. It was the highest number in the history of city courses.

The previous high, 1,127,559 rounds, was established in 1974. The 1985 total also represented a 6.5% increase over the 1984 figure. It was also the fifth consecutive year that play exceeded a million rounds.

Sheldon Jensen, assistant general manager for the Recreation and Parks Department, who oversees golf course operations, cited several reasons for the record play. "First and foremost, the weather, which is always a factor, was very favorable," he said. "We had a comparatively mild winter in 1985, and the summer was not as hot and humid as the previous year.

"With the humidity at minimum levels, damage to our greens was minimal. Another factor in the increased play was that none of our courses was closed because of major construction projects, such as adding new irrigation systems," Jensen said.

Griffith Park courses were closed 14 days in 1985 because of rain, wet grounds, frozen greens or high winds, according to course manager Wyn Murphy. In 1983, the courses lost 32 days to bad weather.

Rancho Park, the nation's busiest 18-hole public course, played to 134,363 rounds, a 6.7% increase over 1984. The biggest increase in the system was at Rancho Park's nine-hole course, which played to 58,855 rounds, a 15% increase.

In the metropolitan region, Encino was the only course to show a decrease in play. Rounds there fell to 113,175 from 116,262 in 1984.

The Recreation and Parks Department operates four courses in Griffith Park, three at Sepulveda Dam, two at Rancho Park and courses at Hansen Dam, Harbor Park, Penmar and the par-3 at Holmby Park.

Golf Notes

The Women's Southern California Golf Assn. will hold its 61st Annual Mid-Winter Invitational at the Los Angeles Country Club March 3-7. The match play tournament will follow an 18-hole stroke play qualifying round March 3. The low 16 qualifiers will make up the championship flight. Anne Sander of Pauma Valley Country Club was the 1985 champion. . . . Friendly Hills Country Club will hold its annual Day With the Pros on Monday, featuring Doug Tewell, Bill Kratzert and Bob Tway, the winner of last weekend's San Diego tournament. The event will benefit the Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital Foundation, Whittier Boys and Girls Club and the Intercommunity Child Guidance Center. The day at Friendly Hills will begin with a clinic at 8:45 a.m. and continue through the awards dinner.

For the third straight year, the Uniden LPGA Invitational at Costa Mesa will include top players from the Japanese LPGA. It will be played Feb. 27-March 2 at Mesa Verde Country Club. Ayako Okamoto, the best known player on the Japanese tour, is expected to compete. Also competing will be Atsuko Hikage, Hisako Higuchi, Ritsu Imahori, Nayoko Yoshikawa, Miki Oda and Midori Wakaura of Japan and Ok-Hee Ku of South Korea. . . . The 12th annual Bing Crosby Southern Pro-Am has survived the change of title at Pebble Beach and will conclude at Newport Beach Country Club today. The event was set up in 1975 as a satellite tournament for pros who did not make the cut at Crosby's famed National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, and it benefits Hoag Memorial Presbyterian Hospital.

All of the 1985 top 10 money-winners on the Senior PGA tour have committed to play in the Johnny Mathis Seniors tournament at MountainGate Country Club March 24-30. Peter Thomson, the defending champion, was also the 1985 money leader with $386,724. Also in the top 10 were Lee Elder, Don January, Miller Barber, Gene Littler, Harold Henning, Gay Brewer, Bill Casper, Jim Ferree and Dan Sikes. Rookies, so-called, on the seniors tour who will play include Chi Chi Rodriguez and John Brodie. . . . The GNA/Glendale Federal tournament at Oakmont Country Club March 10-16 continues to put together an impressive field. Patty Sheehan, winner of last week's Sarasota tournament, has entered as have Val Skinner, winner of the opening event of the LPGA tour at Boca Raton, Fla., and Muffin Spencer-Devlin, who finished second at Miami. Jan Stephenson will defend her title. . . . The Todd Hart Foundation will hold its third annual Athletes Helping Athletes tournament, dinner-dance and auction at El Niguel Country Club at Laguna Nigel on Feb. 24. The foundation was formed more than three years ago when Todd Hart, a Cal State Long Beach football player, was injured and paralyzed in a game against UCLA. Some 22 professional athletes and sports celebrities will play in the tournament. The leading recipients of this year's events will be Becky McCafferty, a swimmer at UCLA, and Christi Lawrence, a Cal State Northridge swimmer, both of whom have suffered costly injuries.

The Los Angeles Open, which will begin with the celebrity pro-am Wednesday at Riviera Country Club, will be the 60th edition of the tournament. That makes this the diamond anniversary. . . . The U.S. National Senior Open Golf Assn. has elected Ray Joseph of Bakersfield its president. Howard Smith, former president of the Southern California PGA and professional at Diamond Bar and Green River golf courses, is treasurer, and Max Bayha, Southland professional, is the secretary. . . . Rancho Park Golf Club has elected new officers: Harold Kramer, president; Harold Cohen, vice president; Marvin Liker, secretary; Sol Rubenstein, treasurer. New board members are Barry Roth, Marvin Lubick and Harry Grobstein. . . . After the San Diego stop on the PGA Tour, Hal Sutton is back on top of the list of money leaders with $141,960.

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