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The Wise Man of Rancho Park

For Almost 30 Years, John Edmond Jr. Has Inspired His Students With His Mastery of Golf and Life. Now, as Part of a Management Change, His Teaching Days May Be Numbered.

December 14, 2003|Edward J. Boyer | Edward J. Boyer is a former Times staff writer.

Edmond is famous for his phone calls, the ones to the student's home, during which he pronounces how proud he is of a student's progress, how he "got goose bumps" watching them hit.

So until the range closes, Edmond will keep teaching 12 to 15 hours a week--Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. He has no desire to disturb the rhythms of what he describes as his "blessed life" and no desire to leave Rancho Park. His students see no reason why he should.

"John doesn't have a PGA card; big deal," says Latimer. If Edmond is not allowed to stay at Rancho, she says, "that would be very disastrous. This is the most unfair thing. There is no one else there I want to hook up with."

Sandy Pressman, who plays at Hillcrest Country Club just east of Rancho Park, sees the threat to Edmond's job as a reflection of how "we tend to not cherish those who have given so much of their time and energy to improving whatever they're working on. To say he has to have a PGA card typifies this throwaway society. No one has taken as much time with me. Even when he was busy with someone else, he would stop to give me tips."

When Edmond is not working, he is still promoting Rancho Park, promoting the game, says Singer. She fails to see the logic in his being forced to leave, especially in light of how many people--including country club members--he attracts to the city course. "He's more than golf," she says. "He makes golf part of your life because he's part of your life.

"I don't know what they could be looking for in a teacher, but they won't find a better teacher than John."

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