LOS ANGELES, Feburary 20, 2013 — The city of Los Angeles owns and operates the largest collection of municipal golf courses in the United States.
On the wall of his office, a Japanese executive of a major trading company has a large map of the metropolitan Los Angeles area dotted with little red tacks. A visitor noticed the markers and casually asked if they indicated the location of his suppliers or key customers.
The businessman smiled, “No, they are my favorite golf courses.” Since he’s an avid golfer, who entertains guests from Asia, his use of the map as an office decoration isn’t too surprising.
What impresses his visitors most is the sheer number of golf courses located right in the city of Los Angeles and in communities of the surrounding Los Angeles County.
For visitors, particularly from Asia accustomed to traveling hours in order to play and then paying high fees, the benefits of L.A.’s municipal courses are hard to believe.
When it comes to a favorite public L.A. course, Brian Keith, a financial consultant, picks Rancho Park. In his work he comes in contact with visitors to L.A. From Asia and from Europe and without exception, the golfers among them are highly impressed. “They are so surprised at how expansive the park is, how well-maintained the course is and how efficient the staff is in keeping players moving along.”
James Ward, golf manager for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Park, reports that 900,000 rounds were played on the city’s courses last year. Most popular of these was the Rancho Park course that saw more than 100,000 rounds played last year.
“A golfer coming to the L.A. area needs only to pack his or her shoes and gloves,” says Noel Lucky. “Clubs are available at every club; they have all the resources anyone needs.” Lucky is president of her own company involved with golf marketing and, for the record, has a 4.7 index.
The County of Los Angeles offers golfers 19 courses scattered around the sprawling area at 17 locations. Of these 13 are 18-hole regulation course and one with 27 holes, a regulation 18-hole course and another regulation 9-hole course. In addition there are three 9-hole courses plus several 9 and 18 hole par threes.
For its part, Los Angeles City offers visitors a choice of seven 18-hole courses, three 9-hole courses with the remainder par 3 or special courses.
Rates charged at both the L.A. City and County courses vary by time of time and day of the week but are uniformly modest. On city courses, the range of fees for non-resident golfers goes from $22 for 18 holes to $48 on the weekends or holidays.
Play on a 9-hole course ranges from $8.50 to $22. Visitors can book tee times eight days in advance on the Internet.
Fees on the county courses are also quite low. Play on a regulation 18-hole county course on weekdays is only $26 and $35 on weekends.
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