Pico Rivera and GolfLinks- A Journey to Contribute to Our Community
When we assumed control of the course in January, 2012, we inherited an operation that was operating in a deficit. Besides losing money, the entire facility was in bad shape due to lack of maintenance and capital expenditures over the previous decade.
Thanks to the Pico Rivera city council and city management, we were able to secure funding to start the renovation process. For the first three months, we literally transformed the clubhouse and course to one that the entire community could be proud of. After the initial improvements, we continued our process to transform the facility to a championship level. After 2 years, we feel we have succeeded.
Besides the physical change of the course, we embarked on a program to encourage new golfers to our club, as well as inspire our younger community members to learn the game of golf. The youth of our community is our future to the growth of the game of golf. Our involvement with Junior Golfers includes free rounds for any junior resident of Pico Rivera. This program was introduced in the late spring at all the schools in Pico Rivera. GolfLinks, along with the city council and city management, believe that it is our duty to give back to the community and to encourage the growth of golf. We all believe that the game of golf instructs our youth on life, with an emphasis on sportsmanship, honor, integrity, and how to get along with people of all walks of life.
The free golf program was part of our “Golf the Easy Way” lesson program for youth & adults. We are now annually teaching over 300 new golfers, with over 120 being junior golfers. The success was in no small part due to the support of the City of Parks and Recreation Department.
This past summer James Ochs, our Director of Golf, started a junior summer golf team that allowed youth who wanted to have more of competitive fun format “would travel with Pico Rivera golf team to other golf courses. Competing with 6 other junior programs, with this League we had over 125 kids involved.
We are continuing to introduce the game of golf to our community youth as we know that is our future. We are working hand in hand with the SCGA (Southern California Golf Association) Junior program to get more kids involved. We are extremely proud that our course was selected as the pilot course for this program, particularly when you consider that there are over 300 courses in the Southern California Section.
Last spring, SCGA Junior partnered with Friends of Golf and Golflinks to continue to offer an instruction program for juniors ages 5-17, with more than 250 golfers participating in the program. An 8-week session costs as low as $40, and families with financial difficulty are granted a program scholarship. Every junior new to the program receives a golf polo, hat, SCGA membership, free playing opportunities, educational opportunities and college scholarships.
As we enter our second year operating the Pico Rivera Golf Course, we realize what a large contribution the course can give to a community. Besides helping the youth of Pico Rivera, our golf course offers an inexpensive opportunity for all of our residents and guests to play and enjoy the game of golf, particularly seniors. Initially we felt that we should raise our rates to create more profits, we now understand that the prices should remain the same in an effort to contribute to the community.
In summation, GolfLinks and Pico Rivera are poised to become a beacon for the growth of the game of golf, with emphasis on juniors, seniors. We are proud of the progress we have made on the clubhouse and course, showing that a short course can be a championship facility, one that gives back to the community.
Scott Williams and Larry Taylor