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DOWNEY - The 6156-yd. county-owned Los Amigos Golf Course located at 7295 Quill Drive has always been the easier, cheaper alternative to playing golf in Downey compared to the relatively longer (6360 yards), pricier city-owned Rio Hondo Golf Club just a couple of miles up north along Old River School Road. But to the avid golf enthusiast, a nice, reachable, playable par-3 is good and welcome anywhere.
Los Amigos has such a hole. If my memory serves me, it's the 12th hole, and it's only 120 yards. But it's guarded by a yawning trap. Almost always, they put the flagstick close to the edge of the trap. Almost always, golfers are tempted to play a perfect pitch shot (since it requires finessing only a pitching wedge or at most a 9-iron). And almost always, the shot ends up in the trap.
I mentioned this to club staff when I recently revisited Los Amigos for this assignment, and she said the hole remains the most talked about.
I've also learned that, after a long period of at best indifferent management, a new management team has taken over course operations. This has provided excitement and new energy to the place, and been particularly welcomed by the Los Amigos Men's Club.
The Los Amigos Men's Club has had a long history, almost paralleling that of the golf course itself (which opened in 1966). Before the economic slowdown, its membership peaked at around 280 members. Today it's down to 111, the majority ages 55 and over.
("The composition is immaterial," says membership chair Bob Petzel. "The idea is for everybody to have fun.")
The club holds a local tournament every month as well as a travel ("away") tournament ten times a year. It also conducts a senior tournament--for those 55 years old and over ("Non-seniors are welcome")-on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. In addition, it holds a tournament just prior to the club meetings held at 6 p.m. in the club room every third Thursday of the month.
Thus the club has maintained its level of activity fairly well over the years. And with the changes the new management is making to the course, Petzel is confident its new look will attract residents (as well as out-of-towners) who have for the most part stayed away.
Among the significant changes: one or two greens are being repatched, at least one is being rebuilt, trimming and cutting down trees that have encroached on greens continue, and otherwise there are serious efforts at making the course "more open." The purchase of new golf carts means the installation of cart paths, while the lakes "are looking much-improved, etc.
Both Rick Ricketts, who is the club vice-president and who has been perennial tournament director, and Petzel agree that their input and suggestions have played a part toward these improvements resulting from their continuing meetings with county officials.
Bob Petzel (membership and handicap) can be reached at (562) 923-3490.
Published: December 6, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 34