For the first time in ten years, a professional golf tournament is coming to Hancock Park’s historic Wilshire Country Club. The top players of the Ladies Professional Golf Association will be teeing off this Thursday through Sunday on the club’s nearly 100 year old course. The final field for the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open will include 91 of the top 100 players on the LPGA’s 2017 money list, according to tournament organizers.
The course was laid out in 1919 by Norman Macbeth as a links golf course with a natural stream running throughout, giving the course its unmistakable character and challenge. It was once the golfing home of Howard Hughes, Harold Lloyd and other Hollywood luminaries of the past, according to a charming article featuring Wilshire Country Club historian Doug Dickey in the Hollywood Reporter.
“This is one of the most fan-friendly courses,” said JS Kang, Executive Vice-President and Tournament Director, HUGEL-JTBC LA Open @Wilshire Country Club. “Wilshire is laid out so you can walk the whole course; it’s a small property and a very old-school course that makes it extremely walkable.”
Kang and his team have been working on logistics to minimize the traffic problems that could adversely affect neighbors, despite having no idea how many patrons to expect. All the parking lots are away from the club, some as far as the Hollywood Bowl, some as close as the Wilshire Ebell, but not every lot is being used each of the four days of the tournament.
“We have a matrix of parking lots that we are using around the city and shuttling patrons to the course,” Kang told the Buzz on Monday. “But, honestly, we have no clue how many fans to expect. So many members live in the neighborhood, the tournament has a really community feeling. We hope people who live in the neighborhood will come over and spend the day with us. Tickets for a grounds pass are $20 a day or $50 for the whole four days. Children under 18 are free too.”
At this point, the plan is to load and off-load most shuttles inside the club’s main entrance off Rossmore and primarily use major thoroughfares like Rossmore, Melrose, Beverly and Highland, and avoid neighborhood streets like Wilcox, Lillian Way and Cahuenga to discourage pass-through traffic in the neighborhood, according to an email Kang sent to the Hancock Park Homeowners Association Est. 1948. The tournament has also hired a private security company called EES, which has been used by many professional golf tournaments both in SoCal and around the country to help keep order.
Gates open on Wednesday for an invitational Pro Am tournament, which helps cover costs of the tournament. The actual tournament begins Thursday continuing through Sunday. Tickets are available online at www.hugeljtbclaopen.com
“If there is any issue for a neighbor who is located close to the WCC, we are happy to find a way to help them,” said Kang, adding the best way to reach them is to call the tournament’s general number at 323-315-0820; there will be someone in the office at all times.