July 29th, 2019 (Los Angeles, California)
After eight months of work, the nine-hole Roosevelt Course operated by the City of Los Angeles has re-opened for public play. The City of Los Angeles Golf Division, operators of 12 courses in central Los Angeles, undertook extensive irrigation work along with feature and landscape restoration.
“Many people have learned to play golf at Roosevelt,” notes Forrest Richardson. “Bringing the course back into shape as it once was became a labor of love for those of us involved.” Richardson, who grew up in nearby Burbank, California, worked with Heritage Links on the assignment to restore bunkers, green sizes and tees. As part of the work new forward tees were added so the course can accommodate beginning players.
John Ward, a landscape architect for Los Angeles, is credited with the design of the most recent version of Roosevelt that was completed in 1964. At the time, Ward is thought to have solicited help from William F. Bell to route the new course, a replacement for William P. Bell’s 1937 nine-hole layout on land where the Los Angeles Zoo is now located.
“Whether the younger Bell had anything to do with Roosevelt remains a mystery,” says Richardson. “What we do know is that the course winds around the famous hillsides below the Griffith Park Observatory, and it does as a result of a great routing. The course doesn’t make you feel as if you’ve hiked the alps, yet you become totally lost in the hills. It’s actually a great walk.”
Part of Richardson’s work was to open views to the City by working with the City’s Forestry Department. “Original photos show trees, but probably half as many and we inherited,” he adds. As part of the project, the City now only removed dead and dying specimens, but added back many trees at the edges of the course to screen roadways and trails that serve Griffith Park.