Golf Historical Society

August 11, 1923 - Harding Memorial Golf Course
Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Griffith Park has a new 18 hole, all grass municipal golf links.

A week later than planned, due to the sudden death of President Warren G. Harding, the new Municipal Golf Course No. 2 in Griffith Park, was opened today with a heartfelt ceremony thanking the many people who contributed to it's realization. Mrs Trabue, chairwoman of the Municipal Golf Club advisory board, "told of the hopes of a grass course in former years and then how the long-cherished dream finally became a reality".

George C. Thomas Jr., the architect of the links, was presented with a Perpetual Golf Pass by Southern California Golf Association president Ed Tufts for his design work.

An exhibition golf match featuring Los Angeles golf legends Willie Hunter, Norman Macbeth, A.D.S. Johnson, Chick Fraser, Mel Smith, Hutt Martin and Vic Dalberto followed the ceremony. George Thomas hit the first ball, and with partner Hunter, they won their match against Macbeth and Johnson, 1 up.

Constructed by Griffith Park superintendent Carl Worthen and his crew, the 6423 yard all-grass Municipal No. 2 golf course, was laid out on land purchased in 1920 after the death of Griffith Jenkins Griffith, and known then as the Griffith Reservation.

The congested original Municipal Links, which Worthen built to Tom Bendelow's plan, opened in 1914, and by 1920 averaged 247 golfers a day, despite oil/sand greens and mostly dirt fairways.

The old Municipal had many supporters, including Babe Ruth, who eagled the long seventh hole and signed his famous Yankee contract on the course in January 1920. Two of the well known trophies played for in the early days were donated by Charlie and Sydney Chaplin.

A year after Municipal No. 2's delayed opening, on July 4, 1924, the aptly named "Riverside" course, was renamed the Warren G. Harding Memorial Golf Course, in honor of the very popular President.

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