During the 123rd U.S. Open Championship held in Los Angeles this June, the United States Golf Association (USGA) unveiled a visionary plan to make a lasting impact on the local community. This initiative aimed to connect the host city with the USGA’s ongoing commitment to champion and advance the game of golf while promoting a healthier future for the sport.
As part of their collaboration with the community, the USGA announced a significant contribution of $1 million to restore the Maggie Hathaway Golf Course. This nine-hole, par-3 public facility operated by Los Angeles County has been providing thousands in the area with affordable and accessible golf opportunities. By joining forces with the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA), The Los Angeles Country Club (LACC), Los Angeles County, and other organizations and donors, the USGA is undertaking one of the most substantial host community investments in U.S. Open history. Renowned course architect Gil Hanse will lead the restoration project.
The Maggie Hathaway Golf Course, named after the African-American actor, singer, and activist Maggie Hathaway, holds a special place in the hearts of South LA residents. Hathaway, originally from Campti, Louisiana, arrived in Los Angeles in 1931, dreaming of becoming a pianist in a nightclub. While pursuing her artistic endeavors, she also found success as a civil rights activist and made significant contributions to advancing equality in the game of golf.
Hathaway’s passion for golf was sparked after winning a bet against boxing champion Joe Louis. Determined to break down racial barriers, she fought for African-Americans to have equal access to local golf courses that were historically closed to them. Through her writing in the California Eagle, Hathaway showcased professional Black golfers and advocated for their inclusion in the sport. She later became the founding president of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood branch of the NAACP, along with Sammy Davis Jr. and Willis Edwards.
“When you think of golf legends, Arnold Palmer or Tiger Woods may come to mind. But, in South LA, it’s always been about Maggie Hathaway”, said a local resident.
The restoration of the Maggie Hathaway Golf Course holds profound significance. By investing up to $1 million through the U.S. Open Community Legacy Project, the USGA is honoring Hathaway’s legacy and committing to improving public golf, sustainability initiatives, and expanding career opportunities in the game.
USGA CEO Mike Whan emphasized the importance of investing in host communities and leaving a legacy that extends beyond the world of golf. “We are fortunate to have partners like the SCGA and LACC who believe in the transformative power of golf in a community. Together, we will collaborate on initiatives that create more opportunities for people to work, play, experience, and enjoy the game,” Whan stated.
In addition to the Maggie Hathaway Golf Course restoration, the USGA also welcomed 20 college undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds to Los Angeles as part of the USGA Pathways Internship Program. This weeklong immersive experience exposed participants to various career paths within the golf industry. Half of the students hailed from the Los Angeles area, fostering the development of future leaders within the local community. Deloitte, a foundational sponsor, returned to support the internship program after its successful launch at the 2022 U.S. Open. The program included professional development, networking opportunities, and hands-on learning experiences throughout the U.S. Open Championship week at LA Country Club.
The USGA’s million-dollar donation to restore the Maggie Hathaway Golf Course and its commitment to community engagement through the Pathways Internship Program showcases its dedication to inclusivity and progress. By investing in the future of golf and honoring the legacy of Maggie Hathaway, the USGA ensures that her advocacy for equality in the sport continues to resonate for generations to come.