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Viva E1 Rancho
Alan Shipnuck
October 31, 1994
Since the 1920s, Rancho Park Golf Course has been an oasis in the sprawl of Los Angles
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October 31, 1994

Viva E1 Rancho

Since the 1920s, Rancho Park Golf Course has been an oasis in the sprawl of Los Angles

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Al Hasson, on the other hand, tends to deal with the details in a player's game, tinkering with the grip, the setup and the foundation. The 59-year-old Hasson, who has taught golf on an Indian reservation in North Dakota and in a tiny oil town in Montana, has been at Rancho for the last eight years. Hasson sometimes becomes frustrated with his laid-back charges. "I don't know what it is with this town," he says. "People act like they're at the hairdresser or something." But he adds, "Teaching coif is all I know, and this is a pretty special place to do it."

That Rancho Park is a special place was reconfirmed in 1990, when the Senior tour chose it as the site for the inaugural Security Pacific Senior Classic (Ralphs became the sponsor in 1992). Ray Floyd, the 1992 Senior Classic champion and one of many seniors who played in L.A. Opens at Rancho, says, "It is absolutely phenomenal the condition that this course is in. I played here in the '60s, and there is more grass on the 1st hole now than there was on the entire course back then. This place is a wonder."

One man who agrees with Floyd is Ted Small, who at the age of 83 is still on the Rancho Men's Club Board of Directors. Small had surgery on his elbow in June, and after four tedious months on the shelf, he recently dragged himself back to his old haunt for a much-needed round of golf. The elbow held out fine, but on the 13th hole. Small sprained a knee and had to quit playing. His eyes positively sparkle when he talks about Rancho Park. "They brought the senior tournament here for the same reason all of us old graybeards keep coming back," Small says. "Where else are you gonna go?"

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