South LA golf course getting $15M donation to revamp facilities

The U.S. Open is back in Los Angeles for the first time in 75 years. With the focus of the golf world here in LA this week, one South LA course will soon benefit of a massive influx of cash.

The Maggie Hathaway Golf Course was built in the 60s. Now, as a benefit of Los Angeles Country Club hosting the U.S. Open Golf Championship, the U.S. Golf Association along with others are planning to donate up to $15 million to give public course a major makeover.

Phoenix Seay is 9 years old. He and his 13-year-old brother Zilya Seay just joined the youth golfing program at Maggie Hathaway Golf Course. They heard about the effort to raise $15 million to improve the course and infuse money into the youth program here. 

"I think that’s beautiful. That’s a nice thing," said Zilya Seay.

Glen Porter agrees. Porter oversees the youth golf program, and is also the CEO of Southern Area Youth Golf Inc and Vice President of the Western States Golf Association.

"What we’re trying to do here is turn this into a top-notch facility where we can train these young men in here and along the way give them the opportunity to learn golf," said Porter.

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Gus Robinson, who is the manager at Maggie Hathaway Golf Course, said the buildings need a major makeover, the greens need work and there needs to be a snack bar.

"I would like to see a building where they have the starters inside. They have an office inside," Robinson said.

Robinson says 24,000 people played at the course last year. Among them a women’s golf group called Maggie’s Ladies Par 3 Golf Club. They’ve been around since 2010, playing at the course. The group, made up of about three dozen lady-golfers is named after Maggie Hathaway whose name graces this course. They said during a time of discrimination at golf clubs, Hathaway broke the glass ceiling. 

Irey Hillsman-Dunn played With her in 1973, and thinks Hathaway would be "happy and joyful".

The club meets weekly for golf and camaraderie and says the old bathrooms and cinder block buildings really need updating, and they’re happy that’s going to happen. Some say they think the makeover will be good for the community, and will draw more people. They also believe it will be great for encouraging more kids to come out and learn the game.

So far $7 million have been raised toward the $15 million donation and while the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has voted to accept the donation, there’s no timetable for when work might begin.