Elgin Nelson, Staff
Prominent L.A. political figures were among the 50 community members and golf executives that gathered at Maggie Hathaway Golf Course to commemorate a $15 million renovation of the historic, county-owned golf course nestled in South Los Angeles. The extensive renovation is part of an ambitious initiative to broaden the reach of golf and promote diversity within the sport, utilizing the resources of public owned courses.
“This community and golf course has been neglected for far too long, so this is what equity in action looks like”, L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell stated.
A ceremonial document signing took place to celebrate the donation between L.A. County, American Golf, and the Fore Youth Golf Foundation.
Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson underscored the urgent need for progress, stating emphatically, ‘“Please get this done. I don’t think y’all heard me— get this done.”
The urgency for getting the project done was echoed by everyone who spoke at the hour-long event.
The 9-hole, par 3 course will honor the one person who made the vision to make golf accessible to the community, a reality.
“It’s not about the game itself—it’s about the individual who made all of this possible, and that’s Maggie Hathaway,” said Senator Steven Bradford, who viewed Hathaway as a trailblazer for her efforts to bring more awareness of the sport to the Black community. “She was one of the biggest advocates for integrating golf in Los Angeles back in the 1950s and 60s. We need to make sure that we invest in her legacy and what she stood for—inclusion, equity, and above all, balance.”
Born in 1911 in Campti, Louisiana, Hathaway moved to L.A. at 20, working as a Hollywood extra. She ventured into golf after a bet with famed world heavyweight champion, Joe Louis, in the sixties. She went on to establish the Minority Association for Golfers in 1963.
During the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, Hathaway led a protest at the Long Beach municipal golf course, fighting against segregation. She co-founded the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP branch with Sammy Davis Jr. and created the NAACP’s Image Awards, before passing away in September 2001.
Glen Porter, the chief caretaker of Maggie Hathaway Golf Course in South Los Angeles and CEO of the nonprofit Southern Area Youth Programs, Inc., helped broker the multi-million-dollar makeover of the municipal course for the Western States Golf Association.
“I can finally see Maggie’s and my vision with this project. Now, I can go back to my community and say—this is going to happen. We are on the right track,” Porter said.
WSGA was founded in 1954 to help people of color gain access to the game. It has nine clubs in Southern California. The Southern Area Youth Programs, Inc., a nonprofit, is operated by these clubs and handles operations at the Maggie Hathaway Golf Course. In addition, it’s responsible for the junior programming at the facility.