U.S. Open Community Engagement Programs to Leave Legacy in L.A.
In anticipation of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship this June, the USGA is announcing its plans to leave a lasting impact in Los Angeles, connecting its host community with the organization’s ongoing commitments to champion and advance golf, and to propel a healthier future for the game.
The USGA is collaborating with the community in four distinct areas, highlighted by a $1 million donation to restore the Maggie Hathaway Golf Course, a nine-hole, par-3 public facility operated by Los Angeles County that provides thousands in the area with affordable, accessible golf. In one of the most significant host community investments in U.S. Open history, the USGA is joining forces with the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA), The Los Angeles Country Club (LACC), Los Angeles County and several other organizations and donors to bring the project to life. Acclaimed course architect Gil Hanse will lead the restoration project.
The project aims to improve the experience at the golf course named for Hathaway, the African-American actor, singer and activist who championed equality in golf, while also building a learning center and expanding programming for Los Angeles-area juniors. A fundraising campaign was launched by the SCGA last month to advance those junior programs and facilities.
“Year-over-year, host communities welcome the U.S. Open, and we recognize the importance of investing back into them to leave a legacy that is felt beyond our game,” said USGA CEO Mike Whan. “We are fortunate to have partners like the SCGA and LACC who believe in the power that golf can have on a community and will continue to collaborate on initiatives that create more opportunities for people to work, play, experience and enjoy the game.”
As part of that commitment to collaborate and create opportunities, the USGA will also welcome 20 college undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds to Los Angeles for the USGA Pathways Internship Program, a weeklong immersive experience that exposes participants to the many career paths in golf. Half of the students will be from the Los Angeles area, helping to foster future leaders in the community. Following the success of the internship’s launch at the 2022 U.S. Open, Deloitte* will return as a foundational sponsor. Programming will include professional development, networking and hands-on learning experiences throughout U.S. Open Championship week.
Designed to promote inclusion among the suppliers and vendors supporting the championship, the USGA Open Works initiative includes a regional collaboration with the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission’s Business Connect Program, which expands opportunities for businesses with diverse ownership in the greater Los Angeles area.
The USGA will also advance its commitment through the Sports for Climate Action framework to deliver a more sustainable championship with its Reduce, Renew and Reinvest program. The initiative focuses on reducing waste, committing to renewable energy and responsible natural resource use, and reinvesting in projects that propel community sustainability.
Embedded into the on-site activation is a continuing commitment to reduce single-use plastics, building on last year’s program that eliminated more than 700,000 plastic bottles at concession areas in favor of more sustainable products. The USGA will also use compostable food-service products and clear recycling and waste-sorting programs to encourage fans to help with sustainability efforts. Partnerships with area vendors will demonstrate the commitment to reinvest in renewable energy and water credits in California.
Popular last year with fans at The Country Club, recyclable aluminum cups and products will return to the U.S. Open Championship in 2023. These products can be more quickly and easily converted into new products and greatly reduce single-use plastics at the championship.
Bringing to life the USGA’s commitment to invest $30 million in the next 15 years, the association is advancing water resilience on California golf courses with university research, demonstrations of emerging maintenance technologies, and consulting and outreach activities. As much as a 45 percent reduction in water usage will be made possible by employing the strategies that will be advanced through the program. This includes continued grant funding to the University of California-Riverside to develop drought-resistant turfgrasses, educational symposiums in the state, and demonstration projects at Los Serranos Golf Club in Chino Hills and other courses designed to encourage the use of water-saving techniques.
These efforts will complement on-site fan experiences designed to highlight the USGA’s continuing efforts to unify, showcase, govern and advance the game.