LACC Golf Range Meets A Less-Than-Majestic End

A decade-long episode between L.A. City College, a golf driving range operator and the community finally comes to an end this week as crews complete their demolition of Majestic Golf Land.

The $6 million driving range opened in 2003, the result of a public-private partnership plan to create revenue for the then-cash-strapped community college system to upgrade its aging infrastructure and facilities. In 1999, the college entered a 10-year lease agreement with Hee Kyun Cho, the owner of similar urban golf driving ranges in  the Koreatown area. The college would stand to make $120,000 a year from the venture.

Since then, the driving range had become everything from a neighborhood eyesore, due to its 160 foot-high green netted structure (visible from miles away), to a safety hazard to both the community and the college, due to stray golf balls landing in the college’s child care center, the neighboring Braille Institute and smashing the windshield of a food truck. For years, East Hollywood residents were also familiarized with the metallic “ping” sound of a ball hitting one of the 22 steel columns that hold up the net, which was also brightly illuminated at night.

The college also had a tumultuous relationship with Cho, who stubbornly disregarded recommendations by the college to temporarily shut down the golf range’s operations in order to address the aforementioned safety concerns.

Even before Majestic Golf Land opened, the college soon learned the partnership idea was a huge mistake — In 2002, voters approved a bond measure to fund new construction for the L.A. Community College system (which has since financed the building of LACC’s new library, science building, parking lot/athletic field and other additions), rendering the partnership unnecessary.But by then, the ink on the lease contract had already dried.

A golfer drives a ball at Majestic Golf Land in July, 2004

I had been to the golf range once, in 2004, just to take a look around, but didn’t even bother to rent a club or sink a single putt. Sometimes I would joke about showing up at the driving range with half of a golf ball glued to my forehead, and covered with fake blood, complaining to the staff about another stray ball in the neighborhood.

Like many in the community, including LACC administration themselves, I had long anticipated the end of the 10-year lease, and the day had finally come, with the closure of the business towards the end of 2010.

Crews had begun removal work since December (I had hoped for an epic implosion event, but I guess the college wasn’t up for that), though the Majestic building will remain – re-purposed for use as the new home of The LACC Foundation, which had previously operated out of a bungalow on campus.

The 3-plus acre site that formerly housed the net will likely be incorporated into the college’s expansion plans. As recently as five years ago it had been eyed as a potential site for a new LAUSD middle school facility, although the plans for a new school in the area had since been called off.

Goodbye – and good riddance – Majestic Golf Land…we hardly knew ye.

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6 comments to LACC Golf Range Meets A Less-Than-Majestic End

  • […] poor design and faulty construction, the field’s opening date is still unclear. Following the closing of the Majestic Golf Land driving range earlier this year,  the vacant land became a potential site for a properly-built field, but the […]

  • GC

    I came here to find out what happened to Majestic Golf Land. It had been a couple of years since I had been there and had stopped by on Friday night to hit a bucket with a friend only to find it had been shut down. Instead I got a half-assed blog trying to pass itself off as journalism from a glorified high-school writer who probably cheated his way to his print journalism degree.

    You went there once in 2004 to… oh wait, that part of the story had no point.

    Sure, there might have been a few reasons for this driving range to be be closed down and re-evaluated. What you cannot do is demonize the owners for operating a business which went through all the proper channels and got permits to build. If anyone was guilty of anything, it was the college and the city for not thinking about what they were approving. I’m sure if you had a business that was prospering you would “stubbornly” refuse to shut down without a valid reason such as you claim Mr. Cho did.

    You come off as someone with a serious axe to grind for no particular reason. If you are going to give such strong opinions on why this range needed to be closed to the point of dreaming about showing up bloody and filing false complaints then give us a reason why. Did a ball hit your child? Did a ball smash through your food truck? I would put money on you having been hit by a ball in the head. It would explain alot…

    I spent many great nights at Majestic Golf Land working on my swing trying to knock some strokes off my game. It is with great sadness I bid it a fond farewell. As for you and your “writing”, I bid YOU “Goodbye – and good riddance”.

  • LOL, oh wow, my first negative comment ever! I’m so honored! 😀

    Lighten up dude, no need for the vitriol. It’s just a blog. If you’re gonna throw a shitfit at every blogger who gave their personal opinion, be prepared for a long day.

    At any rate, the place is now closed, please learn to deal with it.

  • Will Campbell

    Wow. Am I LATE to this funeral. Granted I hadn’t picked up my clubs in more than a year, but I did so finally a couple weeks ago for a round out in South Pasadena and since I hadn’t put them back in the basement yet I figured I might hit the Majestic to badly hit a bucket’s worth.

    Then, while biking up Heliotrope earlier this week I glanced over and saw all the protective netting was gone and I wondered if it was being remodeled or worse: closed.

    Which is how I found your post about it.

    Unlike your previous commenter, I won’t go all spittle-inflected krazeezee knocking you for your opinion against the place. I certainly appreciated and understood the issues the community had with the range, but I still enjoyed pinging my share of balls off the towering support columns in large part because of its modern amenities and its proximity to my home.

    Oh well, I guess it’s back to the old-school Griffith Park range for me.

  • Poop

    Blogger….blah..blah..blah…blah….attitude.

  • Hey Will! Thanks for visiting my blog! :)

    If you don’t wanna go to Griffith Park, there’s also another driving range in Koreatown (well, a few), the closest one is just south of Wilshire near Western (attached to the building with the video screen). In fact, it’s operated by the same individual who ran Majestic.

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