Oakland's Metropolitan Golf Links provides rebirth on old landfill

By David R. Holland, Contributor

OAKLAND, Calif. -- When Metropolitan Golf Links opened recently there was skepticism and optimism.

You see, Metropolitan is a remake of the old Lew Galbraith Golf Course, opened in 1966 over an old landfill. Its low green fees made it an instant success, hosting as many as 90,000 rounds in one year. But the landfill was unstable and eventually the new fairways started to sag, dip and become uneven. Grass failed to grow in some spots.

Fast forward to 2003. Metropolitan Golf Links is born to descriptions of "spacious and open, with a canopy of sky and long views to the Oakland Hills, the Bay, downtown Oakland, and San Francisco bracketing the horizon. Light winds off the Bay will often be a factor in the strategy and shot selection of the savvy player."

"Metropolitan Golf Links will test all level of players and will become a championship links that offers a great golf experience and spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay," said U.S. Open champ Johnny Miller, who designed the course along with Fred Bliss.

The birth of Metropolitan Golf Links also has initiated the Oakland Turf Education Initiative, a new program designed to open up careers in the golf industry for Oakland's inner-city youth.

Select Oakland youngsters will learn about the turfgrass industry and can pursue college degrees through educational programs offered at a local community college and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. The program is of specific interest for African-American groups in Oakland, who constantly search for vocational opportunities.

For more information about the Oakland Turfgrass Education Initiative, write CourseCo at PO Box 1019, Petaluma, CA 94953.

SilverRock Ranch Resort at La Quinta selects Palmer

The City of La Quinta has selected the Arnold Palmer Course Design Company of Ponte Vedra, Florida, to design its new municipal golf course located at SilverRock Ranch.

The city spent $42.5 million to purchase the 525-acre site, which is adjacent to the private golf communities of PGA West and The Tradition Golf Club, where Mr. Palmer has a home.

Also in the plans at SilverRock: multiple hotel sites, including a boutique hotel and spa, resort retail complex, community center, recreational facilities, golf clubhouse and private-residence villas around the projected two 18-hole golf courses and one 9-hole course.

Running Horse in Fresno sets plans

Planning is under way for the Running Horse master-planned community in Fresno, which would include a 27-hole golf course designed by John Harbottle III, a 25,000-square-foot clubhouse, 1,700 homes, a shopping center, various recreational amenities and a business park.

It would be built in Fresno's southwest section and would include 888 acres. The Running Horse master-planned community is proposed for a large parcel bounded by Marks, California, Whites Bridge and Hughes Avenues, just west of Roeding Business Park.

Running Horse's projected backing includes Cypress Investment of Carmel, Calif., and Paul Pugh, senior partner with the San Jose accounting firm of Petrinovich Pugh & Co. Cypress was involved in Clint Eastwood's Tehama course in Monterey and Pugh, a past president of the Northern California Golf Association, is an owner of Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose.

Tiger Woods Learning Center at Dad Miller

PGA Tour players take notice of another generous contribution by the Tiger Woods Foundation in concert with the Target Corporation.

The $25-million Tiger Woods Learning Center has broken ground at H.G. 'Dad' Miller Golf Course in Anaheim, where Tiger played as a youngster, near his home in Cypress.

Underprivileged children will benefit from this 35,000-square-foot learning center that will include an auditorium, lab with more than 100 computers and a media resource center. The golf teaching area will include 23 acres designed by Woods and architect Tom Fazio.

Cathedral City cites golf course project

Developer Scott McGregor has requested to redevelop Lakeside Golf Course in Cathedral City, near Rancho Mirage in the Palm Springs, Coachella Valley area.

McGregor wants to turn the land into a multi-use golf community with retail stores homes and condos. The proposal also includes a 300-room Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center and possibly another hotel.

The new 18-hole championship golf course has more than 150 acres of land to build on and could open in 2004. Opposition includes environmentalists wanting to preserve a bighorn sheep habitat.

This and that

The Trilogy Golf Club at La Quinta is the new home for The ConAgra Foods Skins Game. It's the fifth move in 18 years for the made-for-television event. Landmark Golf Club in Indio was the former home of the four-player, $1 million event, won last year by Mark O'Meara. The popular TV event airs on Thanksgiving weekend.

O'Meara is assured a spot in this year's event, but the other three players won't be announced until later this year. Last year Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples rounded out the group.

Trump National Golf Club at Los Angeles is the official new name for Ocean Trails Golf Club in Palos Verdes.

Donald Trump hopes the course will reopen in 2004. The project is already the most expensive golf course in history after the 18th hole fell into the ocean just days before the projected grand opening. The course has been open as a 15-hole golf course and includes sweeping views of Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Contributor

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.

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