Richardson restores Roosevelt course in LA’s Griffith Park

  • Roosevelt

    A rendering showing the vision for the eighth hole on the Roosevelt course in LA’s Griffith Park

  • Roosevelt

    The course moved to its current site in the early 1960s

  • Roosevelt

    Golf course architect Forrest Richardson (left) on site with the crew from Heritage Links

Toby Ingleton
By Toby Ingleton

Golf course architect Forrest Richardson is restoring the municipal nine-hole Roosevelt course in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, USA.

The project involves new bunkering, additional tees, and greens returned to previous shapes. A new irrigation system is being installed to allow the use of recycled water.

The city wants the Roosevelt course to be attractive to beginners and occasional golfers, while preserving the solid test it is known for. It will remain a par 33, but new forward tees will make it playable at a total length that is 500 yards shorter than the current course.

The Roosevelt course was established in 1927, using nine holes from the Griffith Park course created in 1914 by Tom Bendelow. In 1937 it was rebuilt by Los Angeles Parks superintendent William Johnson and William P (Billy) Bell.

In 1964, with a new zoo planned for the park, the course was rebuilt on a new location, below the Griffith Park Observatory. David Kent and landscape architect John Ward are credited with the design.

“Our charge has been to pay homage to the history of Roosevelt, which includes both the work of Bell and what was built on the 1960s site,” said Richardson. “Today the setting is elevated well up in the park, so we have dramatic hills and valleys that form the heart and strategy of the holes.”

There course has just five bunkers. “The defence of the course is all about the natural terrain and the drama you get from playing up, down and around,” said Richardson. “The last thing Roosevelt needs is an abundance of bunkers to make it interesting.”

Heritage Links is responsible for construction work and the Better Billy Bunker system will be used for bunkers.

Tree removal work will open views, allow more light and air circulation, and eliminate species that are invasive to the natural landscape. This will be done by Los Angeles staff – led by Golf Division director Laura Bauernfeind, who previously served as the City’s principal forester – under Richardson’s guidance.

Richardson said: “It’s tremendous to see what happens when you open views. Now we can not only see the Observatory, but there are several breathtaking views looking out toward downtown Los Angeles.”

The work is expected to be completed for opening in spring 2019.