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to restore the course should the facility become non- profi t, with the provision that the city donate a fraction of that sum to that restoration. Other grants followed. The council voted to approve the junior golf takeover of the Mif last year. This is how non-profi ts

work. Doors open. Grants come in from unexpected sources, fi nancial aid not available to profi t-making operations. Golf courses facing closure might con- sider this option. Ironically, the Corica

Complex is named for the town barber who ran for mayor in Alameda in the early 1970s as a one-issue candidate—Save the South Course. He was elected to three terms, and that South Course thrived, becoming a huge moneymaker for the city. Today that same South Course is once again endangered, threatened by “experts” who say it must go. When a golf course

Metropolitan GC in Oakland, former site of Galbraith GC

closes, the loss is felt far beyond the course’s property lines. The Lew Galbraith

muni, near the Oakland Airport, had a culture of its own, a unique culture. Some of the fi nest minor- ity golfers in the nation called it home, and they were welcomed by the city of Oakland. Those Thursday rabbit games (similar to a skins game) attracted pimps, hustlers, fi remen, cops and the oc- casional Charlie Sifford or Pete Brown. Many excellent players, regardless of the color of their skin, joined in simply because the competi- tion was so good. A tournament called the

Peoples Open soon fol- lowed. A guy named Scott McCarron had two holes- in-one in the fi nal round to win the title one year, and he used that as a spring- board to the PGA Tour the next year. Galbraith closed in

1994. The Port of Oakland needed the land to deposit dredgings from the estuary. A new course was built once those dredgings were de- toxifi ed. Metropolitan GC opened on April 16, 2003.

Before Galbraith, there

was Lucious Bateman. Junior golf was all “Loosh” had in mind when he took over Airway Fairways, a run-down driving range with a few holes near the Oakland Airport. One of his juniors was a delinquent named Tony Lema. In 1964 Lema won the British Open at St. Andrews, defeating Jack Nicklaus. The story goes that

But the culture never

returned. That culture of minority golfers was the lost link to Galbraith. Imagine the celebration that would have taken place in the Galbraith clubhouse when Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters. But there was no there there (as a famous author once said of Oakland). “The celebration would

have been loudest at Gal- braith,” Earl Woods once told me.

when Lema got off the airplane, the fi rst place he took the Claret Jug was to Loosh, at Airway Fairways. The two of them pondered where to put it. Loosh did not think it would be a real good idea to have one of the premier icons of golf sitting at his place. There was no security to speak of, hardly a locked door. But the great- est, oldest trophy in golf did stay there for a while. Then they both took it up to Lake Chabot, Oakland’s municipal course, where Lema snuck on as a kid. Airway Fairways folded a

long time ago, a memory. It is now a huge FedEx Depot. But what a memory. The many students of Loosh are saddened by the lost link. There should at least be a plaque placed on that ground. There is a plaque dedicated to Loosh at the driving range in Alameda, where two veteran teach- ers, Randy Herzberg and Woody Woodard, two former students of Loosh, teach the game to juniors like James Hahn. When a golf course clos-

Ron Salsig is a contributing writer for NCGA Golf and has won three national awards from the GWAA. 42 / NCGA.ORG / SPRING 2011

es, much more is lost than the course itself. Human beings are lost. Cultures, communities, families are lost. Those are the true Lost Links.

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