Grouchy Golf Blog

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 at 12:23 AM

The Rose Bowl Parking Lot, My Home Course

The biggest game in college football history has been set. The 2006 BCS Championship Game will be played Jan. 4th at the "The Granddaddy of All Bowl Games" pitting #1 USC against #2 Texas. While the 90,000+ fans in attendance will be watching one of the most anticipated college football games of all-time, their cars will be leaking oil on my home golf course. Let me explain.

My home course, Brookside Golf Club, is adjacent to the world famous Rose Bowl. Built in 1921, the stadium's official seating capacity is 92,542. That's a lot of people, and, since it's located in must-drive Los Angeles, a lot of cars.

But there's not a lot of room around the Rose Bowl for dedicated parking. So where do you park all those darn global warming machines on wheels? You park them on the golf course, that's where! Of the 20,600 parking spaces available for events at the Rose Bowl, approximately 12,050 spaces are provided on the two golf courses of Brookside Golf Club.

Yes, anytime there's a major event at the Rose Bowl, the Brookside Golf courses undergo a dramatic transformation. Hole #18 becomes Parking Lot 1A. Ball washers and tee markers are displaced by Bimmers and Toyotas. But the real change is the people on the course. It goes from golfers who treat the course like it's a temple to drunken tailgaters who treat it like a Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat house. "We once saw people frying a turkey, and they just spilled all the oil from it on the golf course," said Noni Holt, a UCLA football season ticket holder. "We were just mad because we know it hurts the golf course, and we're mindful of that. It really is a beautiful place." But most revelers just don't give a damn. "I'm sure the course gets torn up," said Jim Guthrie, a 2003 UCLA graduate who tailgated at a UCLA home game. "But we don't care that much."

Obviously, the course is closed for golf while it works double-duty as a parking lot and tailgating wasteland. But the course never gets a rest. After moonlighting as a parking lot, a crew of over 100 cleans up the course for tee times the next morning. Yes, the next morning! As you can imagine, they can't clean up everything. If you do play the day after an event, don't be surprised to find your ball resting against unusual "loose impediments" in the form of strewn Corona bottles and Coors cans. Balls landing in a SUV tire tread or a pile of spent charcoal isn't uncommon. The golf rules for relief from standing water are sometimes applied to standing motor oil. Heck, sometimes abandoned cars are left in the middle of the fairway!

Proceeds from the $25 per car parking fees cover the money that would have been generated from greens fees. But you would think that the abuse Brookside receives as a parking lot would spell disaster for course conditions. In reality, it doesn't. Sure, it's not , but Brookside is typically in very good condition after a tailgating binge. I applaud the entire staff of Brookside who manages to maintain the course's position as one of the top 10 public courses in Southern California year after year. Once host to the LA Open, I pray that Brookside will once again host a pro golf event so that we can all park on the Rose Bowl football field for some much needed payback!


Blogger Cap'n H said...

I have fond memories of "green as dance floor" after the '89 Rose Bowl Game, a come-from-behind Michigan victory over USC. Someone had their rather large satellite speakers set-up in the fringe just outside the ropes, and there were about 20 dancers inside, myself included. I would imagine the putts on that green might have rolled a little funny the next day.  


Anonymous mediaguru @ hookedongolfblog.com said...

I was right in that area and drove by the rose bowl about a year ago. Very beautiful area. You're lucky to play that course.  


Anonymous Wedgehead said...

Man, that's brutal!

Have you really played it the day after? I guess the mild weather might help the course heal a little faster, but all I can think of is "what if it rains?"...that could get really ugly.  


Blogger richard said...

All these years of watching the rose bowl, I had no idea they were parking on your golf course! I can't believe they tee it up the very next morning!!

BTW, my last 2 rounds up here in San Luis Obispo County have been with 5 golfers visiting from Pasadena. Both groups took off a week to play the Central Coast ;). One father and son - members of the San Gabriel Golf Club - were finishing the trip at Pebble Beach.

Richard at www.golfslo.com  


Blogger CB said...

Those bastards...

Hey Grouch I am going to be down in San Diego for the Holiday bowl later this month and was looking for some insight on a course to play. If I have one realistic opportunity to get out and won't be playing with anyone, where would you suggest I try? Pretend money is no object (then realize Torrey Pines is too expensive) for an idea of price range.  


Anonymous The Armchair Golfer said...

Hey Grouch.

I used to live in SoCal but never made it to the Rose Bowl except for the '84 Olympics. Great stadium and setting.

My brother (who lives in Chatsworth) and his friend often go to the Rose Bowl game. They get there early and work the best deal they can with scalpers. It's worked pretty well for them over the years. (But not this year; the tickets will be at a serious premium.)

Too bad about Brookside, man. Still, I wouldn't mind playing it with you the day after ... playing golf in Pasadena in January would be just grand, no matter the condition of the track!  


Blogger dave said...

A bit of a sad commentary on our way of life.  


Blogger Golf Grouch said...


If money is no object, play Aviara. But that's a pretty big object! I love Torrey Pines, but it is pricey for non-city residents and one of the toughest to get onto.

Otherwise, try Mt. Woodson Golf Club. Let me know if you get a chance to play in beautiful San Diego.  


Blogger Golf Grouch said...


You are correct that the course gets really sloppy from the rain. However, this is sunny So. Cal.!  


Blogger woundedduck said...

I don't think it would be stray beer bottles that would screw up your round, it's those teeny-weeny greens. #18 on the short course is brutal, especially if you find the trap. Helluva lot of fun.  


Blogger CB said...

The funny thing is, I've played Aviara a 1,000 times on Links 04' and I just don't think I'll be able to shoot my course record 55 in real life. I guess I'll have to try Mt. Woodson. Thanks  


Anonymous Duke said...

I will assume that the members of that club, or the owners, or someone who is in charge, gets a lot of money for them parking on a golf course. Knowing how much it takes to keep up just one hole of a golf course I would think the Rose Bowl could have built a multilevel parking garage for one year of maintaince costs for one hole..Just another reason why the world could do with out Football...  


Blogger CB said...

The world could do without football? Free speech should only go so far, and you sir, are testing the limits.  


Blogger JJ Gowland said...

Let's hope the area stays dry.
I've teed it up and could never drive it far enough over the rutted fairways, unless I aimed for the rough.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey now,
I understand your pain. At the University of Michigan they use the Alistair Mackenzie designed course as a parking lot for games. I have had some interesting lies like charcole, a pile of shrimp. Oh well the U needs to generate $$$  


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