Two women preparing to play at Cypress Golf Club on Sunday were
astonished when they couldn't get something to eat from the
kitchen before their afternoon round. With the kitchen
closed, all that was left were some muffins and fruit, and one of
the women chose one of each.
Between bites of her apple she told her playing partner the
reason for the lack of food. "It's the last day here," she
said. "I didn't even realize they were closing." Most
everyone else at the club did, and Sunday marked a somber day at
the course that had been open to the public for 12 years. "This
has been a great place to work," said Dave Chambers, who was an
employee at the course for 31/2 years and spent his last day there
with a video camera, recording the day. "You hate to call the
closing progress, but what are you going to do?"
The course closed because of a land swap involving the city of
Cypress and Cottonwood Christian Center.
Under the agreement, which has faced legal battles for more
than two years,but finally came to an agreeable conclusion in the
spring, the church sold an 18-acre parcel it owns at Walker Street
and Katella Avenue to Cypress for about $18 million. The city made
the deal so a Costco could be built at that location. The church,
in turn, will buy 28 acres of theneighboring golf course for about
$17 million for a church.
The golf course will be the third Orange County facility closed
in two years. Northwood Golf Center in Irvine and Buena Park Golf
Center closed last year. The course was redesigned by Pete and
Perry Dye in 1992 and was a popular place for former Cypress
resident Tiger Woods, who held the course record of 63.
"Before it was called Cypress Golf Club, it was Los Alamitos
Golf Club, and that is where I met my second coach, John Anselmo,"
Woods said. "I played a number of junior tournaments there. I have
a lot of great memories, and it is a shame that the golf course
will not be there any more." That sentiment was felt by many
who played one last time Sunday. "It was one of the best courses
around, especially for the money," said Frank Dino of Culver City.
"We don't have anything like this up where we live."
Dino and three friends, Justin Walker and Stephen Frye of
Hollywood and Gary Garland of Marina Del Rey, walked off No.18,
the lake already partially drained, and couldn't believe they
wouldn't be able to play here again. "It's really
disappointing they are closing this," Garland said. "I know it was
a financial decision, but if this keeps up, there will be nowhere
left to play." The closing date for Cypress had been
undetermined for the past three months, and workers at the course
were not certain when the last day was. About a month ago, a
printed 81/2- by 11-inch piece of paper announcing Sunday as the
last day greeted golfers as they walked into the clubhouse.
The pro shop also showed signs of closure. There were sale
signs to try and move the last few items of clothing and balls off
the shelves. The display case that held a signed copy of Woods'
record-setting scorecard was also gone. Yeong Oh, father of
professional golfer Ted Oh, was giving lessons to 11-year-old
Daniel Lee of Valencia and Kristen Park of Buena Park. The three
had just finished a playing lesson on the course and were hitting
balls. "It is very sad," Oh said. "It is no good for golf."
Oh also teaches at Westminster Family Golf Center, and that is
where Lee and Park will practice now.
"It's sad that it is closing," said Park, who has won several
junior tournaments. "I will have to find somewhere else to play."
That will be the challenge for many golfers who liked playing at
Cypress. The course did between 50,000-70,000 rounds annually. But
the fate of the course was completed with the land swap, and not
even a lawsuit by the city of Los Alamitos could save the course.
Construction of the church is expected to begin in the next two
months. "They didn't need to build a church here," Walker said.
"They already have a cathedral with this course here."