Eaton Canyon Golf Course May Be Converted into a Pasadena City Park

Published : Friday, May 11, 2018 | 5:35 AM

Los Angeles County and Pasadena officials are in exploratory discussions about transferring ownership of Eaton Canyon Golf Course to the City to convert it into a new park.

The 60-acre, 9-hole course is located in Pasadena’s Hastings Ranch neighborhood at 1150 Sierra Madre Villa Ave. Its southern portion, visible at the intersection of Sierra Madre Boulevard and New York Drive, is well known to motorists.

Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said Thursday that if an agreement is reached, the County would transfer ownership to the City at no cost. Tornek said that if the City acquires the property, it would be used only as open space.

A Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation spokesperson said the golf course’s revenues have diminished over the years.

“Furthermore, Eaton Canyon Golf Course … is located only 3.6 miles away from the Altadena Golf Course, also owned by Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation,” said Department Public Information Officer, Terry Kanakri.

Mayor Tornek said his understanding is the County is reviewing the financial viability of all its golf courses.

“Golf as a sport is declining nationally and it’s an expensive proposition to maintain a golf course,” Tornek said. “So if the County doesn’t have a financially successful course, it looks for alternatives.”

Screenshot from Eaton Canyon Golf Club

Larry Salmi, a Certified Personal Coach at GolfTech in Pasadena who said he worked at the Eaton Canyon course from 1988 to 2012, agreed.

“We see golf courses closing throughout the country,” laments Salmi. “Altadena [Golf Course] is much easier to maintain, but it doesn’t have the topography and the natural ground of Eaton Canyon — much more interesting and a lot more fun golf course to play.”

Representatives of Eaton Altadena Golf LLC., which just recently became the course’s operator, did not respond to a request for information.

However, on a webpage for the Eaton Canyon Golf Club, a plea for help seems to articulate what likely is the management company’s position.

“Currently the course has been experiencing a renewed life because of a new management company that has taken over operations of the property in September after approximately 8 years of neglect. They have been investing money in fixing sprinklers, watering the fairways and cleaning up debris that accumulated over the years and local golfers have seen a difference and are coming back in droves,” the webpage reads.

“Eaton Canyon Golf Course is in the fight for its life and we need your help! Please let the politician’s [sic] know that we do not want our special little course to turn into a park for now and who knows what after that,” a bold headline reads.

Tornek is quick to say that the City has no other plans than to use the property as open space, should the City acquire it.

“The prevalent suspicion is that the City is going to acquire it to sell it off to build lots of housing and this is just simply not true. Not going to happen,” Tornek said.

City Manager Steve Mermell echoed the Mayor.

“The City’s interest would be to convert the golf course to a park,” Mermell said Thursday. “Were the transfer to proceed, the City would undertake a comprehensive park planning process.”

While discussions continue, “it’s important to note that at this time there is no recommendation for any transfer to take place,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger spokesperson Tony Bell said in an email. “However, if such transfer was to be considered by the Board of Supervisors, the public would be properly noticed and public input encouraged.”