The Los Angeles Open at Rancho Park Golf Club 1956-1983
 

In 1983, the 57th Glen Campbell Los Angeles Open returned to the 6638-yard Rancho Park Golf Course for one year, while Riviera Country Club hosted the PGA Championship.

 

The L.A. Open was played at Rancho from 1956 to 1972 (minus 1968 at Brookside Park), and most recently in 1983. The Rancho golf course has been home to three permanent golf clubs, and more than 100,000 local and visiting golfers, every year, since 1949. The excitement level of having the professionals at Rancho was always high, with so many of the spectators knowing the course from first hand experience, and the tournament having the full support of the community, and the city of Los Angeles, it isn’t hard to imagine that L.A. Open’s at Rancho were a big success!

 

In 1983, the pro-amateur featured former U.S. President Gerald Ford, Jack Lemmon, Fred MacMurray, Mike Douglas, Robert Stack, Monty Hall, Dick Martin, Johnny Mathis, Foster Brooks, Scatman Crothers, Wayne Rodgers, Tommy Lasorda, and Steve Garvey, who all entertained the fans.

 

The professional competition included, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Johnny Miller, Craig Stadler, Dave Stockton, Jim Dent, Lee Trevino, Payne Stewart, Roger Dunn, Charlie Sifford, Jim Thorpe, Bobby Clampett, Roger Maltbie, Larry Mize, Bobbie Wadkins, Fuzzy Zoeller, Mac O’Grady, and others.

 

53-year old Arnold Palmer opened with a 66, and even led for five holes during the final round! Nowhere on tour has Arnie had more love and support than from his fans at Rancho! And he always deserved it!

 

Gil Morgan won the title, his second LA Open, scoring 270 over 72 holes.

 

Previous LA Open winner at Rancho, George Archer, scored a record 61 in the third round, making back to back eagles on No. 8 and 9 (#17 & #18).

 

 

Lloyd Mangrum won the first Los Angeles Open at Rancho in 1956. Other legends followed, including; Ken Venturi, Billy Casper, Ray Floyd, and Charlie Sifford, but it was the personal challenge of historic proportions that forever secured Rancho's place in golfing lore, when in 1961, Arnold Palmer arrived at the L.A. Open at the height of his powers. 

 

 

The previous season Palmer had won the Masters, and followed that up with a breathtaking come-from-behind victory at the 1960 U.S. Open. But Arnold would meet his match at Rancho's par-five 9th (#18) hole, where he attempted to reach the green in 2 strokes, in the first round of the 1961 Open. After a nice drive to the middle of the fairway, Palmer knocked four 3-wood shots out of bounds, on his way to scoring a 12!

 

 

As a monument to his feat, the L.A. junior Chamber of Commerce dedicated a plaque in 1963, at Rancho's 18th tee.

Despite the perpetual reminder of the infamous twelve, Arnold Palmer returned to thrill local fans in 1963, by winning the L.A. Open, and he would go on to win back-to-back victories in 1966 and 1967.

 

 

Rancho Park also played a signifcant role in 1962 to a young golfer named Jack Nicklaus. Rancho is where the Bear earned his very first pay check of $33.33 as a professional golfer. A two-time U.S. Amateur champion, Nicklaus received a lot of pre-tournament attention from the press, but his scores of 74-70-72-73 for a 289 total fell 21 shots shy of the winner, another rookie named Phil Rodgers, who fired a closing 62. In his first pro-am as a professional, Jack managed to knock two balls out of bounds and score a 9 on Arnie's 9th hole! (plaque coming soon...)

 


 

Five months later Jack went to Oakmont Country Club to win the 1962 U.S. Open and earned the "Rookie of the Year" award coming third on the money list.

One of the many milestones of the L.A. Open at Rancho, was the historic win of hometown favorite 
Charlie Sifford in 1969. 

The following is a list of LA Open Championswith respective winning scores, during the many star-studded years that Rancho hosted the tournament.
  

The L.A. Open Winners at Rancho:

 

Year

Champion

4-Day Score

1956

Lloyd Mangrum

272

1957

Doug Ford

280

1958

Frank Stranahan

275

1959

Ken Venturi

278

1960

Dow Finsterwald

280

1961

Bob Goalby

275

1962

Phil Rodgers

268

1963

Arnold Palmer

274

1964

Paul Harney

280

1965

Paul Harney

276

1966

Arnold Palmer

273

1967

Arnold Palmer

269

1969

Charles Sifford

276

1970

Billy Casper

276

1971

Bob Lunn

274

1972

George Archer

270

1983

Gil Morgan

278


Los Angeles Senior Open Winners at Rancho Park Golf Club 
 

Year

Champion

3-Day Score

1990

Mike Hill

201

1991

John Brodie

200

1992

Ray Floyd

195

1993

Dale Douglass

196

1994

Jack Kiefer

197