Griffith Park is the birthplace of Los Angeles municipal golf and heralds two early gems of golf course design. The original Los Angeles Municipal Golf Links was laid out in 1914 by Tom Bendelow, the “Johnny Appleseed of American Golf” (Medinah CC, East Lake Golf Club, Dallas CC). The original course was known for its oil-and-sand greens and was very popular, leading to an additional track being added at Griffith Park. Municipal Course #2 was completed in 1923 and renamed the following year as the Warren G. Harding Memorial Course. Harding's design was done by famed architect George C. Thomas Jr. (Los Angeles CC, Riviera CC, Bel-Air CC, Ojai Valley Inn). George C. Thomas also went on to create Municipal Course #3 which covered part of the old Links course and came to be known as the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Course, opening in 1927.
Playing to nearly 7000 yards, Wilson can be extremely demanding in its play despite the generous landing areas between its old Redwood and Oak-lined fairways. The course can play longer due to almost half the holes playing uphill and possessing raised greens. At 6600 yards, Harding creates a uniquely different yet challenging experience with tighter landing areas bending amongst its Oaks and Sycamores.
The same exhilarating feeling now as it was then, teeing off on the first hole of Wilson, circa 1962.
Both courses conclude with their dramatic 18th holes climbing uphill toward the Spanish Colonial architecture of the 1937 WPA-constructed clubhouse.
The Griffith Park Golf Club was founded in February 1915 and began tournament play in May 1915 with a two-day qualifier and matchplay championship.