The Greens Scene
The city of Irvine-approved plan for the Orange County Great Park includes a new 227-acre, 18-hole golf course with a clubhouse and practice facilities, set within the 688-acre part of the Great Park funded and being built by FivePoint.
Recently the Great Park Golf Course has been mischaracterized as a Links-style course. Insiders and golf experts confirm that there are no plans to create that kind of course at the Great Park.
In fact, a true Links course should be “by the sea, built upon purely sand.” So says Irvine’s golf design expert, Todd Eckenrode, whose firm has created great new golf courses and restored many classic and historic ones.
The course proposed for the Great Park is actually a meadow course, which Eckenrode says is “a wonderful, natural look” for California courses.
Golf offers a life-long form of recreation and exercise. Golf is also “an excellent platform for teaching youth life skills and core values, such as respect, courtesy, honesty and integrity,” says Tim Casey, the retired city manager for Laguna Niguel.
As the president of the OC chapter of nonprofit First Tee, Casey has seen the benefit of golf as a teaching tool for at risk and underserved kids. In 2015, more than 3,200 OC kids participated in the First Tee programs. Irvine ranks third in the number of participants, Case says. “Our Board has often discussed the Great Park as an ideal permanent home for our chapter if it includes a new public golf course.”