Amping Up The Fun: Eaton Canyon GC
Club Spotlight: A Threatened Course Strikes Back
Since the 1960s, Eaton Canyon GC (ECGC) has been a staple for the Pasadena golf community. Kids who learned the game here grew up and brought their own kids here. It’s a go-to spot to hit a few and grab a beer after work. Nestled quietly in the hills of Eaton Canyon and 170 members strong, ECGC is a tradition, and they’re here to stay.
ECGC President Scott Wright is especially enthralled with the facility. “I grew up in Sierra Madre and I’ve been playing here for more than 30 years,” he said. “This is my neighborhood course, and that’s a really special feeling.”
Appealing to all, ECGC hosts a variety of events every year. From families to low-handicappers, there are away matches, member-guest tournaments, glo-ball tournaments and, most famously, the Hookie-Lau.
To start, the Hookie-Lau dress code is … different, and golf comes second. There are more straw skirts and lei than polo shirts and khakis. There’s a food truck, hula dancers and fire dancers. Most importantly, it’s open to all.
“We would have a match each year against our sister club, Altadena GC, and one of the guys thought it would be cool to do a fun event alongside it,” Wright said. “It’s grown way beyond our two teams since then. Even nonmembers in the neighborhood have caught wind of it, and we welcome that.”
Late last year, L.A. County threatened to sell the facility and possibly transition it into a park under the City of Pasadena. ECGC quickly caught wind of this and got involved. Making headlines in the Pasadena Star, the club sent out emails to members and posted on their website to spread the word. One of the emails pleaded, “We need as many of you who can to attend and voice your opposition to the transfer of the golf course to the City of Pasadena, who has said they will close it.”
Wright explained, “It would’ve been heartbreaking. We have club members in their 80s who still play in every event to this day.”
Luckily, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger was not in support of the sale, announcing at that time, “I want to invite the community to utilize this course as much as possible. Your patronage as regular golfers and diners at the restaurant helps keep the facility vital and helps us attract a new generation of golfers.”
Today, Wright is reminded regularly of those times, with 200 “Save Eaton Canyon Golf Course! Protect our neighborhood!” yard signs sitting proudly in his garage.
“We were excited to share the passion that we as members have for Eaton Canyon,” he said. “We did our best to support our club in any way we could.”
With new management and an upgraded restaurant area, the club and its facility continue to grow membership, and that’s where the millennials come in.
“Thank goodness we have young people,” Wright said, chuckling. “We have one of our members taking over our social media to get the word out, and it’s working! We saw a lot of new people at the Hookie-Lau this year, and that’s always a win.”