Club Spotlight: SoCal Mexican American Golf Association
Giving Back Any Way They Can
In 2010, Montclair High School didn’t have a golf program, and one student felt it necessary. Luckily for him, his dad had a couple of friends from his local golf club who would lend a helping hand.
“He wanted to play golf but his school didn’t have a team,” explained Carlos Iglesias, president of the SoCal Mexican American Golf Association (SoCal MAGA). “So his father, a few members and some of the teachers of the school recruited eight boys who wanted to play.”
Some of the kids they recruited didn’t have golf clubs, so SoCal MAGA came to help again.
“We donated some Association funds to pay for equipment. Now Montclair High School has a full-blown golf program,” Iglesias said.
Fifty years old and 600 members strong, SoCal MAGA has a passion for camaraderie and making the game accessible for all.
“I was invited to play by a friend 30 years ago,” Iglesias said. “While I didn’t know much about it, I just really liked the camaraderie between everyone and joined right away.”
The Association is spread across nine chapters, which provides the opportunity to play anywhere. Let’s say a member of the Riverside chapter sees an event they like within the San Diego chapter. They can give S.D. a call and sign up. Junior members get some extra love in a similar fashion.
“We have 40 junior golfers across Southern California, and whenever any chapter holds a tournament and a junior member wants to play, they can compete for free,” Iglesias said.
On top of the scholarship program they have offered for years that funds more than $10,000 a year towards high school golfers, for the first time they worked with Goose Creek GC and donated a free eight-week session of golf lessons to their junior members.
“We work really hard to grow the game of golf and help kids get started in the game,” Iglesias said. “We’re lucky that Goose Creek was generous enough to donate their time each week.”
Once a year on Memorial Day, all nine chapters get together for a two-day event filled with social and competitive vibes in Palm Springs. Complete with net and gross championship titles, a Women’s Auxiliary Tournament, a junior competition (also free), hotel blocks and a mariachi band, it sells out every year with nearly 300 participants.
“There is so much bonding amongst our chapters,” Iglesias said. “Our members are outgoing and looking to play competitive golf with a mind to have fun. We aren’t playing golf for a living; we’re here to enjoy the game and get away from work.”
While there’s a dedicated group of retired golfers, networking among the strong group of working members is an important factor within the club as well.
“We have all walks of life within the working class. From lawyers to dentists to painters, there’s always somebody who can help somebody out,” Iglesias said. “It really is an abundant networking environment.”
“I share this sentiment to chapter presidents often: The club doesn’t belong to [the board members], the club belongs to the members; they elected us to represent them, so ultimately, it’s about what they want,” Iglesias said. “It’s our job to figure out how to give back to them in any way we can.”