Roosevelt Municipal Golf Course

Words by: James Wilson
Photography by:Jason Jhanke

It costs $1000 dollars a head to play at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. Pristine fairways, greens like billiard tables, a weary employee dabbing the beads of sweat from your forehead whilst another feeds you grapes. What more could you want?

Well maybe we don’t want more. In fact, maybe a hell of a lot less will do just fine.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to lecture about the wonders of hickory golf, or the benefits of a half set, or even the joy that gratitude for each individual shot can bring. Fuck that.

I’d love a game at Shadow Creek, we all would. But beyond the grandeur and refinement of once in a lifetime rounds lies an equally valuable, more modest offering.

Roosevelt Municipal Golf Course, at the foot of Griffith Park Observatory and across the street from the infamous Greek Theatre, costs $8 a round.

We grabbed a scorecard, hit some practice putts (on what were probably the best greens of the trip) and headed beyond the chain link fence to the first tee.

Meandering around the foothills of Griffith Park, the pine tree lined fairways provided the perfect test. On every tee box we racked our brains: would we play sensibly down the fairway with an iron, or would we take on the hero shot over the subtle dogleg with driver. Temptation, of course, prevailed.

Perhaps the only downfall, corroborated by almost every review I have since found online, is the glacial place of play. Even with the imminent arrival of total darkness, no one showed even a hint of urgency. As night approached, the gradually illuminating streets of downtown LA pierced through the pine trees. We couldn’t feel too hard done by.

Our match, a 3 vs 2 battle to the death (5 balls are permitted, nae encouraged) naturally came down to the final hole - where the subtle break of the final putt revealed itself only as much as the iPhone flashlights would allow. That putt was missed, by a concerning margin.

It's comforting to know that in a city famous for its vocal fry, overly performative waiters and comically extortionate bee pollen seaweed smoothies, that the other side of the coin exists. Roosevelt Municipal offers a glance at the unpretentious foundations of golf in Los Angeles.

Sure, a blow out round at Shadow Creek is great, but you can have a memorable evening on the course using spare change from your glove compartment.

As we headed for dinner we discussed our options: would we go to the Beverly Hills steakhouse or swing by In-N-Out. After all, they both have their merits.