Being a golfer in LA certainly has its positives and negatives. Positives: nice weather, solid golf shops in the area, The LA Open at Riviera. But although there are some decent muni’s here with quite a bit of history, the best public courses for your money may set you back an hour’s drive or more. But I recently was lucky enough to stumble upon something completely unique that LA offers the avid golfer - the LA 84 Foundation.
Geoff Mangum has mentioned the LA84 Foundation’s digital archive before, but about 10 years ago, they acquired one of the best collections of rare golf books in the world- The Ralph Miller Golf Library. It’s estimated to hold around 5000 of golf’s best volumes, so I had to check out the place for myself...
Original Copies of Down to Scratch (1933), Length on the Links (1936), How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time (1985), My Partner - Ben Hogan by Jimmy Demaret (1955), Travers Golf Book by Jerome Travers (1913), and Golf by Arnaud Massy (1911) are just a few of the gems you can find here. You remember hearing the story of how “golf” first appeared in the Acts of Parliament under James II in the 1400’s? They even have the original copy of the Acts of Parliament! They were kind enough to pull out the actual text for me - it is not every day you get to see a 500 year old book, and one that is so tied to golf’s history.
Not all of the books are available for checkout, but almost all of them can be read in person at the library. During my next series of book reviews, I’m going to be doing a special focus on some of these rare, older texts that often get lost in the shuffle amidst the thousands of golf books we hear about during our quest to improve. To check out the LA84 Foundation, its current catalogs, or digital archives, visit http://www.la84foundation.org/4sl/over_frmst.htm