Golf Returns to Campus After Long Hiatus

Susan Aksu

After a 22-year hiatus due to budget cuts that forced the men’s team to be eliminated in 1985, the GCC golf program is reemerging with an experienced coaching staff for the men’s and first-ever women’s team and a lot of enthusiasm on campus.

The golf program is being reinstated after a proposal was made by GCC alumni Mike Haney, during his Athletic Hall of Fame induction speech in 2006. Haney played golf for GCC in 1970 and 1971 and was later an All-American for USC after transferring.

Thanks to the fund-raising efforts of Haney and a committee from the Glendale College Foundation including board member and alumni Dave Greenbaum, the Vaquero Golf Club has successfully raised funds to help the team with some of its equipment costs and course fees.

The men’s golf team and first-ever women’s team is in the process of forming, with the help of coaches Kirt Kohlmeier and Greg Osbourne, both of whom attended Glendale Community College.

Kohlmeier, who also teaches physical education at Toll Middle School, will be coaching the women’s team, which will begin practicing in mid-August and will compete in the Western State Conference in the fall.

“Golf develops character, self esteem and prepares you for the rest of your life,” according to Kohlmeier, who hopes to develop his team into Division 1 golfers.

Kohlmeier says because of the advantages it could have for their futures young women should be involved in sports as much as they can.

“[Sports] can be such a great equalizer in society. It gives them an advantage over girls who don’t play sports,” said Kohlmeier.

Aside from teaching physical education at Toll and taking on the coaching role for GCC, he had also coached Hoover High School’s basketball and softball teams for 20 years. However, his love of golf took him to work in Indiana as a golf instructor at Hoosier Links Golf Course.

“Glendale has some of the top golf courses in the United States; the world is wide open to the students,” said Kohlmeier.

After transferring to Cal Lutheran University from GCC, where he played football and golf for the Vaqueros, Osbourne was an All-American at Cal Lu as well as being named team MVP.

Osbourne will be coaching with the assistance of Oscar nominated actor James Caan, also a frequent golfer, whom he works with on NBC’s television show Las Vegas. Together they hope to recruit and have a successful men’s golf season and look forward to working with students in advance and intercollegiate golf classes, weight room training and visual aids through computer simulation.

“You have to work out mentally and physically. It’s a tough league and we need to be competitive,” said Osbourne.
The golf teams will practice at the Oakmont Country Club, DeBell Golf Course, Industry Hills and Scholl Canyon as well as other local courses.

Osbourne, a 20-year PGA of America member and golf instructor at DeBell Golf Course, is looking forward to working with the college in building a solid golf program that will save students and their parent’s money for college when they are ready to transfer.

“My main goal is to work with them for two years and get them ready to transfer to a four-year school on a scholarship and possibly save their parents another $80,000,” said Osbourne.

Kohlmeier and Osbourne have been visiting local high school teams to promote the golf program and have talked to many student-athletes about attending GCC. They are also encouraging current GCC students who have an interest in golf to be a part of the program as well.

“GCC is a great place to get undergraduate work done and to play a sport,” said Kohlmeier.

He added that many of the high school golfers he has spoken to have already decided to attend four-year schools, but are not going to continue to play golf. Competitive golfers have many scholarships available to them and he feels that students interested in golf should take advantage of them and go forward with their golf skills at GCC.

Kohlmeier said he feels fortunate to be hired as the women’s golf coach in college with a great sports program.

“I want to bring a league championship to the college their first year,” Kohlmeier said about the women’s team. “The more [golfers], the merrier.”

Uniformity is an important factor in building team confidence, according to Osbourne. The team will be provided with new uniforms. They’re going to be a sharp looking representation of a Glendale College team,” said Osbourne. “You can’t play in the Masters unless you’re dressed to play in the Masters.” He feels that the majority of the teams that win are the most unified because they feel a sense of pride for their school and team.

Students who are interested in being a part of the golf teams should contact Kohlmeier for the women’s team by email at [email protected] or Osbourne for men’s at [email protected].