A Heartfelt Goodbye to Weddington Golf & Tennis in Studio City

The last drive.

  • Category
  • Written by
    Richard Lowe
  • Illustrated by
    Yuiko Sugino

The older I get, the less I surprise myself. I’ve embraced the fact that I’ve become a creature of habit. When I go to my favorite pizza joint, I order the mushroom without a glance at the new offerings, much to the dismay of my more adventurous spouse. For exercise, I don’t have an ounce of curiosity about the trendy new fitness studios on Ventura Boulevard. Running suits me perfectly. 

So when I became obsessed with golf two years ago, it rocked my middle-aged world. I found myself watching golf swing videos on YouTube and pro events on weekends. I read about the latest shafts and golf ball technology and practiced my swing in public. A large part of this obsession I owe to Weddington Golf & Tennis. Two minutes from my house, its no-frills public facilities and ridiculously affordable fees made falling in love with the sport easy.

In April, Weddington will close its doors for good. (The land has been purchased by the Harvard-Westlake School.) It’s been a Valley institution since 1957, and I’m sad I only discovered it in its twilight. But I’ve made the most of it, going at least once a week for the past year, usually to the driving range, sometimes to the par-3 course, and rarely to the putting green. (Perhaps that’s why I still three-putt far too often.) Occasionally friends would tag along, but the unassuming vibe made it easy to go solo. Regardless, memories abound. I’ll never forget the early Sunday morning round when my friend Steve hit a hole in one on the first hole. Or the time fellow newbie golfer Ted nearly took out a grazing rabbit with a worm-burner on hole 4. Or when lefty Grant hit out of bounds on hole 9, ricocheting a ball off of a neighbor’s well-placed fence. Most vivid are the twilight rounds I played by myself in the summer, often getting the last tee time, with the warm sun setting and the evening gnats flying around my head while I tried to split the 7-foot gap between the towering eucalyptus trees on hole 5. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sound of my ball hitting one of the oil drums on the driving range, the deafening clank of successful aim. 

I consider Weddington my first golf course. It’s where I “grew up” as a player. It’s where I experimented and tinkered with my swing. It’s where the game finally clicked for me, only to lose it the next time out. It will forever be included in my category of firsts, along with first kiss, first car, first pet, etc. Like those memories, Weddington has made an indelible mark on my life.

I’m planning my last visit before April. I know it will be bittersweet. I’ll buy a large bucket and take my swings at the range. I’ll head to the course and play my last round alongside the frightening number of ground squirrels. Maybe I’ll even putt a little. As I pull out of the parking lot for the last time, I’ll say goodbye and offer my gratitude to the humble golf course that became one of my life’s sweetest surprises.

Richard Lowe lives in Studio City with his wife Chelsee and their two daughters.