Dick Shortz stood beside the No. 1 tee box at Los Angeles Country Club this week and surveyed the remodeled clubhouse and double-decker chalets running down the first fairway.
“This started as a dream,” he said. “Now it’s a thrill.”
Shortz, a longtime LACC member and past president, led the effort to bring the U.S. Open to the club for the first time, helping convince a membership otherwise entirely happy to fly under the radar, just as it had for decades.
It wasn’t a virtuoso performance, as Shortz is quick to note. There were many people behind the effort, among them Don Rice, the late John Weaver and John Chulick, who along with Shortz is co-chair of the club’s U.S. Open committee.
But no one was as singularly focused as the quiet and friendly Shortz about bringing the major championship to the club for the first time — and back to the city for the first time in 75 years.
“We wouldn’t be enjoying the Open back here in Los Angeles without Dick’s leadership,” said Austin Beutner, an LACC member and former Los Angeles Times publisher.
This is the culmination of more than a decade of work, during which time LACC played host to the 2017 Walker Cup and underwent a major clubhouse renovation.
“Change doesn’t always happen quickly,” Shortz said. “There was concern among some members about having the eyes of the world on us.”
In the end, he said, 90% of club members supported the idea of playing host to the Open.
“When we finally went to the membership, they were very supportive of the whole idea of making the club a more prominent member of the golf world,” he said, “if not a leader of the golf world in L.A.”