– A little over a year and a half after the city turned over its municipal golf course over to new managers, Oceanside's Goat Hill Park
has reopened in grand fashion.
Apparel designer John Ashworth – the man behind both the Ashworth and Linksoul brands – and a handful of friends and volunteers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the newly redesigned course.
The property, on a hilly area east of Interstate 5, had become a burden on the city when a former managing company stopped paying rent and the city terminated its lease in 2010. It was in rough shape when Ashworth took it over and began the renovation project in July 2014.
"It's just really special to see a whole community come together and take something that was down and out and lift it back up," Ashworth said.
Over the years, the city has considered and rejected various proposals for the property, including a potential deal to turn part of the grounds into a soccer academy run by a Major League Soccer team. That proposal was scrapped when nearby residents and golfers argued against it.
The new management company headed by Ashworth agreed to spend at least $3.6 million upgrading the 63-year-old property over the next several years.
And though the work is not complete, longtime golfers and volunteers at the park say the difference is night and day.
"I think John's done an amazing job," said Peter Beames. "It's just wonderful."
The park has new landscaping, better grass, new golf carts and a new irrigation system using recycled water is under way.
"We were able to redo a lot of the parts that were too difficult for people," Ashworth said. "It's such as great course but there were just like 10 percent that were just not right so we were able to fix those parts to be more user friendly."
Goat Hill Park will also soon reopen its disc golf course. Ashworth said he is also looking at the possibility of bringing other sports to the property, including arrow golf, a new sport that combines aspects of golf and archery.
This article was written by Edward Sifuentes from The San Diego Union-Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.