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On the Town: Women are joining men’s groups for the first time

On the Town: Women are joining men’s groups for the first time
Members of Glendale's Scholl Canyon Golf Club are, from left, Tom Borys, President Ron Sowers and board member Harold Anderson having lunch at the Canyon Grille at DeBell in Burbank. (Joyce Rudolph / Glendale News-Press)

Two local organizations that have always been male-specific are having women apply for membership.

The 37-year-old Scholl Canyon Men's Golf Club is adding women to drive up dwindling membership and help female players become more comfortable with competing.

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The club is now known as the Scholl Canyon Golf Club.

The men's club began in 1981, the same year the nine-hole course opened.

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The club had between 40 and 50 active players, said Harold Anderson, a 10-year member.

There was also a woman's golf club with some 60 active members.

Anderson, a Glendale native and now a Burbank resident, has played at Scholl since it opened. He is a board member of the club and is in charge of rules interpretation.

The course was closed in 1989, Anderson said, because the methane gas emissions generated from the landfill it is built on became a health hazard.

After the property was cleaned up, the course was reconfigured and expanded to 18 holes and was rededicated in 1994.

Five of the newly designed holes were extremely difficult for access as well as play, so the women's club left for the Arroyo Seco Golf Course, par 3, in Pasadena.

When the men's club returned to regular play in 1994, it had 30 members. But now the club has between 15 to 24 players, Anderson said.

President Ron Sowers wanted to build membership, and Anderson recommended the club start admitting women, so the bylaws were changed last month.

"We are welcoming women who are interested in playing Scholl Canyon on a regular basis and playing competitive golf," Anderson said. "We want members to strive to play at the best level they can and enjoy the company of the membership."

I asked Anderson if the difficult holes would still scare away new female members, but he said there are really only three difficult ones, but the rest are fun to play because of the short distance between the tee-off and the holes — par 3's.

"The length of the holes is good for three groups of players — women, senior adults and junior golfers ages 8 to 16," said club member Lynn McGinnis.

"But it's also good for more experienced golfers who want to work on their short game — chipping and putting," he added.

The course has uphill, downhill and sidehill lies, fast greens and sand traps on all but one hole. There is a driving range on the property and, because the course is atop the Verdugo Mountains, the views are spectacular.

The club is inviting the public to attend a guest tournament beginning at 7 a.m. April 21.

To register, call Anderson at (818) 842-1675.

Another group having women join for the first time is the Glendale Elks Lodge #1289. As it begins its 106th year, it has had the first six women apply for membership, said Joe Allen, chair of trustees of the board of directors.

"We wanted to be more inclusive, and we wanted to make sure they have representation, and the six applicants are already very active in other civic groups within the community and within business and are going to be dynamic additions to the lodge," he said.

"It will open the door for increased membership and allow the Elks to have a healthier profile in the city," he added.

Although the national governing body of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks officially changed its rules in 1995 to allow women to join the organization, there have been no females sponsored for membership at the Glendale Lodge.

The main reason is because there is a women's auxiliary already in place — the Emblem Club #104.

It takes a certain woman to want to be the first of something, Allen added.

The timing was just right and the right candidates became interested in membership.

"I think these women are going to attract even more women to be a part of our lodge," he said.

To become a member, visit elks.org and click on the "membership" tab.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at rudolphjoyce10@gmail.com.

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