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NIMITZ GOLF: ONE LAST SWING

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By Robert Balajadia

"This is a great golf course, I really hate to see it go." - John Taitano

“This is a great golf course, I really hate to see it go.” – John Taitano (photo by Jesse Castro)

Simply put, the end of an era.

The Admiral Nimitz Golf Course was open for one last time on February 10, 2013 since opening in 1952. Due to a shortage in revenue over recent years, the sports landmark will be shutting down its military owned land to allocate the area towards other usage. What it will be used for is still unconfirmed.

“I have been here six years and I have seen a gradual decline in golf not just here but golf island wide. When the economy went bad a few years back everyone was suffering. The other golf courses cater mainly to tourist but we cater to the military and locals,” stated general manager Paul Vasquez.

The course usually hosts four big tournaments every year and of some minor events but the overall involvement in golf took a big hit following the economies recent struggles.

Paul Vasquez: General Manager

Paul Vasquez: General Manager

Friends and loyal golfers to the course spent the Sunday paying their final respects to a place they used to swing away as kids. Nimitz faithful Karl Pangelinan has been playing on the course since he was eight years old.

“It really is a bittersweet feeling, I grew up on this golf course. We had our all-island golf tournaments here and even post high school. On any given day you could find the top 10 golfers here just teeing it up,” stated Pangelinan.

For a sports venue that holds more value than the sport itself, golfers like Santino Sgambelluri recollects memories of Nimitz Golf Course just being a place to hang out with friends.

“I spent so much of my later high school days and early 20’s here, I have so many memories. Playing golf and playing music was my life, I was here at least four days a week. This is where I learned how to play golf,” stated Sgambelluri, who was also celebrating his daughter Sophia’s first birthday.

The “Last Hurrah” was well represented by a large crowed of golfers, which was more than Vasquez is used to seeing on the weekends but expected nothing less since it was the courses final day.

(from left) TJ Hubert, Ray Blas, Santino Sgambelluri, Karl Pangelinan.

(from left) TJ Hubert, Ray Blas, Santino Sgambelluri, Karl Pangelinan. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Golf is not too popular with the youth on Guam given the amount of youth who participate in it is not as high as the other sports. Pangelinan believes that junior golfers play as vital a part as any to a sport that seeks representation.

“It all starts with the kids and this place was a very important venue for junior golfers and that is really the key is to get the youth involved. The fact that this place is closing down is a little concerning to me but the key is to get the youth involved,” stated Pangelinan.

The tournament started at 12 p.m. and concluded with a final serving of food to celebrate a 50+ year tenure of golf on Guam.

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Since forming the GNYFF in 2009, the league has never gone without a season until 2020. The league announced their plans to cancel the 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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RIP: Former Guam football player Phil Mendiola, shown here with son Tano, passed away in Las Vegas due to a heart attack. Mendiola played for numerous Guam teams from youth to varsity. He was 39.
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Morgan McKenna (left with black face mask) poses for a photo with Guam Football Association Technical Director Sang Hoon Kim (seated, with blue face mask) and Guam Football Association Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa (standing) after signing his letter of commitment to play intercollegiate men’s soccer for Muskingum University in Ohio. The Fighting Muskies compete in NCAA Division III’s Ohio Athletic Conference.

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