VISTA CHAPTER HISTORY
The Vista Chapter of SCMAGA is very fortunate to be able to trace back its origin to the late 1950's and the beginning of two separate and distinct groups whose love of golf led them to where we are today.
The Mexican American Golf Association (MAGA) was founded by Nash Fernandez in the late 1950's to fulfill the needs of Mexican American golfers in central California. Interest grew quickly, and it soon blanketed the central, as well as the northern portion, of the state of California.
In the early 1960's, Mr. Fernandez shared his interest in MAGA with his friend, Nick Negrete, also an avid golfer. Mr. Negrete brought the MAGA message to Orange County, and the southern chapter of the Mexican American Golf Association was formed. The Orange County Chapter grew quickly and shortly thereafter, the County of Los Angeles became an Orange County Chapter member.
By the mid-1960's, Los Angeles and Orange Counties decided to form separate chapters in the interest of strengthening the voting power of the Southern California chapters to equal that of the central and northern chapters. Also, the interests of San Bernardino, Riverside and Coachella Valley, having recently joined the Association, had to be adequately represented.
By the early 1970's, the southern area of MAGA (Orange and Los Angeles Counties) had grown to the point that the membership felt that the disparity in interest between the north, central and southern chapters was such that it would behoove the south to separate and seek it’s own association. Several vigorous attempts were made to maintain a state wide association but, due to the geographic separation, all efforts failed.
In 1974, the southern chapters of MAGA separated from the northern MAGA and officially became the Southern California Mexican American Golf Association (SC MAGA). In May of 1999, SC MAGA celebrated it’s twenty fifth anniversary. The Association continues to grow and affords it’s members the opportunities to enjoy a variety of social events while continuing “to foster, encourage, promote, advance and create interest in the practice of golf”. SC MAGA currently consists of ten chapters: Carlsbad, Los Angeles, Orange County, Ontario, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay and Vista.
In 1957, the Latin American Golf Club was established by the Mena family, namely the five brothers and father-Pablo Mena. Mr. Mena was the Greens Superintendent at the Circle R Golf Course. The course Pro was Rags Ragland, who guided the Latin American Golf Club in it’s infancy. Leo Mena became the first President. Tony Ontiveros, a former member of the SC MAGA-Vista Chapter, was a charter member and the Sargent at Arms.
In the year 1961, the organization moved from Escondido to Vista with Tony Lopez as President. Membership ranged around sixty golfers.
In 1966, the Latin American Golf Club made the move to Carlsbad and established its meeting place at Lola’s Store on Roosevelt Street and Walnut Avenue. Tony Mata was then President and Tournament Chairman. Ray Jimenez and Conrad Macedo, to name a few, became Presidents in the later years. Membership had grown to about eighty-eight golfers. Not being members of SCGA, handicaps were established and administered by Henry Trejo.
The Latin American Golf Club was persuaded to establish their home base at the new San Luis Rey Downs Golf Club by the course Pro, George Stuper. Green fees were $ 3.00 at the time. While the Latin American Golf Club was a successful organization, it could not achieve entry as a member of SCGA because it did not have a country club status or recognition as a bonafide golf club.
The year 1974 saw the golf club being approached by members of the newly formed SC MAGA to become the sixth chapter in the new organization. Delegates from the Orange County Chapter, including Ray Jara, Alex Requejo and Sal Galindo, as well as from the Los Angeles Chapter, met with Tony Mata and Chuy Villasenor to discuss the acceptance of the then Latin American Golf Club as the southern most chapter in the SC MAGA.
In 1975, the golf club was recognized as the SC MAGA-Carlsbad Chapter. Membership was around eight-eight golfers and membership dues to SC MAGA was $ 3.00 annually per member. Membership to SCGA was $ 17.00 per year. Several of the advantages to becoming SCGA members were a bi-monthly magazine, a computerized handicap and a membership card. Monthly golf tournaments were now being organized and held by the Chapter. The Chapter was also increasing its membership dramatically.
Finally, in 1989, following many discussions by the membership of the SC MAGA-Carlsbad Chapter, it was decided to form a new chapter to relieve the overcrowded conditions at the Carlsbad Chapter tournaments. At the time, most local golf courses could not accommodate more then sixty golfers per tournament.
Bob Barron, Richard Castro, Dave Dominguez, Al Lara, Tony Mata and Ray Naffarette initiated the drive to charter a new chapter in the year 1990. The first meeting of the SC MAGA-Vista Chapter was held at the Tuscany Italian Ristorante in La Costa and Bob Barron was the first President .
Meetings were soon moved to the VFW Hall in San Marcos and within two years, were being held at Gerico’s Restaurant in Carlsbad. When the restaurant changed hands, the Vista Chapter found a home at the El Torito Restaurant in Oceanside. Every Tuesday following the second Sunday of the month golf tournament will find the Vista Chapter members there in lively discussion and comradery.
The second President of the SC MAGA-Vista Chapter was Al Lara in 1991-1992, followed by Richard Vásquez in 1993-1994, Ray Coronado in 1995-1996, Tony Mata in 1997-1998, Tom Welle in 1999-2000, Al Lara in 2001-2002, Mike Young 2003-2004, Ed Salgado 2005-2006, currently Jim Parker.