LACC alum returns for the U.S. Open

Lauren Lasocha, senior agronomist at Bel-Air Country Club, is volunteering at her old stomping grounds.


Lauren Lasocha at the 2023 U.S. Open
Lauren Lasocha is a senior agronomist at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. This week, however, she's volunteering that the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club, where she worked from 2016-2019. Photo by Howard Richman

This is old home week for Lauren Lasocha, in a literal sense.

Lasocha is on the volunteer roster for this week’s U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club. From 2016-19, she served as an assistant-in-training before ascending to assistant agronomist at the North Course, which is hosting the top golfers in the universe. When she was an AIT, Lasocha resided in one of the dorm rooms in the maintenance compound for a year.

These days, Lasocha lives across town and works as a senior agronomist at Bel-Air Country Club, where she has been stationed since early 2019.

This week, though, she is on familiar ground, and it feels right. Again.

“When I got here seven years ago, it was perfect timing,” Lasocha says.

The Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, native and seven-year GCSAA member studied at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. At Capilano Golf and Country Club in West Vancouver, Lasocha was on her way. The first day at the club in 2009 was, well, memorable.

“It was the frozen tundra. Even mulch beds were frozen,” says Lasocha.

The elements didn’t cool her enthusiasm for the industry. “I fell in love with maintenance,” she says.

Lasocha proved throughout her journey that she had no fear of going the extra mile to expand her industry horizons. She was on the turf care staff at Royal Sydney Golf Club in Australia and was a green department intern at The Kittansett Club in Marion, Mass. Her work there for 31-year GCSAA Class A superintendent John Kelly made an impact on him.

“You can tell when you’ve got good, intelligent young people that are going to go far. I had no doubt she was going to make it,” Kelly says.

Their time together helped Lasocha down the road. He connected her with then-LACC Director of Golf Courses and Grounds Russ Myers. Although he would leave shortly before Lasocha started at the club in May 2016, current LACC Director of Golf Courses and Grounds Chris Wilson welcomed her to the team after he replaced Myers.

“Chris took a chance on me,” she says.

It resulted in a prosperous partnership for Lasocha. She eventually took ownership of her duties on the North Course and excelled after quickly rising from intern to AIT to assistant. “Our team was like-minded individuals, and that motivates you. I was able to work hard with our staff, get to know the North Course, really dial it in,” says Lasocha, who got to experience the Walker Cup that LACC’s North Course oversaw in 2017.

Lasocha departed four years ago for Bel-Air CC, where she reunited with an old friend. Bel-Air CC Director of Golf Course and Grounds Justin DePippo worked at LACC for several years and headed the North Course until he took over at Bel-Air CC in late 2017.

Although Lasocha had known DePippo, she still had to familiarize herself at a new location. “It was almost like learning to walk again, re-learn things,” she says. “It was an awesome opportunity. They had just completed a full-course restoration under Tom Doak. Justin fine-tuned the operation. He’s great at how to do things more efficiently, thinking outside the box.”

DePippo, a 10-year GCSAA member, says of Lasocha, “She’s very passionate about the job and always looking to operate at the highest level. When your right hand is somebody who comes to work every day looking to constantly improve and drive the operation forward every single day, you know you are in as good as a spot as you can be in.”

It's been quite a year so far for Lasocha, and there’s more in store. After the U.S. Open this week, Bel-Air CC will host the U.S. Women’s Amateur Aug. 7-13. Already in May, Lasocha participated in GCSAA’s Education Task Group at GCSAA headquarters to discuss education topics for the 2024 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Phoenix.

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of Southern California’s Assistant Superintendent of the Year award recipient in 2022, Lasocha was recognized for the honor that is presented annually to an assistant who has made contributions for the betterment of the GCSASC, its members and the golf course superintendent profession.

As she spends this week among many former colleagues, Lasocha was asked what she has missed about LACC. “Sunsets on the back nine, on the high side of the property. You stare out at the Los Angeles skyline, see downtown LA and the lights at Dodger Stadium, and watch flights landing at LAX,” she says.

Howard Richman is GCM's associate editor

By all metrics, it certainly appears Lasocha’s career has had a successful takeoff.