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The CGA at 40: Still swinging

February 16, 2012

From left, Big Spring Chicano Golf Association charter members Jimmy Marin, Billy Pineda and Bobby Cordova are shown recently. The CGA was formed in 1970 to promote golf in the Hispanic community and to raise funds for needy families in the area, and that mission continues today, members say. (HERALD photo/Amanda Moreno)

Five guys with a love for golf and the desire to help the community ended up creating a legacy that’s still making waves 40 years later.

Jimmy Marin, Gilbert Reyna, Nativade Nunez, Charlie Gonazles and Albert Gonzales all had a love for golf and the desire to help the community. Marin, the last one left of the Fab Five, is enjoying watching a legacy leave its mark.

Marin started playing golf in 1966 and a little more than 10 years later, he was part of something that would end up being bigger than he or any of the others could imagine — the Big Spring Chicano Golf Association.

“At the time there were quite a few Spanish guys playing golf, but if we wanted to play in tournaments we were playing with the white guys,” Jimmy Marin, founding member of CGA, said.

After Marin had been playing golf for a few years, Nunez moved to town in 1970, and the two got together and had the idea to start a golf association. At first the meetings were held at the Texaco station owned by Marin and then David Gomez — who was made an honorary member — offered the upper floor of Carlos’ Restaurant as a meeting site.

According to Marin, to play golf today costs around $40; back in 1970, it cost $1.50.

“Golf was a way we relaxed and just had fun,” Marin said. “However, part of starting the association was because we wanted to help the community in any way we could.”

In the beginning, the five members offered in the form of assistance for funerals and other needs. In 1990, the association decided to start offering scholarships. CGA offers $500 scholarships to area students.

“We started out as a way to get together, relax, have fun and help people out,” Bobby Cordova, president of the CGA, said. “With the help of all our members — good quality members — we are continuing to do just that.”

The association has grown to include 106 members and continues to grow and pull in the younger generation, Cordova said.

“An organization is only as good as their members and we wouldn’t be able to be where we are without them,” CGA member Billy Pineda said.

“We have a lot of younger people joining and playing golf. They are the ones who need to take the torch and run with it,” Marin said.

Even though the organization — and a lot of other things — have changed since its inception, the founding principles is still there — the desire to help those in need and the pleasure of playing golf.

“There is always someone who needs help,” Marin said. “I think that's part of the reason we have continued this long. We do what we can to donate what they need when they need it.”

A few years ago, the association held a fundraiser tournament with proceeds to benefit the reconstruction of the Kid Zone. Through that fundraiser, the association was able to present the city with a donation of $7,000. Yearly fundraisers are also held to benefit other area needs such as Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Cordova said.

This Sunday, the association will continue its mission by hosting the annual membership tournament at Comanche Trail Golf Course. Registration will take place from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. and a shotgun start will be at 10 a.m.

“This is a chance for those who want to be a member to come out and join us,” Corodva said.

The membership fee is $25 a year. Participants will receive a free meal during the tournament and plaques will be awarded to first through third places.

To find out more information about the association, contact Cordova at 432-935-0533; Sgt. at Arms Mark Juarez at 432-260-5535; Secretary Louis Porras at 432-517-0688; or Treasurer Larry Mendoza at 432-816-1684.

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