The mechanic behind the 2023 U.S. Open Golf Championship

Humberto Sanchez Jr. is the man behind the equipment at the Los Angeles Country Club.


Humberto Sanchez Jr. in the mechanic shop at the Los Angeles Country Club during the 2023 U.S. Open Golf Championship
Humberto Sanchez Jr., lead mechanic at the Los Angeles Country Club, started at the facility 28 years ago. Photo by Howard Richman

When he was born, Humberto Sanchez Jr.’s parents were overjoyed.

“I was their only boy,” says Sanchez, one of five children who ultimately was sandwiched between two older and two younger sisters. “They were really happy.”

You can only imagine their pride once he became quite the man. In fact, when it comes to all things equipment at the Los Angeles Country Club’s grounds maintenance department, Sanchez is the man. As lead mechanic at LACC, Sanchez plans to operate as usual at the highest level. The world will be watching.

The Los Angeles Country Club is the center of golf’s universe when it comes to major championships right now. The 123rd U.S. Open is there this week — the first major in the facility’s history. Just like the tournament’s elite golfers who hope to perform at peak performance, Sanchez is determined to help the course live up to the expectations to a worldwide audience.

“We had the Walker Cup in 2017, but never something like this,” he says.

Sanchez was born in 1975 practically next door to LACC at UCLA Health. Being the lone boy in the family, he began manufacturing his own fun at an early age.

“I really had nobody to play with. I remember I always was trying to figure things out, how things worked,” Sanchez says. “I was curious how things worked. I would see my cousins always working on their cars. I was always hanging around them.”

He got the hang of it eventually. As a teen, Sanchez learned how to do oil changes. He fixed bicycles. When he became a father at 19, he needed a job. His father, Humberto Sanchez Sr., was employed at LACC starting in 1981 in what then was known as the paint room and currently the woodshop.

“Anything that needed to be painted, he did it,” says Sanchez Jr., who hung around his father often at LACC. “He pained this maintenance shop.”

The son listened to the father’s advice to apply for a job at LACC and started 28 years ago as a temp before moving to the cart barn. In 1998, he was named assistant mechanic. Around 2007, Sanchez was promoted and worked under then-director of golf courses and grounds Russ Myers. “He had a lot of trust in me. He kind of let me run my program the best I could,” Sanchez says.

Nowadays, Director of Golf Courses and Grounds Chris Wilson is a Sanchez fan. “He knows what we do. He’s really good,” Wilson says.

When his son was elevated at LACC, Sanchez Sr. gathered the entire family for a celebration. “We had a family dinner,” Sanchez Jr., says, “and he said to my sisters, ‘Look at what your brother accomplished.’”

Two years ago, the elder Sanchez passed away. Yet his words at that memorable family outing live on. “He was so proud. Just so proud,” Sanchez Jr. says.

One can only imagine what his father would be thinking this week. Sanchez is determined to ensure his three staff members and the four volunteers on hand make a statement with their work.

“We want to go out there and let people see what we have done with the machinery. The quality of the cut. Everything,” Sanchez says, “and that this was us. We want to make everyone proud.”

Howard Richman is GCM's associate editor.