12/23/2013 11:48 am ET

How Latino Immigrants Have Become Indispensable To This Sport

Peter Cade via Getty Images

The sky over Palm Springs, Calif., is still dark when Francisco Mora steps out of his house and into the cool desert air, wearing a gray work uniform and tattered low-top Chuck Taylors.

Although Mora is accustomed to rising at ungodly hours—its 4:30 in the morning—he looks to be in need of a long nap. “Ya soy viejo,” he says in Spanish, with a smile. (“I’m old.”)

Inside, his wife and seven children are asleep; the other homes on the cul-de-sac are quiet. He stifles a yawn and rubs his eyes. By now, the stocky 50-year-old has spent the better part of two decades mowing greens and raking bunkers in what amounts to an endless race against players eager to start smacking golf balls at first light. “I’m still strong,” he says, “but I’m starting to slow down.”

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