It all began in 1897 when the club's first facility of nine holes was built in Balboa Park on land donated by the City of San Diego. The 495 yard second hole stretched from what is now the San Diego Zoo parking lot to the green situated on the site of the Old Globe Theatre. The original 300 square foot clubhouse was enlarged in 1898 and equal sized locker rooms were added, as there were as many women members as men. In 1904, the voting membership recorded 77 women and 77 men and by 1910 the Club membership numbered 233 members. Further expansion was necessary, and the Club built a two-story clubhouse complete with a ballroom, eating facilities and 142 lockers for $11,300.
In 1914, the Club was evicted, due to construction for the 1915 Pan American Exposition in Balboa Park. It was then agreed to merge with sporting goods magnate A.G. Spaulding's Point Loma Golf Club located in Loma Portal, just west of what now is the San Diego airport. The Loma Portal clubhouse was very grand and there was an eighteen-hole course, part of which can still be seen as one of the Sail Ho Golf Course in the Naval Training Center. However, due to World War 1 and the influx of military and the subsequent residential development of the area, the Club decided that a more permanent site was required.
In 1920, 157 acres was purchased in Chula Vista because of the reasonable price and the availability of an ample water supply. On September 3, 1921, the 23,000 square foot clubhouse, designed by the noted architect, Richard S. Requa, and the golf course designed by a young William Watson, were officially opened. The course featured the first grass greens in San Diego County when sand greens were the standard of the time. William Watson designed many great courses including site of multiple U.S. Opens, Olympic Club, Lake course; Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota, site of the Bobby Joneís U. S. Open victory in 1930, the year of his Grand Slam; Olympia Fields in Chicago, site of the 2003 U. S. Open; Harding Park (Presidentís Cup) and Hacienda.
The Depression required stringent belt-tightening on the part of the Club. Other financial challenges were presented during World War II when many of the Club's members enlisted in the war effort. Salvation to the Club's solvency came in the form of the Rohr Aircraft Company's proposal to adopt the Club as an employee recreation center. By May 1945, there were more than 300 golfing members. One highlight of this period was in 1947 when a 36-hole match was promoted between Ben Hogan and Dai Rees, the British Open Champion.
San Diego Country Club member Andy Borthwick was instrumental in creating PGA Tourís San Diego Open and the Club hosted the first two events in 1952 (won by Ted Kroll) and in 1953 (won by Tommy Bolt). The tournament, played at Torrey Pines since 1968, is now called the Farmers Insurance Open. In October 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower addressed a Rotary Club luncheon from the eighteenth green. In 1964, the US Women's Open Championship was held at San Diego Country Club and was won by Mickey Wright, a native San Diegan who was a junior member of the club as a teenager in the early fifties.
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San Diego Country Club is not only historic, but it also has been named by Golf Digest as one of the Best in State golf courses in California.
The present 37,000 square foot clubhouse facility was dedicated in 1989. Simultaneously, fifteen greens were redesigned and rebuilt. The Club boasts an ongoing parade of champions, men, women and juniors on the national, state and local levels. The members are especially proud of one former caddie and junior player, Billy Casper, for whom the Billy Casper Grill is named. His prodigious accomplishments are well known, but the Club is most pleased that he enjoyed his honorary membership until his death in 2015, playing many rounds with longtime friends as well as actively participating in Club activities.
In August of 1993, the Club was honored to host the 93rd U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. Players came from 35 states and 7 European countries to compete in the national championship, which proved to be an outstanding test of golf and was most memorable for players and spectators alike. Jill McGill of USC, defeated Sarah Ingram 1 up in a thrilling 36-hole match, won the Championship.
SDCC was again honored to host the 117th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship in August 2017. One hundred fifty six players came from 21 countries to compete for this championship and it was broadcast live on Fox Sports for the final five days. Sophia Schubert of Tennessee and a rising senior at the University of Texas prevailed over Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland and attending Stanford University.
The Club twice has hosted the prestigious Pacific Coast Amateur Championship one of the nationís premier menís events. Brock Mackenzie won at five under par 283 in 2002 and Mike Knight won in 2007.
In 1992 San Diego Country Club joined the rotation for the Century Club Matches, an annual Ryder Cup-style event between the countyís 12 top club professionals and 12 amateurs.
The club hosted the Southern California Amateur Championship in 2013 won by Beau Hossler over Xander Schauffele who became PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2017.
The club has also hosted an annual men's Intercollegiate tournament, U S Open, U S Amateur and U S Senior Open qualifying and the 2013 Southern California Golf Association Amateur Championship, all of which testify to the superb design and conditioning found at San Diego Country Club. In 2016 the Southern California Golf Association's Fore Magazine named San Diego Country Club as having the best greens in Southern California which also was evident in the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship broadcast. Announcers Julie Inkster and Brad Faxon also praised the club's bunkers as pure and outstanding.