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In 1964, Harry Summers, the original developer of Rancho Bernardo, announced organization of a private golf club - the Rancho Bernardo Golf Club, if at least 200 golfers elected to join.

Subsidized monthly dues were guaranteed for two years at $30 per month for family members and $22.50 for single members, including the privilege of playing the West Course at reduced fees and using your own cart there with no additional fee.

With these bargain rates as bait, there were 261 members on the rolls when the course was ready for play in August, 1967.

Original Bylaws provided for a seven-man board of directors, with four appointed by Summers and three elected by the members. Effective control remained with Summers and his employees.

In 1969, AVCO Community Developers acquired all the Summers property in Rancho Bernardo, including the Inn and the RBGC. Then they selected the four company directors to serve on the board and AVCO employees to conduct the affairs of the club.

In the seventies Lou Barton, who had served two years as a member-elected director, realized that ACVO had no real interest in long term ownership of either the Inn or the golf courses and spearheaded a committee that negotiated with AVCO for an amendment to our lease agreement that gave the club the right to match any offer for the purchase of the Rancho Bernardo Golf Club.

In 1975 such an offer was submitted by J.C. Resorts, Inc. as part of a package that included the purchase of the Inn, the West Course and the Oaks North Course. The time for decision - and action - had arrived.

After much effort, a plan was developed and presented to the membership. Approval did not come instantaneously, nor was it easy. Final papers were signed and filed just 15 minutes before a deadline which could have meant loss of the club.

A new golf club was born, new even though it continued to operate under the old name. The first board of directors elected by the membership consisted of Tom Major, President, Lloyd Carswell, Al Bowser, Bob Alexander, Waldo Mauritz, Bob Mitchell and Ham Ries. Carswell, Alexander and Ries also served as club presidents in later years.

The new Board then tackled the task of effecting an orderly transition. That the priorities as they established them were soundly conceived and is attested to by the fact that they remain the foundations of the club and its management.

Many members have served as president. In addition, a host of members have made valuable contributions as members of committees. We should be thankful for the efforts of everyone who has made a contribution to the years in which improvement has been made to our club.

The Club Bylaws had to be completely rewritten. They now describe powers retained by the members, the authority granted to the elected Board of Directors, and the committee system.
The golf course purchased by our members was an interesting layout, with a great deal of variety in the eighteen holes and a number of beautiful panoramic views to help you forget your poor scores. But there were problems to be solved. During the last years of AVCO ownership the level of maintenance had been allowed to slip, especially in water supply and spots on the course where carts could be mired in muddy areas.

Under the new leadership, concrete cart path drainage ditches were built along the 3rd, 10th and 16th fairways. French drains were installed to drain the soggiest areas. The capacity of our lakes was increased and new more powerful pumps purchased to move the water to where it was needed. Several wells have been drilled to provide some self-sufficiency.

A golf course architect was hired as a consultant to analyze our course and proposed changes that could make it even more pleasant for our members to play. Not all of his recommendations were accepted but we have altered the contours of some fairways, added a few bunkers, and modified and moved a few tees, in strategic locations. The tree planning program was accelerated when an invasion of pine moths attacked and killed a large percentage of our mature pines.

We have continued to improve the capability and efficiency of our grounds maintenance equipment. The quality of the grass on our fairways, tees, greens, and rough has been is greatly improved. Our golf course is in better shape than ever before due to qualified professional course superintendents and maintenance team.
Our 1976 clubhouse was grossly inadequate for the needs of a 400 plus member club but we could do nothing about it until we could build a new maintenance area with structures to house and service the new grounds-keeping equipment.

The first modification to the clubhouse was mere shifting of partitions to give desk space for a couple of bookkeepers to handle our records. This was not enough space and the members approved construction of a new pro shop in a separate building. This allowed the office staff to expand and even gave room for a computer that now handles all the club’s essential records.

The major construction project was the 1984-85 rebuilding of the major portion of the clubhouse. The membership somehow struggled along with no clubhouse facilities for nearly a year while workmen gutted the old structure and made wholesale changes to the interior. This clubhouse served us faithfully for thirteen more years. 

The next major change came in August of 1997, when over 70% of the voting membership of the Club supported the demolition of the old clubhouse and pro shop, and the construction of an entirely new facility. Construction began in 1998, with completion in early 1999.

The beautiful new clubhouse encompasses a cocktail lounge, grill room and large dining room as well as a smaller private dining room. It also has separate men’s and ladies’ lounges with lockers and shower facilities. A strategically located pro shop and an underground area for cart storage, bag storage and general club storage are also a part of the approximately 20,000 square foot facility. A modern kitchen, professionally designed to provide the support needed for a large and active membership, rounded out the new facility. Several words describe the special aspects of our new clubhouse: exceptionally functional; extraordinary views from virtually all social spaces; and comfortable elegance in décor and ambience.

The Country Club of Rancho Bernardo

In July 1998, the membership, weary of being confused with the Rancho Bernardo Inn, and wishing to be known by a name which better matched its new clubhouse, voted to do business as “The Country Club of Rancho Bernardo”. A new logo designed by member Pete Eaton, was gradually phased in on stationary, signage signs and on flags on the greens around the golf course. The transition was complete by the time the new clubhouse opened for business.