Diablo Country Club was the dream of founder, Robert Nobel Burgess. It became a reality in 1914, and his vision of creating “A Community Built with an Ideal” was born. A world class golf course, orchards, community gardens, chalets, the Red Horse Tavern, a dairy, stock farm, and post office were served by an electric rail service to the heart of the community from the Berkeley pier, 28 miles east.
When Burgess purchased the property in 1912, it came with several of the buildings that still stand today. The original property was known in 1874 as the Railroad Ranch, reflecting the Southern Pacific/Central Pacific ownership group of David Colton, Leland Stanford, Charles Crockett, Mark Hopkins and Collin Huntington. Colton eventually purchased the shares of the ranch from his partners and began breeding and racing world class pacers and trotters on the magnificent ranch.
The Carriage Lounge (circa 1880), largely unchanged, stands today at the center of the Club House to welcome members and guest, as it has for over 130 years. The golf course, originally designed by golf legends, Jack Neville and William Watson, meanders through the valleys that were once orchards, lakes, and the one and one quarter mile race track of days past. Diablo soon became the west coast home of Carnoustie golf professionals immigrating to America. Many in the Smith Family of Carnoustie, the most successful golfing family in America, worked and lived at Diablo from its origin and into the 1930’s.
Diablo country Club features a unique blend of its historic past and conveniences of today. The golf course has been lengthened to 6700 yards, while staying true to the well bunkered, smaller greens of years past. The bust of the original Red Horse, namesake of the tavern in 9117, proudly welcomes patrons to enjoy a casual meal or beverage. The post office continues as the social center, at the heart of the community, adjacent to the first tee box. Eucalyptus trees, planted 120 years ago as a race track wind break, frame the picturesque 16th hole. Stately oak trees, that measure their age in hundreds of years, are a feature from every vantage point throughout this parkland course.
Thanks to the cooperation and assistance of the Diablo Country Club and its members, the iconic mountain, Diablo, became a state park when ownership was turned over to the State. It remains the proud backdrop to one of California’s earliest and most historic golf clubs.
Source: Diablo Country Club