Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2019

Golfing in Marin in 1923

By Laurie Thompson · June 26, 2019

Dr. Henry O. Howitt, Alice Oge & Marie Beale at the Marin Golf & Country Club clubhouse in 1911. <span>&copy; Anne T. Kent Rm/Howitt </span>

Dr. Henry O. Howitt, Alice Oge & Marie Beale at the Marin Golf & Country Club clubhouse in 1911.


Marin Golf & Country Club, San Rafael, 1911. Clubhouse in the background. <span>&copy; Anne T. Kent Rm/Howitt </span> Ben Upham, 2nd President of the Mill Valley Golf & Country Club, 1920s. <span>&copy; Anne T. Kent Rm/MVGC </span> Golfers at the Belvedere Golf & Country Club, 1924. Courtesy Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society. <span>&copy; Bel-Tib Landmarks </span>
attached documents:

On March 14, 1923, the San Francisco Chronicle profiled Marin County in a special 24-page supplement.  Although the supplement's intent was to promote Marin as a residential and recreational destination, viewed from today's perspective, it becomes a time-capsule of Marin as it was in 1923.

One article which caught my eye is titled "Three Golf Clubs Revel in Picturesque Marin Courses" by Hay Chapman. Chapman was a widely recognized authority on golf at the time and in 1922 had published Law of the links: Rules, Principles and Etiquette of Golf.

I'd like to share Mr. Chapman's article which highlights the Marin Golf and Country Club in San Rafael; Mill Valley Country Club; and the Belvedere Golf and Country Club:

"Marin county, which draws many San Franciscans to summer residence, besides having a considerable permanent colony of golfers, has three country clubs – the Marin County, Belvedere and Mill Valley.”

The Marin Golf and Country Club, established in 1908, is in reality an offshoot of a much older organization, the San Rafael Golf Club, which was founded about 1895, at the same time that golf had its beginning in California. The names of Harvey, a young Scot, and a fine golfer as well as an all-round athlete, the Gilman Browns, J. J. Crooks and the Hardys still linger in the traditions of the game around San Rafael. The old course has been used intermittently, and there has been for the last year a movement to establish a municipal course at San Vicente [St. Vincent's?]....”

“The present club has an excellent park course of nine holes and a delightful clubhouse, one of the attractions being an open-air swimming pool. Golf here has always been blended with social pleasures, and the clubhouse is frequently the scene of private parties, even of notable weddings and periodical dinner dances.”

“Leslie Davies is the professional at Marin, having succeeded Harold Clark, now at Ingleside, who for many years was connected with this club. George U. Hind is the president of the club and Ralph Palmer captain and chairman of the green committee.”

“Within a few minutes’ motor ride from the senior club of the county is the altogether charming Mill Valley Country Club, with another nine-hole course, constructed four years ago, and beautifully situated in wooded pastures, while from the eighth tee is one of the most glorious vistas of splendid Tamalpais. It is a perfect little park course, the membership is enthusiastic, while from the time of its establishment it has been most wisely managed, the directors from the start cutting their coat according to their cloth. The original investment was some $15,000. and the club completed its course and at first a very modest and cozy clubhouse on this capital. Such men as Godfrey Eacret, Ben Upham, the incumbent president, and John F. Forbes laid the foundations for assured success and an entirely delightful institution.”

“The Belvedere Golf and Country Club, established in 1914, is unique. On the almost island, with Sausalito as its town, all the year round residents turn from the delights of the bay to a round of golf on this goat-climbing but interesting course. Many improvements have been made here in the last two years and the club boasts among its membership the brothers Ritchie, who often lead its team to victory over the other clubs in Marin. Charles F. Preusser, now in the Orient, has been the inspiring worker for Belvedere. M. Pierce Cook, the Mailliards and Edgar Wilson are among the present leaders. The club is only eight miles from San Francisco by a delightful ferry trip.”

For more information on the history of the Mill Valley Golf & Country Club see Barry Spitz's book: Mill Valley the Early Years.

For further information on the history of the Belvedere Golf & Country Club see A Pictorial History of Belvedere, 1890-1990.

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