The Rich History of La Quinta Country Club
The Members of La Quinta Country Club are proud of the traditions and fine reputation that have developed since the Club opened in 1959.
The following is the story of our Club which had its beginnings in the minds and imaginations of men who looked at barren, treeless desert and saw lush fairways, elaborate homes and fountain filled lakes.
On March 12, 1959, the Articles of Incorporation were signed forming The La Quinta Country Club. The standards for the new Club were high. The founders took 130 acres of sand and sagebrush and said, “We are going to create a country club that will be unequaled in the Coachella Valley.” Through the years and efforts of many, The La Quinta Country Club has become a well established and highly regarded private equity Club boasting one of the finest golf courses anywhere, friendliest people, and highest standards of service to its Members.
The day was Friday, November 15, 1959 when Representatives from the political and entertainment worlds were ready tee off on the newly opened course. Our first clubhouse was described as being “one of the most beautiful clubhouses in the area. Early Members called it “The Shack”, and they loved it. It was simple, unpretentious, informal–and it projected a feeling of warmth and friendliness.
La Quinta Country Club got off to a quick start in the golfing world. Just three weeks after its opening, 90 players who were eliminated from the U.S. Senior Open played their consolation tournament at La Quinta. In March 1960 ABC-TV’s “All Star Golf” was inaugurated at The La Quinta Country Club. PGA titlest and La Quinta Country Club Member, Bob Rosburg, met toe to toe with tempestuous Tommy Bolt, the 1958 National Open Champion. Billy Casper, Lloyd Mangrum, Eric Monti, Julius Boros and Paul Runyan all participated in the first ever televised series.
On October 23, 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower flew in on his helicopter to dedicate The La Quinta Country Club.
In January 1962 Jack Nicklaus had just turned pro. He was young and relatively unknown–and so was The La Quinta Country Club. NBC-TV was on hand to show both of them to the world. And for each one of them, it was the start of something big.
By 1963 CBS-TV began their CBS Match Play Classic. The tournament featured sixteen two-man teams of professional golfers in a match play format. The matches were played in the fall and shown throughout the winter. Competing teams of Sam Snead, Tony Lema, Art Wall, Doug Ford, Julius Boros, George Bayer, Dave Regan, Billy Casper and Gene Littler helped launch golf into everyone’s home.
By 1964 La Quinta had become part of the Palm Springs Golf Classic which would be known as the Bob Hope Classic and eventually the Humana Challenge. More than any other single event, the Bob Hope Classic brought national attention to the Club adding excitement, prestige, and popularity.
In 1966, a beautiful new Spanish-themed clubhouse opened to replace “The Shack”. The sparkling new clubhouse was called “the jewel of the desert”, and it lived up to that name in the years that followed.
The past and present Members of La Quinta reads like a Who’s Who of America’s power brokers and entertainment world. Frank Capra, Earl “Red” Blaik, President Gerald Ford, Governor Edmund P. Brown, Edgar Eisenhower, professional sports figures Bob Rosburg, John Brodie, Jimmy Powell, George Blanda, Jackie Parker, Chuck Knox and entertainers Clint Eastwood and Andy Williams are just a few who call La Quinta “their” club.
The 1970′s brought on a new decade of history for The La Quinta Country Club. Equity Members who had joined the Club during the 60′s were finding that the relationship between the country club and the hotel owners was not what they had bargained for. Over the next several years, the Club’s Members fought with the hotel owners to claim the rights to their membership. On September 23, 1977 the membership voted 341 to 8 in favor of purchasing the golf course transforming La Quinta Country Club into a truely Member-owned and Member-managed Club.
The 1980′s and 1990′s really set the foundation for the future of La Quinta Country Club. The Members knew they had one of the best golf courses anywhere and a clubhouse in need of some repair and yet they still had the spirit of giants. Past presidents and Members dedicated themselves during these years to remodel and upgrade the golf course and clubhouse.
Today, La Quinta Country Club Members enjoy an incredible 37,000 square foot, two story Santa Barbara style clubhouse and a Championship 18-hole course. It is fitting that this Club remains timeless, stately, sophisticated, inviting and a perfect expression of who we are as a Club.