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PHOTOS: MILLER BROWN


Neville’s design for No. 4 plays very similar to this day, a lasting tribute to his early genius. William Watson used many of the same natural elements Neville found so appealing.


found so appealing. Watson featured the majestic oaks and grassy hollows, but he also incorporated the gentle rises of the property, known as Railroad Ranch. Elevated tee boxes, stun- ning vistas and a ridge line green are elements that give today’s player an appreciation for the difference between these two iconic designers. Soon after his work at


Diablo, these elements also became features at Watson’s epic Olympic Club designs. An amazing 11 U.S.


Opens have been played on courses designed by Watson and Neville. Diablo Country Club proudly celebrates its place in history as the only course in the world that can enjoy the work of both designers. Diablo has hosted professional exhibitions, the Northern California Open Championship, USGA Amateur Championship


qualifiers and U.S. Senior Open qualifiers. Neville’s playing career as


a five-time California State Amateur Champion has never been equaled, but his success has been an inspira- tion for generations of Diablo members. In 1934, Diablo’s Stewart Hawley Jr. was crowned champion. In 2009, Diablo’s Geoff Gonzalez, who owns a share of the cur- rent Diablo course record at 62, was both low qualifying medalist and the California State Amateur Champion at Lake Merced GCC. But Diablo’s history


extends beyond its centennial celebration. When Burgess purchased the property, it housed several buildings that still stand today. The original property was known in 1874 as the Railroad Ranch, reflect- ing the Southern Pacific/Cen- tral Pacific ownership group of David Colton, Leland


Stanford, Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker and Collis Huntington. Colton even- tually purchased the ranch from his partners and began breeding and racing world- class pacers and trotters on the magnificent parcel of land. Elements of the ranch


are the signature elements of today’s Diablo. The Carriage Lounge (circa 1880) is the heart of the clubhouse. A Grand Barn (circa 1885) be- came the Red Horse Tavern. Trees that lined the turn of the racetrack 130 years ago provide framing for the 16th hole, and an 1890 cupola tops the snack shack at the center of this parkland golf course. Today, Diablo Country Club blends its historic past with important features of today. The Legacy Tees, a 6,134-yard layout with a slope of 129 and a par 71, plays much as the original designers intended. The


Macdonald Smith Tees pro- vide a stern challenge for the low-handicap players, a true test of golf at 6,766 yards, with a slope of 139 and a par 71. Diablo Country Club Di-


rector of Golf Jason Walter fol- lows a strong tradition of play- ing and teaching professionals at the club. In its beginnings, Diablo was the West Coast home of Carnoustie pros im- migrating to America. Today, Jason utilizes his two decades of PGA experience by leading his professional staff both as a teacher and competitor. Built as Northern Califor-


nia’s first family oriented club, Diablo also proudly embraces a leadership role with its vibrant ladies’ groups, and a highly successful junior program. It is this welcoming family atmo- sphere that keeps Diablo true to its legacy—A Community Built with an Ideal. –David Mackesey, president, Diablo Country Club


WINTER 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 53


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