Diablo Country Club
Diablo Country Club's course, on over 120 acres of land, is recognized as one of the most desirable courses to play in the San Francisco Bay Area. The course is one of the best in Northern California with small demanding greens, tough par 3's and challenging bunkers. Included within the layout are five holes recognized as the best string of holes in the Bay Area. The course is designed for both walkers and carts and features views of surrounding countryside, including the spectacular Mt. Diablo nearby.
In 1912 charismatic entrepreneur, Robert Noble Burgess, purchased Oakwood Park Stock Farm that was previously owned by the Big Four (Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington & Mark Hopkins) and transformed it into a swank summer resort, attracting San Francisco's finest. On May 14, 1916 four special trains dubbed the "Millionaire Special" brought prospective buyers to what is now Diablo Country Club. Over 600 prospects came by train that day!
William R. Hearst, whom Burgess had been wooing to become his partner, compared the area to Yosemite as a California beauty spot. Hearst's newspapers touted the club nationwide. The San Francisco and Oakland society pages often featured articles about the parties and dances held at the club.
During the prosperous 1920's members took over the club. Families enjoyed Diablo Lake, swam in the "plunge", ate at the clubhouse or in the Red Horse Tavern and rode horses on Mt. Diablo's trails. A map of the San Ramon Valley showed the country club area to be larger than downtown Danville! The following was published about the club:
"The club has a membership of 400...Officers of the Mount Diablo Country Club are men noted in the financial, civic and community upbuilding circles of California, leaders in Golden State business and social achievements."
During World War II gas, tires, butter and shoes were rationed. The golf course went to seed and hay was cut off the course to sell to local ranchers. About 30 female telephone operators occupied rooms at the club's inn, known as the Chalet, while Navy officers rented Diablo homes and enjoyed membership privileges. This was the start of year-round living at the club.
In 1948 Larry Curtola bought the club, made major renovations and built a beautiful new clubhouse featuring a large ballroom to accommodate big band dancing. Diablo became the place to go for dances, parties and wedding receptions and remains so to this day!
Today the community includes 400 homes. The golf course and club area total 115 acres. Although Diablo is no longer the only country club in the valley, it has uniqueness and a history unrivaled among communities in the East Bay. This rich history is so revered by the members that, under the direction of historian and member Jim Stone, they sought and acquired historic photos depicting the eras. Over 100 sponsored enlargements are matted, framed and hung throughout the clubhouse, offering members and visitors a daily walk down Diablo's Memory Lane.
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