SCGA MEMBER OUTINGS
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2020
Thunderbird Country Club
70-737 Country Club Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
POLICIES, PROCEDURES, & GUIDELINES:
Prior to participating, all participants must review the SCGA’s Policies & Procedures and COVID-19 Guidelines for Member Outings and Golf Cart Policy
Thank you for supporting the Member Outings throughout 2020, and we wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with joy and good health.
THUNDERBIRD COUNTRY CLUB
Golf Course Architect: John Dawson/Lawrence Hughes/Ted Robinson, Sr.
Thunderbird Country Club has a rich history of memorable people and events, and the Thunderbird tradition continues today.
Founded in 1951, Thunderbird was “an idea whose time had come.” Without a role model or a pattern to follow, Thunderbird acquired a unique role, becoming the first, the original, and a model for scores of Coachella Valley Country Clubs to follow.
Golf course architect, Lawrence Hughes, worked with Johnny Dawson over the summer of 1950 to build the par-72, all grass, 18-hole golf course, with fabulous views, delightful weather, and beautiful, expansive greens.
Three thousand trees were brought in to build Thunderbird Country Club. Underground power and telephone wires were installed, and winter rye was planted. Architect, William F. Cody, transformed the buildings and clubhouse while decorator, Velma Dawson, changed the clubhouse decor from Cowboy style to Indian style. Out went the sawdust on the floor. In came the king-sized kachina dolls that were handcrafted and painted especially for the walls.
Property, and lots overlooking the course, were obtainable for $2,000. They were purchased immediately by Milt Hicks whose family owned the local water company, Barbara and Barney Hinkle, who helped sell investors the Thunderbird pipe dream, and star couple Phil Harris and Alice Faye, who built home number two at Thunderbird Country Club.
Club memberships were available for $450, and golf-playing Hollywood flocked energetically to Thunderbird. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope purchased lots edging the golf course.
Later, Bing sold his golf course lot and purchased the first house in the area, simply referred to as “up on the hill,” which is known today as Thunderbird Heights.
When Thunderbird opened, more celebrity couples purchased homes and brought their cachet with them. Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball were on the list of charter homeowners, as well as baseball star Ralph Kiner and his wife, the tennis great, Nancy Chaffee. Also, on the list was Hoagy Carmichael.
Thunderbird’s 4th Annual Invitational Tournament was typical of that era. The “Entertainment Committee” for the event that year was chaired by Phil Harris and the members were Desi Arnaz, Hoagy Carmichael, Dean Martin, Gordon Mac Rae and Perry Como. And that was just the Committee!
It isn’t just Hollywood celebrities responsible for the Thunderbird mystique. Thunderbird attracts many high profile and prestigious people. Rosters of members during the club’s first decade include presidents, top politicians, major manufacturers, and miscellaneous high achievers, active and retired.
For every Clark Gable and Randolph Scott, there was a Leonard Firestone. Members came from every direction and spent the season. Thunderbird provided the perfect getaway from business and life as usual.
Golf, of course, was then and is today the soul of the Club. The Club’s first pro-member tournament was held in 1952. Entries included Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Jimmy Demaret and co-winners Jim Ferrier and Cary Middlecoff. This popular event later evolved into the Bob Hope Desert Classic in 1963. The Club’s first Women’s Invitational was held in November 1951 and was won by Pat Garner.
In 1955, the prestigious Ryder Cup, a match play competition between British and American golf professionals, was hosted by Thunderbird Country Club. After two days of what “Golf Life” described as “par-smashing golf,” America won with Sam Snead as its star.
Another Thunderbird first was the development of the motorized golf cart, as familiar on golf courses today as golfers. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine the great history of game of golf, without the introduction and impact of motorized carts.
Early on, it was necessary to carry your golf bag over your shoulder, the shoulder of a caddie, or use a “pull cart.” Eddie Susalla, assistant to golf pro, Jimmy Hines, observed motorized vehicles being used as transportation for the handicapped in Long Beach.
Susalla got together with the “autoettes” manufacturer, and the upshot was a motorized golf buggy designed to hold golf bags on each side of the vehicle. By 1953, the Club owned more than 100 golf carts. Soon custom versions were built with ice chests, stereo equipment, and eventually awnings and roofs. While golfers are regularly seen scooting around in these slick, electric carts, Thunderbird members were the first to bring golf carts to golf courses around the world.
Thunderbird Country Club also has a sentimental and proprietary interest in another vehicle. Ernest Breech, a Thunderbird member, was chairman of Ford Motor Company. He was deeply involved in the creation of a new sports car to compete with the recently released Chevrolet Corvette. Breech asked the Club’s permission to name the new model with its sleek and sporty design after the Club. Permission was granted.
And in 1955 the first Ford Thunderbird rolled off the assembly line!
STARTING TIMES AND PAIRINGS:
- We encourage you to visit the Event Portal, where you will find the starting times, pairings and what to expect in advance of the event.
- Starting tee times will range from 8:30 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. with 10-minute intervals, off split tees Holes #1 & 10.
- Due to COVID-19 players are encouraged to arrive no more than 30-minutes prior to their assigned tee time, allowing for 15-minutes of range time and must not linger following the round.
FOOD SERVICE AND PURCHASES:
- Registration fees include: Guest green fees, cart, box lunch, Complimentary Breakfast and driving range.
- Breakfast will be available for morning arrival at the Half-Way House located near the backside of the Clubhouse, box lunches are also available for pick-up between 10:30 – 11 a.m., as players make the turn.
- Half-Way House will be open for the SCGA and additional Food & Beverage may be purchased for cash sales only.
- Dining area is closed to the Member Outings, Members have activities planned for the Clubhouse and Dining areas on Sunday
- Mask are required in and around Clubhouse and Golf Shop will be open and limited to 2 customers at a time. Credit card purchases only.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
- Once you arrive mask are required around the Clubhouse. Golf Host will not handle your bags, but players will be directed to the cart staging area.
- Registration will be located on the driving range.
- Tee times begin at 8:30 a.m. with 10-minute intervals off the 1st and 10th tees.
- Practice balls available on the Driving Range opening at 8 a.m. Players should arrive on site 30-minutes prior to their starting time and allow time for driving range usage.
- If you are walking pushcarts are allowed.
- Temperatures are expected to be mostly sunny with a high of 75 degrees.
- Choice of tees based on play ability.
PACE of PLAY:
- Thunderbird CC has requested players to be mindful of a 4-hour 15-minute round.
PLEASE NOTE WE ARE INVITED TO PLAY ON A MEMBER DAY AND CARGO SHORTS OR PANTS ARE NOT ALLOW. THE GOLF COURSE DRESS CODE LISTED BELOW IS STRICLY INFORCED. IF YOU ARRIVE IN CARGO’S OR NON-GOLF ATTIRE, THE COURSE WILL ASK YOU TO CHANGE. PLEASE BE PREPARED TO FOLLOW THESE RESTRICATIONS.
- Cargo shorts or cargo pocketed slacks are not allowed.
- Hats worn forward.
- Players must be properly attired in golf shirts, slacks, Bermuda-length dress or golf shorts and soft spike shoes.
- Shirts must be tucked in and hats must be worn forward.
- Jeans (any color or any kind), T-shirts, and tank tops are prohibited.
- To withdraw for any reason prior to the start of a SCGA Member Outing, a player must notify the SCGA Championships & Golf Operations Department at email@example.com or by calling (818) 980-3630.
- The player may also withdraw through his/her online player profile until entries close. If a player needs to withdraw on the morning of the event, notify the SCGA staff person through the golf shop staff at the host venue.
- Refund Policy:
- Cancelation prior to the entry closing date: Full less a $20 administrative fee.
- Cancelation after the entry closing date and more than 48 hours prior to the event: 50% of the entry fee.
- Cancelation within 48 hours of the event: No refund.