Summer 2017

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C L U B P R O F I L E A Tale of Bathed in beautiful vistas of the Bay Area, Mare Island Golf Club honors its military roots. BY RON KROICHICK Even upon arriving at the course, the history remains understated. A small green sign above the modest clubhouse refers to 1892, when the club was established. There are only a few photos on the wall, including one of an earlier, shack-like clubhouse (from 1918) and another of five nattily attired officers out for a game in 1930, with one gentleman holding a thin bag of old-time clubs. But the distinction is impossible to ignore: Mare Island, just across the water from Vallejo, counts itself as the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi River. Now that's some powerful history. This is not undisputed, it should be pointed out. Gearhart Golf Links in Oregon also dates to 1892 and also claims the "oldest course west of the Mississippi" label. Fairfield Golf Club in Iowa calls itself the "oldest club west of the Mississippi," and Del Monte Golf Course in Monterey is considered the oldest course "in continuous operation" west of the Mississippi (Mare Island closed during wartime). T he drive to Mare Island Golf Club does not exactly drip with nostalgia and charm. Visitors pass building after abandoned building, decaying remnants of a once-thriving naval shipyard shuttered in the 1990s during the Clinton administration.

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