San Rafael's Country Club: Golf, Boats and Homes
The city's erstwhile Marin Golf and Country Club is survived today by a yacht club and a neighborhood.
IN 1908, San Francisco mayor “Sunny Jim” Rolph Jr. and golf enthusiast George Hind acquired a large parcel of land across Point San Pedro Road from what is now the Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael. There, according to Marin realtor and writer Cecilia “Cece” McGraw, over the next 40 years they developed a nine-hole golf course; a 200,000-gallon saltwater plunge pool designed by Herbert Fleishhacker (who later built the famed six-million-gallon pool at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach); and the Marin Golf and Country Club, which had a restaurant, clubhouse and 12 guest rooms. “Then, following the stock market crash in 1929, Rolf and Hind defaulted on their many loans,” says McGraw, author of San Rafael Country Club History: 1900–2018, “and the recently opened Meadow Club was beginning to draw golfers away from their nine-hole course.”
Country club member F. Somers Peterson established a “yachting annex” on San Rafael Bay, and today we know that structure as the Marin Yacht Club, but the golf course had a different fate: during World War II the entire inland property was leased to a horse-drawn field artillery unit that built temporary barracks, pitched tents and parked their field pieces along its fairways. In 1948, with the war over, a scion of San Francisco’s Crocker family bought the 54-acre country club land, planted more than 100 large trees and built 54 homes on one-acre lots. Today, McGraw says, that’s all part of the San Rafael neighborhood called Country Club.