By Diane Borden

As the golfers prepared to caravan out to their starting tee assignments, the upbeat sounds of Hakuna Matata wafted over the cart-staging area. The title of the award-winning song from The Lion King means “no worries” – a message well-suited, perhaps, to participants in a daylong golfing safari.

“Swingin’ Safari” was the theme chosen for the 2019 Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club Invitational, held on May 14 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Course. The tournament drew a full field of 144 players on a sunny, spring day.

ZEBRA POWER – In keeping with the Invitational theme, “Swingin’ Safari,” RBIWGC member Karen Stelman and playing partner Jan Higley share a laugh in their zebra-powered cart on the way to their starting tee assignment. (Photo by Harry Maxfield)

“The RBIWGC continued its proud tradition of treating Invitational participants to a classy, fun event, where players and hosts could shine,” said Romona Smith, Club president. “Led by Chairwoman Angela Schmidt, our ‘Swingin’ Safari’ theme provided numerous creative opportunities for the tournament. It was truly gratifying to see so many Club members and golfers embrace this event.”

In keeping with the safari theme, cardboard elephants, zebras and giraffes greeted golfers at the registration table; earth-toned tablecloths and colorful floral arrangements graced the luncheon tables; and tournament participants cheerfully donned a variety of safari-related outfits. Winners of the most creative team-costume contest were Shirley Rehkopf, Suzy Leif, Janet Stewart and Doris Cronkhite.

Sixteen teams won prizes for low scores for the tournament format (four-person team modified waltz), and individuals were rewarded for closest to the pin on the four par-threes, for the longest drive on hole No. 12 and for the straightest drive on hole No. 8.

For complete results, click here.  For Invitational slideshow, click here.

The Invitational Committee also awarded first-, second- and third-place prizes in the tournament’s inaugural putting contest, open to current RBIWGC members and Legacy Club members who chose to forgo the 18-hole tournament.

Golfers began their early day with a continental breakfast on the Rancho Bernardo Inn patio and then proceeded to their starting tee assignments for an 8 a.m. shotgun start. After the round, players gathered in the Bernardo Ballroom for a three-course gourmet luncheon.

A large group of RBIWGC volunteers planned and produced the 2018 tournament. Angela Schmidt served as Invitational Committee chair. Other committee chairs included Hilary Quinn, registration; Donna Dahl, raffle; Romona Smith, tee-sign sponsors; Judi Berlin, handicaps; Liz Burchill, breakfast; Diane Borden, communications; Mary Jo Rice, player’s gift; Fran Maxfield, Legacy liaison; and Nancy Amon, costume judging. Many other Club members volunteered to serve on the various committees.

Among the Rancho Bernardo Inn staff who contributed to the success of the tournament were Peter Wininger, director of golf; Matt Loflen, tournament director; Paul Kipfstuhl, tournament coordinator; Nolan Schmuckle, first assistant; John Sullivan and Calvin Nollner, banquet managers; and all golf outside staff.

The Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club was founded in 1963. The first Invitational was held in spring 1964 and has since grown into one of the premier women’s golfing events in San Diego County.


CARTS IN MOTION — Participants in the 2019 RBIWGC Invitational caravan out to their starting tee assignments. The May 14 tournament drew a full field of amateur women golfers from across Southern California. (Video by Maria Chavez)