Founders of Women’s Golf Club tap into spirit of game in 1963
By Diane Borden
The Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2023. The Club was founded as the “Rancho Bernardo Women’s Golf Club” in 1963 by a dedicated group of women golfers at the then-new Rancho Bernardo Golf Course in northern San Diego County.
The first residents of the community of Rancho Bernardo, annexed by the San Diego City Council in 1962, began moving into RB in 1963. By mid-1964, the community had grown to 2,000 residents. Today, the population of Rancho Bernardo approximates 50,000 residents.
The RB Women’s Golf Club had its first formal organizational meeting on Jan. 21, 1963, at the Poway Bowl, according to the Bernardo Brandings, a monthly newspaper published for the new Rancho Bernardo community. Copies of the newspaper are available for review at the Rancho Bernardo Historical Society.
At the 1963 meeting, attendees named a bylaws committee to draft the Club’s governing documents. The committee (seen in newspaper photo above) comprised Mary Turner, Tyne Long, Toni Daley, Wilma Weiser, Evelyn Bell, Helen Banister, Betty Alvarado, Dorothy Terman and Marion Moore. Also attending was Art Quick, the golf course head professional.
Membership in the RB Women’s Golf Club numbered 84 in its first year, according to the 1963 Club Year Book. Club members lived in a variety of communities throughout San Diego County, including Cardiff, Del Mar, Escondido, Jamul, La Mesa, La Jolla, Pauma Valley, Poway, San Diego, San Marcos and Vista. Annual dues were $5, and “Ladies Day” was every Thursday. Organizing president was Mary Turner, and the Club’s first elected president was Helen Banister.
The purpose of the Club, according to the 1963 Club Year Book, was to “promote good fellowship and sportsmanship” as well as “learn and practice the rules, the etiquette and the true spirit of the game of golf and thus promote its highest standards.” Those sentiments remain part of the Club’s mission today.
In the early 1970s, to avoid confusion with the new women’s golf group at the nearby Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, the RB Women’s Golf Club added “West” to its name to become the Rancho Bernardo Women’s Golf Club West. A decade later, the Club again changed its name, this time to Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club, which continues today. (For one year — 1990 — the Club changed its name to the Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Association.)
Over the last 60 years, the RBI Women’s Golf Club membership has waxed and waned from a high of 143 in 1966 to 60 in both 2006 and 2008. Current membership totals 74 players.
Today’s Club members play competitive amateur golf on Tuesdays at the championship 18-hole course at Rancho Bernardo Inn. Over the years, the course has hosted both PGA and LPGA events.