Invitational marks Club’s 55th year

The Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club marked its 55th anniversary as an organization at the Club’s Invitational tournament on May 15 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Course.

The tournament drew a full field of 144 golfers on a cloudy, windy day. The gloomy weather was no match, however, for the excitement and energy of the 36 foursomes as they caravanned out to their starting tee assignments.

SUPER GROOVY FLOWER POWER – Hearkening the culture of the 1960s, the team of Lauri Heath, Suzanne LaTour, Karen Dye and Mary Lynne Bachman won the prize for most creative team costume. (Photo by Rick Berlin)

In keeping with the Invitational theme, “America the beautiful: Celebrating state flowers across the nation,” a variety of floral arrangements dotted the course – at tee boxes, on the patio fireplace at breakfast and on the tables at lunch. A prize was awarded for the most creative team “costume” in keeping with the flower theme. (See photo at left).

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.

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 Room for a three-course gourmet luncheon.

To help celebrate the Club’s 55th anniversary, RBIWGC President Dena Marvel announced the re-formation of the Legacy Club, a group of former members from the area. The 2018 honorees in attendance at the luncheon included Terry Bell, Pat Ford, Jean Kunberger, Marge Peterson, Carol Robbins, Helene Shaughnessy, Joan Sjoblom and Bev Zirkle.

A large group of RBIWGC volunteers planned and produced the 2018 tournament. Sue Haskell served as Invitational Committee chair. Other committee chairs included Hilary Quinn, registration; Mary Jo Rice, prizes; Romona Smith, tee-sign sponsors; Judi Berlin, handicaps; Liz Burchill, breakfast; and Diane Borden, communications. Several 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 Bryon Penfield, 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. (For more on the Club’s history, please click here.)

Invitational registers full field

The Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club annual Invitational is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, 2018. The tournament has registered a full field of 144 amateur women golfers from across Southern California.

Check-in for the event will begin at 6:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. shotgun start. The format will be four-person team modified waltz.

MORNING VIEW — Day breaks over the course at Rancho Bernardo Inn (Photo by Chris Hayman)

“Our club is especially pleased to host this year’s Invitational as we celebrate our 55th year as an organization,” said Dena Marvel, club president. “Each year, we strive to make the tournament a fun and rewarding experience – including golf on the beautiful RBI course, a gourmet lunch prepared by the RBI culinary team, and lots of prizes.”

This year, entries opened on March 1 and closed early — in mid-March. The entry fee is $95 per player, which includes greens fees, golf cart, range balls, continental breakfast, lunch and prizes. The tournament theme is, “America, the Beautiful: Celebrating state flowers across the nation.”

The Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club was founded in 1963. The first Invitational was a three-day event in spring 1964 and has since grown into one of the premier women’s golfing events in the county.

Rancho Bernardo Inn, located at 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive in north San Diego County, is a destination resort known for its superb golf and spa facilities and for its exceptional cuisine.

The 18-hole championship golf course opened for play in 1962 and was originally designed by William Francis Bell, also the architect of Torrey Pines and several other top-rated courses in Southern California. RBI is managed by JC Golf Management and has a championship rating of 72.3. More information about the course is available at 888-976-4417 or at

The bridges of Rancho Bernardo Inn

By Diane Borden

They blend into the landscape so well and so effortlessly that a golfer might not notice them at first. But, a closer look will reveal that the seven newly renovated bridges on the championship golf course at Rancho Bernardo Inn are more than just functional; they also are aesthetically creative and an important part of the course’s continuing charm.

The replacement bridges are just the latest improvements being made to the course – a years-long renovation envisioned by Chris Hayman, RBI’s golf course superintendent, when he arrived at the Inn in the summer of 2009.

NEW BRIDGE — Course Superintendent Chris Hayman stands at the newly renovated bridge at No. 1. (Photo by Frank Berry)

“The goal was to develop a multi-year plan to bring the course back,” Hayman said. “We started this latest project – the bridge replacements – in 2017, and it should be completed in the next few weeks with the painting of the bridge girders and bases.”

The new bridges – located at holes No. 1, 2, 3, 12, 12 (foot bridge), 14 and 18 – are constructed of treated brown Douglas fir, specially ordered for its durability and aesthetic appeal, combined with sturdy steel girders for strength and stability.

Hayman, a graduate of Cal Poly-Pomona with a bachelor of science in plant science and a minor in ornamental horticulture, said the first project in his RBI renovation plan eight years ago was to rebuild the greens (2009-2011), followed by the installation of a $1.7 million, state-of-the-art irrigation system in 2012-13.

Another major improvement has been the drilling of the first course wells, one in fall 2013 and another in spring 2014. Hayman said the wells are used to water the course in the summertime; potable (city) water is used for only 2 percent of the course (the greens).

Other renovations have included: rebuilding all 54 bunkers, reconfiguring the water hazard on No. 11, and dredging “Lake Colachis,” the natural lake on No. 4.

“Our long-time members often remark about the positive improvements made to the course over the last several years,” said Dena Marvel, president of the Rancho Bernardo Inn Women’s Golf Club. “The beautiful new bridges are just the latest example, and we are all very appreciative of the efforts of the RBI grounds crew to keep this beautiful course in top form.”

“We are always delighted,” she added, “when we can brag about the excellent condition of the course, which is consistently one of the best in San Diego County.”

Course Superintendent Hayman said that future work would attempt to “put the shine on the apple.” Projects will focus on good grass coverage in the fairways, conversion to warm-season grasses, and creating uniform turf and aesthetically pleasing planters. The crew also will be thinning out the more than 800 trees on the course.

“The course improvements we’ve made over the years would not have been possible without a strong commitment from the owners and senior management,” Hayman said. “Plus, we have a wonderful crew and a great collaborative relationship with other RBI departments, such as Engineering, which leads to project success.”