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Las Posas Country Club History and Trivia.
By Richard Linde, Posted 7 February 2005
Anne Huntsberger teeing off on Hole Number One
-- 1958, opening day
on discussions with some of LP's original members and after several sessions
with google on the web, I have been able to compile an anecdotal history of the
club -- an ana.
As I gather more information,
this section of the article will be expanded, along with more photos of its early
topography, of its diminutive trees and the surrounding harsh, mostly barren
(Click here to link to the official
Las Posas website)
This episodic account involves some well-known celebrities who were former
members of the club, the skinny about some of its former pros, and details of a
challenge match -- all accompanied by bits and pieces of trivia. For example, PGA professional Corey Pavin
is an honorary club member, and recently, a TV commercial featuring Gary McCord
was filmed at the club. (The aerial photo, showing a mostly homeless, stark layout, was taken in 1958, shortly after the
Builder: The Las Posas Country Club brought life to mostly barren
hills, turning them into estate homes, lush fairways and a sanctuary for
animals, birds and a covey of other creatures, some of them being golfers. The
ducks floating on the lake traversing the edge of the fourth fairway attest to
its environmental friendliness as the shared Mediterranean weather, in some
higher order, lends quasi-proof to Bell's theorem of non-locality. Las Posas and
three nearby golf clubs (Spanish Hills, Saticoy and Sterling Hills), all within a
four-mile radius of Sterling Hills,
comprise a golfer's Mecca inside Ventura Country.
The Janss Corporation built the Las Posas Country Club (Camarillo, California)
based on an architectural concept that featured surrounding homes. Home building
continued for approximately 25 years after LP opened in 1958.
- The Challenge Match: LP is almost older than half of its members and was
introduced to big-time golf by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Bob Charles and Bruce Crampton
in a challenge match played at LP in 1963, five years after it opened
in January of 1958; Palmer
and Player won 3 and 2, with Charles and Crampton earning $2000 in consolation
prize money. A video tape of that match is available.
- Golf Architect: In a traditional layout, with narrow fairways
lined by tall trees and estate homes -- the greens small and fast -- LP was
designed by the late, renowned, golf course architect Lawrence Hughes. In
1952, Hughes designed the Dunes Golf and Country Club, now the site of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The north course at Antelope Hills (Prescott, Arizona), with a
similar layout as LP, was designed by Hughes in 1956. William Bell, along with Dick
Wilson, Hughes and Red Lawrence were among
Arizona's first well-known golf course architects. Hughes brought the "target
golf" concept (shots that must carry expanses of natural terrain to "targets"
of grassed fairways) to LP. Hole number 2 at Las Posas, fronted by a small
lake, is Hughes' signature hole. The drive on six holes (3, 6, 11, 13, 14, and
18) must carry natural terrain to reach either the fairway or green.
Hughes worked as a construction supervisor for
Donald Ross for a time, and according to golf course critic, Ron Whitten,
designed the course at Tomahawk Country Club, in Deadwood, South Dakota, in
what was Hughes' first solo design. Whitten writes, "It (Tomahawk) was a good
deal tighter, I was told during my visit, until a few years back, when a club
member took a chainsaw to hundreds of pines in a self-appointed effort to
redesign the place, or at least make it more forgiving to his slice."
- The 1995 U.S. Open Champion: The youthful Corey Pavin once worked in its pro shop; occasionally, you'll see sports
legends Dick Butkus and Elgin Baylor negotiating its fairways; the late
Dinah Shore was a former member.
Members like to say that Las Posas is
the home of Corey Pavin, and Corey most likely would agree. Pavin, along with
other members of the UCLA golf team, also practiced at the Riviera Country
Club in the Pacific Palisades during their learning years.
- The Record: The course record, 61, is shared by Jon Fiedler (former Director of
Golf) and Chris Wood. The women's record is held by Janie Huntsberger who
carded a 67 on June 1, 1969; Janie was a 3 handicap at the time.
- Hamilton and Fiedler: Former head pro
Bruce Hamilton, Pavin's former instructor, is among golf's top-100 teaching professionals.
While at USC, Fiedler played on the same golf team with PGA major winners Craig Stadler
('82 Masters) and Scott Simpson ('87 U.S. Open).
Sherwood: The late Pat Sherwood Stimming (1912-2004), former
Hollywood actress who appeared in a number of movies, played golf with
considerable expertise for sixty years. The club has an annual Pat Stimming
tournament to honor the many times she won the Ladies Club championship, the
last of which she won at the age of 85. Among her many wins include a two-time
California women’s amateur championship held at Pebble Beach in 1964 and 1974.
In a memorable photo taken in 1947, she's pictured with golfing legends Byron
Nelson, Bobby Jones, "Babe" Zaharias and Gene Sarazan. Check it out when
you're in the pro shop. I have named the starting hole at LP in her honor.
The Pro: Outside of golfing stints in
Woodinville, WA and Scottsdale, Arizona, head-professional Roger Rockefeller
has spent most of his professional career working in Ventura County.
In 1970, at age 16, Rockefeller began his golfing career
at Los Robles Golf Course, working as a cart attendant. After 18 months, he
was assigned to the golf shop, and shortly thereafter, was named the
assistant professional, working in that capacity for 13 years. At the age of
22, while serving his apprenticeship at Los Robles, Rockefeller was elected to membership
in the PGA of America. At that time, he was the youngest
member in the Southern California PGA Section.
He began his head-professional career at Simi Hills Golf
Course in 1985. In1989, Rockefeller was named the HP at Wood
Ranch, his first experience working at a private country club.
Before joining the Las Posas CC in 2007, he spent 7 years as the
Head Professional at Spanish Hills CC, a next-door neighbor to Las Posas. Prior to Spanish Hills he served as
Head Professional and
Director of Golf at several prestigious country clubs in Scottsdale,
Arizona, and, prior to the warm-weather stint in Arizona, served as the HP at Bear Creek CC in
He has been married to his lovely wife, Lisa, for 26
years. They have 2 children, Haley and Natalie. Both are students at Moorpark
High school and members of the girls’ golf team.
He played on the golf
team at Newbury Park High School in 1970 and ’71 and, coincidentally, played
his first away high-school match at Las Posas CC.
The Well: Once upon a time, Las Posas had a drawing of an artesian well fronting
its scorecard. Why? Because, I would guess, it's a California thing to do. The word "las
posas" is an Americanization of the
Spanish word el pozo (plural, los pozos), which means "well," as in drinking water.
According to my Spanish Dictionary (Harper Collins), which includes slang
words and all sorts of sinful phrases, the word "posas" means buttocks or
backside and is used in informal conversations. So, get off your posas and
let's play some golf.
Former member and
six-time champion Jim
Moore ('86, '87, '90, '95, '98, '00) was a member of the 1939 USC
national championship football team and was so honored recently, given a
championship ring during halftime of this year's game with Notre Dame. The
'39 team (8-0-2) allowed just 33 points all season long, still a school
record, and blanked Tennessee (10-1) in the 1940 Rose Bowl, 14-0.
club is a cast of mostly grizzled gentlemen whose games, shape and
form bear the demonic ravages of time -- none of them in frivolous years having
sense enough to save time in Einstein's bank of relativity. The Flubbers, founded in 1984, is in its twenty-first year.
Yours truly, last year’s champion, will defend his fairly-earned crown against
all foes, who, like himself, have borne "the whips and scorns of
time." Jack Marsh, former club champion at Riviera who played the bassoon in
musical scores – for example, Bolero in
the Movie “10” – played golf with the Flubbers in his later years, mostly as a
substitute. "I never saw the movie '10,'" Jack told me one day, his
sincerity bearing the likeness of his earnest game.
According to locker room scuttlebutt, Marsh's magic bassoon, on reaching a certain high note
during a performance at the club, would jettison a birth-control device midst all the mirth and laughter.
Unlike Jack, if your best shots are foot wedges, roll-overs, Mulligans, and
gimees, add your name to the Flubbers' long, non-discriminatory waiting list.
Norval MacDonald, 91, a member of the Flubbers in good standing, is a nascent
member, winning the trophy in 1993 and 2003.
And Jenkins (a.k.a., Puck?) thought he was cast from the
Midsummer Night's Dream.
LP used to rock...and still
rolls: Alvino Rey, band leader and
innovative musician, along with several other member musicians,
including Jack Marsh, entertained at Las Posas periodically, during the '70s
and '80s. Rey once lived in the
corner house just off the dogleg on 12.
Rey was married to one of the King Sisters and was known as the "Father
of the Pedal Steel Guitar."
He died on Tuesday,
February 24th, 2004, at his home in Salt Lake City. He was 95. Other
former member musicians include Pete Carpenter, Morrie Crawford (Clarinet),
Bruce Hudson (trumpet) and Gordon Jenkins, the former Hollywood bandleader,
arranger, conductor and composer. A prankster, Jenkins would insert a pebble
in his playing partner's golf bag each time he played with him. One day the
bag was too heavy to carry
and the pebbles spilled out in emptying fury.
(left) mentored Mike
Post, who wrote the theme song for Hill Street Blues. Carpenter and
Post were co-writing partners, and the Pete Carpenter Fellowship was
established to honor Carpenter, whose credits include television themes and
scores such as The A-Team, Magnum P. I., The Rockford Files, Hardcastle and
McCormick, Hunter and Riptide.
Dick Martin of Laugh-In fame
was a former LP member and, perhaps, a prankster.
More on Corey: Undoubtedly, the course
logistics helped Pavin develop his shot-making ability,
along with the teaching skills of Bruce Hamilton, his instructor and former
Pavin hosts the annual Technicolor/Corey Pavin golf classic played at Las Posas. Proceeds from the
tournament go to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Ventura County. The tournament
is in its tenth year.
Pavin says, "It's important
to come back and help out a place that's helped me out. I think it's always
important to remember where you came from...I look forward to coming back every
year and doing the tournament." (The Ventura County Star, 30 April
- Photo credits and Original members:
Starting promptly at seven, unintentionally propelling Wednesday's dawn patrol
through unimaginable terrain, I sometimes play golf with Dr. Morrie Gandin, one
of LPs original members.
I wish to thank Dick and Anne
Huntsberger, who are original members, for sharing their recollections of early
Las Posas with me and, also, for the photos shown above. The aerial photo
was taken for Mrs. Huntsberger's father. Photo of Pete Carpenter,
Las Posas Forecast (June 1973). Anne Huntsberger, nearest flag, on number 2,
circa 1965-1968, Monte Vienda brochure).
As always, Go Huskies!
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Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at