University of Arizona artist rendering of the new Clements Golf Center at Tucson Country Club.

NOTE: The 19th in a series of searches for sports venues, trophies, and lost or forgotten artifacts in Old Pueblo.

LINK: MORE HISTORICAL STORIES HERE

Mayor CP Skinner. (Moline Dispatch)

Some say the Tucson Country Club had the first golf course in the Old Pueblo and they would be partly right as they often claim “1914” as the year the course opened. Well try 1905 then thanks Mayor CP Skinner of Moline, Illinois.

A winter visitor, Skinner complied with statutes filed by the Tucson Country Club in 1904 to provide for “golf courses” and “tennis courts.” He offered his services in January 1905 and he was ready in March of that year.

(Citizen: February 23, 1904)
(Star: January 29, 1905)
(Citizen: March 14, 1905)

The dirt course was often in need of repairs and it was used for several years and was reworked in 1908 and again in 1909:

(November 25, 1908)
(Citizen: Nov. 1908)
(September 18, 1908)

Complaints about the course began to arrive again in 1911:

In 1914, Tucson began to consider holding golf tournaments and three places of interest were discussed: the land between the railroad and the Santa Cruz River, the University of Arizona farm (still there) and the Country Club. The site near the Santa Cruz River was declined due to “adobe soil” or what we call caliche. It is unclear why the UA farm was denied, but the Country Club had to fence its course to prevent “wagon wheels” from ruining the course and the “greens” had to be oiled sand (skins). 1915 was the year golf was here to stay:

(Citizen January 15, 1914)
(Star: August 15, 1915)

The El Rio Country Club was the first grass course in Tucson (1929). Bisbee and Douglas had golf courses long before Tucson, but there was talk of the University of Arizona having one, or discussing one, in 1902. Research on this is at an impasse. If true, students played golf on campus before anyone else in Old Pueblo:

(Citizen: October 6, 1902)

Arizona is building the Clements Golf Center at Tucson Country Club for home games. Learn more about the history of the different Wildcat courses can be found HERE.

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Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as Top High School Reporter in 2014, he received the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and AZ Education Recognition News in 2019. He coached youth, high school and college for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girl wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing Arizona’s top football player, and he was named local hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021, and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He received a Distinguished Service Award from the Amphitheater and he was recognized by Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at [email protected]

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