Sycuan Golf Resort – A History
Today when you descend down into the Dehesa Valley from the top of “Allen’s Grade”, you will take in the same enchanting panorama that Cecil Hollingsworth first saw in 1955 — massive green expanse, dramatically set off by enormous trees, striking rock formations and rocky, brush covered hills. These are the “Singing Hills” that thousands of golfers have seen as they played the three courses that fan out across the valley.
Cecil and his partners recognized the potential of this property, which they would transform into a golf resort, and eventually a California vacation destination. Today Oak Glen, Pine Glen and Willow Glen comprise one of the largest and most successful golf properties west of the Mississippi. Cecil partnered with Gomer Sims, Babe Horrell and Robert Price, who also operated a golf facility two hours away in Los Angeles (Alondra Park).
On January 26, 1956 the “East” course (now Oak Glen) was opened, followed in October 1961 by the “West” course, a par 3 layout (now Pine Glen) along with the first 20 rooms of the lodge. Willow Glen opened six years later in 1967.
In the winter of 1979-80 the golf courses, which are seated in a river valley, were washed away by 200-foot wide flood waters. An astonishing 40 acres of land was completely lost. 40 of the 54 holes were affected, and the old golf shop building was washed away into the river. All three courses (and a new Resort Golf Shop) were completely remodeled and rebuilt with the help of architect Ted Robinson.
There are very few resort settings which offer such unspoiled natural beauty and diverse wildlife – including ducks, woodpeckers, red tail hawks and great blue herons. This incredible inland valley offers unequalled peace and quiet. Even though we’re just outside of San Diego it feels as if you are away in the tranquil countryside.
Seldom has there been a facility with a more loving history than is found here, all because of the families that made it possible. Jerry Hollingsworth and Steve Horrell carried on the dream and vision of their fathers along with the club’s generations of fun loving Members and thousands of dedicated employees.
One of those employees, Tom Addis III, became President of the PGA of America. This is the highest position attainable by any club professional in the United States.
Now known as Sycuan Golf Resort, the Southern California vacation property was purchased and is currently owned by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. Tribal Chairman Cody Martinez and the other members of the Sycuan Tribe are proud to carry on the traditions of the families that brought lodging and golf to the valley. Their commitment to excellence is recognized in the investments made to improve the property each year.
Golf events hosted at Sycuan Resort:
- 1956 San Diego Open
- The United States Junior Amateur Championship – 1973 and 1979
- San Diego State Lady Aztec Tournament with notable winners such as Julie (Simpson) Inkster
- Two Women’s Intercollegiate National Championships
- Junior World Championships since 1989
- NGCOA National Golf Course of the Year – 1998 Willow Glen
- Golf Digest – Best Places to Play
- Sign On San Diego Best Golf Course – 7 consecutive years