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Turlock Golf and Country Club celebrates 100 years
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With the help of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, Turlock Golf and Country Club members and dignitaries celebrate the facility’s 100th anniversary with a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday morning. - photo by Christopher Correa

How popular was the game of golf in 1924? So much so, the annual United States Open — one of the most well-known and prestigious golf majors in the sport’s history — had to introduce sectional qualifying for that year’s tournament to reduce the 319 entrants to a starting field of 85. The Turlock region was no exception to the frenzy. To accommodate the growing popularity of golf in the area was the Turlock Golf and Country Club, whose doors opened for the first time that April.

On Saturday, dozens of golf enthusiasts gathered at the TGCC to celebrate the club’s 100th birthday. The centennial celebration included a ribbon-cutting ceremony in association with the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and a commemorative tournament.

“100 years is obviously a very long time. And it hasn't always been smooth,” said TGCC Vice President Corinne Koftinow. “Over the years, a lot of the challenges we’ve faced are financial. The struggles have been pretty much the same. What the older board members went through back in the day, we’re going through today. It’s just different dollars… But we’ve been able to withstand, and I think we’re in a very good phase right now. It’s wonderful to celebrate this milestone.” 

Operating a locally-owned business is hard enough. But one that requires extensive landscaping and maintenance in a rural area between Turlock, Hilmar and Delhi isn’t for everybody. Nevertheless, Turlock Golf and Country Club has beaten the odds, surviving through World War II, recessions, droughts and a global pandemic that had forced them to shut their doors for an extended period of time, among other great challenges.

Durwood Tell of Turlock joined the country club in January of 1972, making the 91-year-old the longest standing member of the Turlock Golf and Country Club. 

“I think it’s the people and the course (that make TGCC special),” Tell explained. “It’s not an easy course, that’s for sure.”

The 18-hole, par-72 course of 6641 yards was designed by Bob E. Baldock and Jack Fleming. The club's 1924 design remains one of the most interesting and challenging courses in the area with 57 bunkers and water coming into play on five holes. On top of all the hazards are an abundance of trees and fairly small greens.

Marc Sanders, 70, of Turlock has been a TGCC member since 1984. He agreed that the course is a challenge, which makes it all the more fun to play.

“I've played Scotland and I've played all over the country. I've played all the big name courses in the 40 or 45 years I've been playing out here. I have never gotten tired of playing this golf course,” Sanders said. “It’s always a challenge, and it's always fun. I've never gotten tired of playing Turlock. It's hard to believe that. But it’s the people here that make it what it is.”

A common phrase exchanged between members, patrons and club dignitaries Saturday morning was, “To the next 100 years!” 

“We’re still going strong,” Koftinow said. “It’s great golf with a fabulous new restaurant and such good people. We’re all very proud.”
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Durwood Tell, Corinne Koftinow and Marc Sanders prepare for a day on the course during the Turlock Golf and County Club’s centennial celebration on Saturday morning. - photo by Christopher Correa