Riverview Golf & Country Club...The History
With the purchase of the Graf Ranch, Henry and Irene Rother, avid Golfers, planned a nine hole course amid the rock, scrub pine and oaks. By 1946, Henry had cleared the land, hauled in fill and built the nine hole course. "What a Beautiful View of the River", were the words Irene Rother spoke while overlooking the course from the top of the hill. And, as a result, she named their incredible course "Riverview."
The Riverview Golf and Country Club's first membership meeting was held on the April 17th, 1947, in the Hotel Redding, and was presided over by Mr. Gil DeForest. At the time of that meeting and for some weeks previous, while the advocates of a golf course in our present location were actively engaged in soliciting memberships and negotiating for the purchase of the property, the unincorporated organization was known as "River Golf Club." The minutes of the first membership meeting contain the following:
"After discussion, it was moved and seconded and the following members were approved by those present to act as a Board of Directors for one year to organize the Club and regulate its activities. Bill Craig, Howard Thatcher, Bob Vaughan, Lou Gerard, Rolland Watt, Sig Kreigsman, Jr., Stennett Sheppard, Daniel S. Carlton, and Laurence J. Kennedy, Jr."
It was earlier than this, however, that the actual Golf Course was started. Following the completion of Shasta Dam and the resultant control of the flood waters of the Sacramento River, Henry Rother, a Redding businessman and golf enthusiast, undertook to personally construct a Golf Course. It was Henry Rother's original plan to operate the course as a private venture.
In March of 1947, Henry Rother announced that he was willing to negotiate for a sale or lease of the property. Our present Club site may have become a 'Cattle Ranch' if it had not been for the twenty-eight members of the "Redding Golf and Country Club" which for many years owned and maintained the old course of dry grass and sand greens, that is now in the area occupied by Lawncrest Cemetery. This Club's Board of Directors, consisting of Dr. Ralph Sheppard, George Bruce, Bill Craig, Henry Rother, Hal Hopkins, Sam Breslauer, and Laurence J. Kennedy, Sr., met, and saw the wonderful possibilities in the Rother's offer, and together with others...some of those mentioned earlier in this section, proceeded to promote and organize our present Club.
On April 9, 1947, the Club's organizing committee consisting of R. H. Sheppard, W.E. Craig, and L. J. Kennedy, Sr., asked Henry Rother to subscribe to a written form of offer.
The next day, Henry Rother extended a written offer to sell the Golf Course, including the Clubhouse, for the sum of $60,000 with terms of $5,000 on or before May 1, 1947, and $5,000 annually thereafter, together with interest on the unpaid balance at 3% per annum. Mr. Rother had expended much of his own time and a total of $72,347.56 during the two-year period of 1945 to 1947 in developing the course and erecting the original Clubhouse. On April 17th the Club's organizational meeting was held. Within a few days of this meeting the Board of Directors determined that the organization should be incorporated as a non-profit organization. Dan Carlton prepared the Articles of Incorporation, and on April 25, 1947, the nine originally named Directors signed the articles. These articles were filed in the office of the Secretary of State on April 30, 1947.
On April 25, 1947, an application was filed with the Board of Equalization for a seasonal liquor license for the sale of liquor to members to be effective on May 1st. John (Johnny) Perelli was selected by the Board of Directors as the Club's first Golf Professional.
On Sunday, May 10, 1947, the course was first opened to the members for the playing of golf.
On May 16, 1947, a deed granting the property to the club was signed by Henry and Irene Rother.
The membership appeared to number 235 the first year. The Club's first officers were: S. A. Kriegsman, Jr., President; D.S. Carlton, Vice- President; L. J. Kennedy, Jr., Secretary; and Elmer Baker, Treasurer.
On May 22, 1947, the Club's first president sent the Club's first letter to its members. It announced the opening of the Club's coffee shop and the beginning of Saturday buffet lunches and Sunday buffet dinners. As for golf, a series of 10 one-half hour lessons was offered for $20.00, a single one-half hour lesson for $2.50, and a full hour lesson for $4.00. The Women of the Club had organized on May 21, 1947, and Tiny Carter was elected President together with Mrs. James Hold as Vice President, Mrs. John Alward as Secretary, and Mrs. W. G. Griffin as Treasurer. Wednesdays were set as Ladies' Day and the facilities of the Clubhouse and golf course were restricted to women only every Wednesday until 3:00 p.m.
The information in the section is from the partial history entitled "The Beginnings of Riverview Golf and Country Club" by Laurence J. Kennedy, Sr. His writing is of interest to any member and contains much information concerning the early days of your Club. Mr. Kennedy closed his history as follows:
"With the Club thus organized and on its way to the continued success it has since enjoyed, we may properly end here the first chapter and call it The Beginnings of Riverview. The next chapter, the story of its progress and its problems, its growth and developing during the decade that followed, is a task for some younger members who have been close to the picture.
Dated April 30, 1947; Compiled by: Laurence J. Kennedy, Sr.
The year 1956 brought many changes to Riverview. As membership increased, and with its attendance increase in golf play on the then 9-hole course, it became evident that an increase to an 18-hole layout was highly desirable. Thus, the Board of Directors, with membership approval, commenced efforts to extend the course to 18 holes and to make certain additions to the existing Club House.
There was ample ground space (with one small exception) to accomplish an 18-hole course. The one exception was a small piece of property we acquired from Mr. Henry Rother located in the vicinity of the present 16th green. The available property, however, was covered with sand dunes, rock, brush, small trees, etc., and lay roughly around the perimeter of the 9-hole course and adjacent to the Sacramento River. Therefore, Architect Mr. Ben Harmon, who was then in the process of building the Silverado Golf Course, was contacted to determine the feasibility from an engineering standpoint of continuing with our expansion plans. Mr. Harmon came up with a plan that by recovering the perimeter property and rearranging some of our existing holes we could satisfactorily accomplish our purpose. We proceeded then to arrange financing which was provided by Mr. Duke Davis.
Enough praise could not have been given to the efforts of the Pro, Mr. Ed Loustalot for his work, both physical and administrative, on the ensuing project which lasted over that next year. Ed, along with Duke Davis and Jim Wells, made arrangements with Mr. J. McDonald and Mr. Red Wixson for the use of heavy equipment, at cost, for the moving of dirt and shaping the course. Frank and Grant Winans provided much needed service in transporting pipe and other equipment from the Bay Area for use on the course. After leveling the property, which was basically rock and sand, loam was removed from high areas on the existing course to spread over the new course to the depth of approximately one foot. The loam was excellent which accounts for the outstanding condition of our facilities today. New water mains were laid, and connected with the existing water system. A new lake was dredged (adjacent to present #7 tee) to provide additional access to a water supply and thus be able to handle large scale watering on both nines. Henry Ronlake of Ronlake Machine Shop, designed and installed the rope tow on #1. It was used until 1971, when the downhill path was widened by Andy Belli and Hollis Moss, using Joe Colley's heavy equipment. In addition to the course layout, it was necessary to build a dyke along the river from roughly #4 green to the bottom of the hill to prevent damage from water flowing across the course. This dyke was later improved to its present condition.
The new course was completed in the spring of 1958 and was opened for play in the fall on the day of the Home and Home Tournament with Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford, Oregon. With the work of Mr. Loustalot, the services of the aforementioned members, and the use of donated equipment, the final cost of the expansion was approximately $40,000.00 — a bargain even at 1956 prices.
Because of increased use of the club, it was necessary to enlarge the club house and dining facilities. With the aid of additional financing, the club house was changed to accommodate the new course and the boost in business.
In 1969, with the enormous effort of Bill Coshow, the four tennis courts were finished. Invited by Mr. Coshow, celebrity Bill Cosby played a few sets. (see the New Courts as of 2011)
In 1971, a year of many accomplishments, a new pro shop was built, the path on #1 widened and the lake on #17 was completed by Jerry Comingdeer.
In 1972, Mr. Comingdeer built new tees on #4 and #5 holes. Our first Pro Am was held this year.
Due to our expansion efforts, the biggest change in membership was made in 1983. As a result of the decisions made at the annual membership meeting in January 1983, the number of Proprietary memberships was increased from 300 to 500. In June 1989 and June 1990, Bill Flynn designed and constructed our present cart paths around the course.
In October 1991 our new Club House, the new #1 tee, and raised fence around the driving range were completed and in December the new Pro Shop was opened for Kim Thurman our Golf Professional since 1976.
In 1994 our greens superintendent began an annual overseeding of our fairways with Ryegrass. In the spring of 1996, the Proprietary members voted to assess themselves $180.00 each to rebuild the 17th green and tee area. This project was intended to make this the "signature hole" of our Golf Course, and Professional Golfscape Services in Rancho Cordova, CA was awarded the construction contract. The project began in December, 1997, and was completed in March, 1998.
In May of 2001, the Proprietary Members voted by a 72% majority to assess themselves $3,000.00 each for a major course remodeling project. This project was based upon the Master Plan designed by Doug Nickels, of Nickels Golf Group in Novato, CA. The project was budgeted at $1,410,000 and the construction contract was awarded to Harvey Lundershausen, President of Continental Golf, Inc. of Auburn, CA. The project began on July 5th and the last green was seeded on October 8th, 2001. It included re-building all 18 greens and the North putting green, and 40 new greenside bunkers, all to current USGA specifications. Also, a state-of-the-art, computerized irrigation system was installed around all new greens which was networked to a Weather Station and the office of the course superintendent. The project was completed on time, and in budget, and was well-received by our membership. We are proud to be recognized as the Premier Golf and Country Club in the Redding area.
In September 2004, a new 6,000 square foot maintenance facility was completed. Among the many features, this facility has a full size break room, separate fertilizer storage and a recycle equipment wash system.
In 2005, thanks to the funds raised in the 2004 President's Cup, cart and extensions were put in along greens #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #9, #11, #15, and #16 as well as along the tees on #15.
The year 2006 was a planning year. A round of meetings were held to develop long range plans for future course projects to take place.
History to date by: L. J. Eggers & H. Holifield