Ojai Valley Inn

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"Build me the finest course that can be built.”

The Ojai Country Club at the Ojai Valley Inn, in Ojai, California, provides guests with the opportunity to play golf on a historic, award-winning, 18-hole par-70 championship golf course. Glass industrialist Edward Drummond Libbey began constructing a brilliant country club and an 18-hole golf course at the site in 1923. The country club was part of Libbey’s decades-long effort to improve the appearance of the town of Ojai as a prominent resort community. Libbey supposedly gave landscape architect George C. Thomas free reign to design the course in whatever way he liked, instructing: “Go ahead and build me the finest course that can be built . . . and use whatever land you wish. Give me the best. Money will be no object.” Upon its completion, many hailed the fairways as some of the most beautiful in the state. The Los Angeles Times reported that the golf course’s geography was “designed to look as if it had been there forever.”

The course was hailed as a marvel of golfing architecture and was one of the first great golf courses in Southern California. The country club and its inn were forced to close during World War II, when the location was taken over by the War Department. Early on, it was used as a U.S. Army camp, with many barracks erected on the golf course. The Navy then assumed control over the Ojai Valley Country Club in 1944, which became overflow housing for the Port Hueneme Naval Base. The clubhouse and inn were specifically utilized as both an officers’ quarters for Navy officers and Seabee recruits. Legendary Hollywood stars Bing Crosby and Bob Hope hosted a fundraising ceremony for the Navy Relief Warfare Fund at the Ojai Valley Country Club. But as the war ended, the War Department finally allowed the facility to reopen as a private business.

In 1947, new owners expanded the length of the golf course to measure a total of 6,800 feet and constructed an imposing reservoir water hazard. These and other renovations made the resort a new post-war success. Some of the biggest names in the country visited, including Clarke Gable, Judy Garland, and former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Golfing also became a cherished pastime at the resort, employing such renowned golfers such as Jimmy Demaret and Doug Sanders. The course was updated in 1988 by golf course designer Jay Morrish and again redesigned in 1999, when “Lost Holes” from the original 1923 design were restored. Over the last century, the Inn has hosted seven Senior PGA Tour events, including players Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, and its proximity to Los Angeles has made the course a favorite of many celebrities. The Ojai Valley Inn opened in 1923 and was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1991.

Golf Ojai // Ojai Valley Inn from Ojai Valley Inn on Vimeo.


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