Fast Facts: Catalina Home to Oldest Golf Course in California

CATALINA一 Catalina Island Golf Course is considered the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi, built in 1892 by the Banning Brothers it started as a three-hole course to entertain visitors on the island.

The Banning Brothers bought the island from the estate of James Lick in 1891 and established the Santa Catalina Island Company three years later, according to the Catalina Island Company website.

The brothers were focused on building the island up as a premier resort town and built Pleasure Pier, which still stands in Avalon Harbor, the Banning House Lodge, and access to the various beaches around Catalina.

The brothers realized they did not have anything in the canyon and the Catalina Island Golf Course was created to fill the hole and hopefully attract tourists to the island. In the first two years, the course became quite successful and the brothers expanded the course to nine holes and added a clubhouse to complement the attraction.

Catalina Island Golf Course
Photo Provided by Catalina Island Museum

After the 1915 fire, the Banning Brothers were unable to recover financially and Catalina was sold to William Wrigley, whose family still owns the island today.

Wrigley added grass to the course for the first time in 1927, and expanded the course to 18 holes in 1929, according to a July 2015 article from Fore Magazine.

Catalina Island Golf Course began hosting the Catalina Island Bobby Jones Trophy tournament in 1931 until, with the exception of WWII, 1955, according to the article from Fore Magazine.

The tournament was a gesture from Wrigley to the Jones Grand Slam, as Bobby Jones was the first man to achieve the Grand Slam by winning the four major tournaments in one year, according to a 1947 article from Golfdom.

In 1945 the course was returned to a nine-hole layout featuring five Par 4s and four Par 3s.

In 1967 the Avalon Men’s Golf Club began to sponsor the annual Catalina Island Junior Golf Tournament, which saw the likes of Tiger Woods, Craig Stadler, and Corey Pavin. The course offers two sets of tees for 18-hole play and is open daily from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For tee times call (310) 510-0530 or for more information visit

One thought on “Fast Facts: Catalina Home to Oldest Golf Course in California

  • July 27, 2022 at 10:48 am

    Gearhart Golf Club in Oregon and Victoria Club in Riverside both predate Catalina as well as Tacoma Golf Club.



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