Clubhouse

In 1917, when founder Robert Noble Burgess wasn't busy cutting ribbons, he was entertaining the numerous guests that came frequently to his impressive Mt. Diablo Park Club. Things had to be "just so" to please the demanding clientele he targeted.

Most of the construction projects necessary to create the country club of his dreams required building from scratch, improving or relocating. Fortunately, the structure that would become the heart of Mt. Diablo Park Club needed little improvement.

Atop a knoll among native oaks, perched a little distance above the Club Inn and electric rail stop, the Clubhouse, with its comfortable parlor and veranda and excellent views was near perfect. He replaced the night commode with indoor plumbing, added electricity, lighting and telephone service. With those changes in place, the Clubhouse became the central gathering point for Diablo, his "Community With an Ideal." He had the all-important golf course constructed around it, the first tee sitting just below, adjacent to the Clubhouse, and the finishing green just down the hill and across the Dan Cook Creek.

By 1917, the Clubhouse was almost four decades old, constructed in 1881 by Dan and Caroline Cook as part of their beloved and genteel country ranch, and the building still reflects this timeless, classic elegance.

Today's Clubhouse is still built around the location of the original parlor, the Carriage Lounge. Throughout the building are reminders of its long and colorful past, enticing members and guests to stroll its corridors and take in a history that is tied to America's western expansion and early industrial giants.

The Clubhouse remains the heart of Diablo Country Club, where families come to dine, relax after golf, tennis or other outdoor activities, and enjoy all the amenities it has to offer.

  • The Portico
    • The Portico, illuminated with the warm light from its large picture windows that frame the first tee and Chalet, welcomes you to the Diablo Clubhouse. Adorned with archival photos, it is a fitting entrance for a building that combines historic elements from the original structure with the modern conveniences of today.

      This part of the Clubhouse was once the front veranda, built in 1881 by Dan Cook, successful forty-niner and early owner of Diablo when it was named Colton Ranch and served as his elegant country estate and training ground famous for equestrian champions. In reestablishing Diablo Country Club after World War II, owner Larry Curtola remodeled and enclosed the Portico in 1948, using reclaimed materials from the circa 1895 Grand Barn.

  • The Carriage Lounge
    • The Carriage Lounge retains the same footprint and architectural features that made it a model of elegance in 1881. The dark wooden trim behind the bar and the antique molding with its rosettes are some of the original accents. Skylight-illuminated by day and chandelier-lit by night, today’s Carriage Lounge takes its visitors back in time while providing a stately central greeting point for the more formal events at the Club. It remains the center of the Diablo Clubhouse, cherished by members and guests alike.

  • The Red Horse Tavern
    • Diablo’s Red Horse Tavern is named after the original created in 1917 by Robert Noble Burgess. A reminder of its past is the original bust of the “Red Horse” above the bar that occupied the same pinnacle spot in the original Tavern. Commissioned by Burgess, it was created by a carousel manufacturing company in Boston and welcomes patrons today as it did so many years ago at the Tavern’s grand opening in 1917.

      The new Red Horse Tavern was completed in 2003 and has become the favorite gathering place for members enjoying a casual evening at the Club. Adorning its walls are archival photographs honoring Diablo’s 140-year equestrian heritage.

  • The James Champion Stone Dining Room
    • Named for Diablo’s iconic historian, Jim Stone, the James Champion Stone Dining Room is a favorite place for dining in a more formal setting. Many pictures on the walls are Jim’s favorites from his book, Diablo’s Legacy, Recollections & Reflections, 1912-Present, and honor the Diablo community he loved and championed.

  • The Curtola Room
    • Dedicated in 1997, the Curtola Room honors the memory of the Curtola Family, owners of the Club from 1948-1961. Revered as the “father of modern day Diablo,” Larry Curtola led the expansion of the Clubhouse in 1948, which included this namesake room, with windows overlooking the Dan Cook Creek and the 18th green. Today, the room is watched over by a portrait photo of matriarch Betty Curtola.

  • The Smith Family Tribute
    • The stairway connecting the Carriage Lounge to the Colton Room, Fitness Center and Men’s Locker Room is adorned with an archival and pictorial tribute to the Smiths of Carnoustie and Diablo. The walls tell the story of one of the most successful golf families in the sport’s history and define their time at Diablo.

      From Diablo’s beginning as a golf club and through 1936, patriarch John Smith cared for the course, constructing the original Jack Neville and William Watson designed links and providing expertise for the Club’s topnotch golf program. Three of his sons served as professionals for the Club in their careers, living in the family cottage behind the Red Horse Tavern. Later in their careers, the Smith sons reunited with their parents regularly at Diablo, often participating in professional exhibition matches on their father’s course, to the pleasure and pride of the membership.

  • The Colton Room
    • In a museum-like setting, the Colton Room celebrates Diablo’s General David Douty Colton. Colton was Diablo’s original gentleman rancher, and the Colton Room illustrates the life and times of this historic American figure.

      A panorama landscape on the walls brings visitors back to Colton’s heyday in San Francisco and the American West of the late 1800s. Also featured on the walls, exactly 10 paces apart, are a pair of 1855 vintage Percussion Belgian Dueling Pistols, reflective of the pair used in the Last Duel of Consequence in America, in which Colton acted as a Second. The table in the center of the room artfully tells Colton’s story and his life at Diablo during these historic times.

  • The Men’s Locker Room
    • Remodeled in 2013, the Men's Locker Room features the Ramsey Tartan used in Carnoustie, Scotland, the original home of Diablo's John and Joann Smith, who shaped the Club's golf program starting in 1914. John Smith and his five sons—all top professional golfers—not only championed the sport when it was still new to America, they also were skilled craftsmen, making some of the best golf clubs of the day.

      Artwork and antiques in the Men's Locker Room honor such early club makers. Another was Robert Simpson, Curator of Golf at Carnoustie beginning in 1883 and proprietor of Robert Simpson and Son, one of the foremost club makers in the world. He selected John Smith as greenskeeper for the Carnoustie Course and employed John's sons as apprentices, with Alex Smith, his eldest, as foreman, before the Smiths made their way to their adopted home here in the United States.

      Robert Simpson's grandson, Trevor Williamson, provided the inspiration and tone for the locker room Tribute to Club Makers, 1895-1935.

  • The Ladies’ Locker Room
    • The Ladies' Locker Room is a casual gathering place for Diablo women and their guests, often enjoyed before and after a round of golf. Renovated in 2013, the area's decor celebrates the extraordinary success of the Smiths as teachers of golf. John "Pop" Smith and his sons were all talented mentors, creating professional champions, amateur champions and Diablo member champions.

      A trophy case tribute includes first edition books and memorabilia by members of the Smith family and their students, renowned golfers all, and pictures on the walls include photos and archival newspaper stories headlining some of the champions they trained.

      Among the Diablo champions featured is Barbara Lee, a protégé of Pop Smith starting when she was "not yet ten summers old." Barbara became John's favorite student, and Barbara credited all her championship success in California amateur competition to her beloved Pop Smith of Diablo.

1700 Clubhouse Road
Diablo, CA 94528
Clubhouse: 925.837.4221
RHT: 925.837.9000
Golf Shop: 925.837.9233
Tennis Shop: 925.837.7040
Aquatics: 925.837.2723
Kids Club: 925.837.7266
Copyright © 2018 Diablo Country Club.
All Rights Reserved
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