In 2012, Fountaingrove Golf and Athletic Club asked a long-time member to write up a history of the club. The resulting essay became our most researched biography of all time. Here is an edited version of that piece.


Fountaingrove Golf and Athletic Club is situated in the hills of northeast Santa Rosa, in an area that Thomas Lake Harris established as Fountain Grove in 1885.

Harris also established a winery on the property with Dr. John Hyde. The winery became very successful. When Harris eventually returned to New York, he turned the property over to his adopted son, Kenaye Nagasawa. The adjacent park, where the Club shares the lake on Holes 10 and 17, was named for him.

Nagasawa died in 1934, and Fountain Grove Ranch was sold in 1940 to Robert and Barbara Walters, who ran cattle there for the next 35 years. The Walters were friends with Robert Fitzpatrick, who headed Teacher Management & Investment (TMI). Fitzpatrick purchased the lower 800 acres of the ranch in the late 1970s. In 1981, the City of Santa Rosa approved TMI’s application to develop a master-plan community, which would include a first-class golf club and future adjacent resort with more than 400 rooms. In 1984, Ted Robinson, Sr., completed his 18-hole course design for the golf club, winding through and around the hills of the ranch. The semi-private course opened in 1985.

During the next several years, TMI attempted to realize its vision of a resort, but was never successful. TMI put the course up for sale, and sold it in 1990 to the Japanese corporation Nakano, who continued operating it as a semi-private course. Nakano also attempted to develop a resort on the adjacent property. Nakano sold the course in 1996 to the Miner family (RNM Properties). RNM rebuilt and returned the course to first-class condition under the direction of the original designer, Ted Robinson, Sr.

In November 2002, the Miner family sold the course and adjacent property to a group of 18 Club members (also known as “the founders”). The athletic facility was constructed and opened in 2004. The Varenna development is located where the resort was proposed. In 2008, a majority of the Club members voted to purchase the club from the founders, and the Club became a member-owned private club. In January 2009, the first fully elected Board of Directors was seated.

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