Marshallia Ranch

Marshallia Ranch Golf Course is shown in 2005.

Staff file

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE -- After 58 years of operation, Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Marshallia Ranch Golf Course will officially close its doors on Oct. 1.

The Marshallia Ranch Golf Course ceased offering rounds of golf and significantly reduced operations Sept. 1, 2016 after drastic increases in water costs left the base’s morale, welfare, and recreation fund near bankruptcy. With this announcement, the Marshallia Ranch Golf Course driving range and putting greens will no longer be in operation and the Marshallia Ranch Golf Course Pro Shop will move into the 30th Force Support Squadron’s Outdoor Recreation facility at the end of October.

Lt. Col. Candice Pipes, 30th Force Support commander, is excited about what the future holds.

“The closure of Marshallia Ranch is necessary to the overall health of our morale, welfare, and recreation fund and our ability to execute our mission to take care of Team Vandenberg Airmen and families,” said Pipes.

Additionally, Col. Michael Hough, the 30th Space Wing Commander, hopes that we are not saying “goodbye” to golf forever, but that we are saying “see you later” as we explore some exciting options to keep golf a part of the Vandenberg community.

On Oct. 9, 1959, 11 golf holes were opened for play for the first time. The first full 18 holes were played in January 1960. Since then, the Marshallia Ranch Golf Course has hosted four Air Force championships, several Command championships, and was the California Southern Section qualifying site for the 1976 U.S. Open Championship. Most recently, Marshallia Ranch has proudly served as the “home course” of the Santa Maria High School golf team.

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Those who played this course in the past knew it as challenging, even to the best of golfers, with its blustery winds, frequent patches of golf-ball grabbing ice plant, and continuous ocean fog. The course offered narrow fairways grooved through thick, giant eucalyptus trees and allowed each golfer an intimate experience.

Over the years, much has been done to keep the Marshallia Ranch Golf Course an elite feature of Vandenberg AFB. The Marshallia Ranch Club House, built in 1997, was awarded the Air Force Citation Award for Facility Design. Additionally, the Ranch House, originally built in 1837, remains the oldest structure on Vandenberg Air Force Base and has been a landmark for more than a century. The house has survived drastic remodeling and the ravages of two fires, and two stints as a guest ranch.

As we look back, we can see how the history of the Marshallia Ranch Golf Course mirrors the changes which have transformed this corner of California from an isolated grazing land to the space-age gateway and showplace worthy of Vandenberg’s vital role in our nation’s aerospace achievements. We hope that, as with our mission challenges, we will ultimately be able to negotiate our trials through new opportunities to return golf to Team Vandenberg while continuing to meet the vast and varied morale, welfare, and recreation needs of our Team Vandenberg Airmen and families.

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