Thunderbird Country Club

The home of golf in the Coachella Valley

Thunderbird started the Desert lifestyle of casual elegance which set the successful tone for all Coachella Valley country clubs to follow. Numerous great professional golfers, celebrities,U.S. President’s, business leaders, golfers and socialites continue to flock to Thunderbird whose embedded culture of the game, its accessibility and dedication to not being just like everyone else endures today. Enjoy a sampling of the stories, images and artifacts which illustrate Thunderbird Country Club’s rich history of its people and the game of golf.

Thunderbird Ranch

In the beginning there was only sand, water and Thunderbird’s Frank Bogert who would inspire a leisure lifestyle for guests visiting Palm Springs.

On December 15, 1946, Thunderbird Ranch officially opened. The ranch immediately attracted the Hollywood crowd and offered all the expected dude ranch activities such as horseback riding, shooting and chuck wagon meals. A stable with 40 horse stalls stood near the spot where today golfers play the Club’s No. 4 fairway.

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Building the Home of Golf in the Coachella Valley

"I would go all over the United States trying to promote my dude ranch, Bogert remembered. "It wasn’t easy, and every place I’d go, people would say to me, we love the Palm Springs area, but you only have one nine-hole golf course." Enter Johnny Dawson, a top amateur golfer for three decades, who was in 1949 looking for land on which to build the first eighteen-hole golf course in Palm Springs.

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The Ryder Cup

Thunderbird was selected to host the Ryder Cup Matches on November 5th and 6th of 1955, an unheard of honor for a young golf course in what was in 1955, a remote part of the world. Only a handful of U.S. golf courses have hosted the Ryder Cup. Significantly fewer than that can tout that golfers are today still playing the same course routing and distance.

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Club of Presidents

Thunderbird maintains a rich history of providing a peaceful respite for numerous United States Presidents.

The Club is honored that these prestigious Americans have found peace and delight chasing a small white ball around the Thunderbird links.

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Early inventor of the Golf Cart

Another Thunderbird first was the development of the motorized golf cart, as familiar on golf courses today as golfers.

Nowadays, it is hard to imagine the great history of the game of golf, without the introduction and impact of motorized carts.

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The Ford THUNDERBIRD

And let us not forget to mention become the singular Club a glamorous sports car is named after.

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