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Sash Irvine (left) and Jim Stocker have been playing at Santa Barbara Golf Club since its opening in 1958.

Paul Wellman

Sash Irvine (left) and Jim Stocker have been playing at Santa Barbara Golf Club since its opening in 1958.


Santa Barbara Golf Club Celebrates 50 Years

Muni Is Where the Locals Play


Jim Stocker and Sash Irvine played this month in a golf tournament that celebrated the 50th anniversary of “Muni,” officially named the Santa Barbara Golf Club. They also played the course in 1958, the first year the 108-acre property alongside Las Positas Road was converted into the city’s only public 18-hole links.

We never thought we’d have such a nice place to play golf,” said Irvine, 79. “All we had was a little nine-hole course up San Marcos Road.” The country clubs were too pricey, he said. “We were all working guys, trying to support our families.”

Originally, Muni did not have a clubhouse, restaurant, or other amenities. “There were no carts,” said Stocker, 87. “If you didn’t walk, you didn’t play.” Now they appreciate the contrivances that enable them to get around the course for their weekly games. “It’s a project to get up in the morning,” Irvine said, “but I sure look forward to Thursdays.”

Richard Chavez is retiring later this year after 27 years as the club’s director of golf. He noted many improvements in that span, including the driving range, new clubhouse and golf shop, and renovated tees and greens on most of the holes. They had to be rebuilt after a drought in 1991-92 devastated the course.

There were 65,000 rounds a year when I took over,” Chavez said. “They increased to more than 100,000 a year”-even with higher greens fees. They now range from $20-$34 for residents and $27-$50 for non-residents. (Call 687-7087 for reservations.)

The course is par-70 and listed at 6,037 yards. That figure was inflated from about 5,800 yards to exceed the “magic number” of 6,000, Chavez said, and he made no apologies. “The course has kikuyu grass, and the ball doesn’t roll,” he said. “Each of the four- and five-pars has additional yardage on the scorecard.”

The property has grand views of the nearby Santa Ynez Mountains and, to the south, the Pacific Ocean and Santa Cruz Island can be glimpsed on a clear day through a notch in the coastal hills.

Larry Poncino, a major league umpire for 17 years, played here last week in the Santa Barbara Senior Championship. “It’s a terrific track for a municipal course,” said Poncino, who has relatives in town. “There are a couple little funky spots.” In baseball terms, several holes have tight strike zones, putting a premium on accuracy.

Jeff Hewes, who was on the PGA Tour for a while, holds the course record of 59.

Chavez has seen many characters on the course throughout the years. One of the most memorable was a fellow named Gabe. “He loved golf but couldn’t handle pressure,” Chavez said. “For a year, he’d come out, pay his fees, and play with three people he didn’t know. He hit an invisible ball.” Gabe did not get carried away in his imagination. “He’d just shoot par,” Chavez said. “He’d two-putt every hole.”

Chris Talerico, an associate professional at the club, will take over as director in December.

ATHLETES OF THE WEEK: Dos Pueblos High swept the awards at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table luncheon. Dane Limosnero‘s two long runs-an 88-yard TD on a kickoff return and a 71-yard punt return-sparked the Chargers to a 19-17 football victory over Cabrillo. Caitlin Racich was the leading hitter for the DP girls’ volleyball team that picked up five victories last week. Alejandro Veloz, a two-way lineman on the football team who’s often caught holding books-he has better than a 4.5 grade-point average-received the Round Table’s scholar/athlete trophy that goes to a different school every month.

GAME OF THE WEEK: After 42 years of playing their home games at the Santa Barbara High, UCSB, and San Marcos football fields, the Dos Pueblos Chargers will host the first game on their own campus gridiron, Scott O’Leary Stadium, at 7 p.m. on Friday. They’ll face a very tough opponent in the Lompoc Braves.

EAST BEACH BASH: More than 500 players from around the country will be participating in the U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball this weekend at East Beach. Presiding over Sunday’s finals-at the very courts where he first learned to serve, pass, set, and hit-will be Karch Kiraly, the three-time Olympic gold medalist.

Top Sporting Events: September 25-October 5

Thursday, September 25

High school girls golf Buena at Dos Pueblos, Glen Annie GC, 3 p.m.

High school girls volleyball Buena at San Marcos, 4 p.m.

Friday, September 26

Beach volleyball U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball, East Beach, 9 a.m.

High school football Lompoc at Dos Pueblos, 7 p.m.; San Marcos at Oxnard Hueneme, 7 p.m.; Santa Barbara at Santa Maria Righetti, 7:30 p.m.; Santa Paula at Bishop Diego, La Playa Stadium, 7:30 p.m.; Grace Brethren at Carpinteria, 7:30 p.m.

College women’s soccer UCSB at Arizona State, 7 p.m.

Saturday, September 27

Beach volleyball U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball, East Beach, 9 a.m.

College men’s soccer Vanguard at Westmont, 1 p.m.; UCSB at Indiana, 4:30 p.m. PDT.

College women’s soccer Vanguard at Westmont, 3 p.m.

High school football (eight man) High Desert Academy at Cate, 2:30 p.m.

College football Antelope Valley at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 6 p.m.

Sunday, September 28

Swim-bike-run Carpinteria Triathlon, Carpinteria State Beach, 7:30 a.m.

Beach volleyball U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball, East Beach, 9 a.m.

College women’s soccer UCSB at Arizona, 5 p.m.

Monday, September 29

Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, Harry’s Plaza Cafe, 12 p.m.

Tuesday, September 30

Golf SCGA Super Senior Championship, River Course at The Alisal, 8 a.m.

College men’s soccer L.A. Mission at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

College women’s volleyball Concordia at Westmont, 7 p.m.

High school girls volleyball Ventura at Santa Barbara, 6 p.m.; Buena at Dos Pueblos, 6:30 p.m.; Oaks Christian at Bishop Diego, 6 p.m.; Rio Mesa at Laguna Blanca, 6 p.m.

High school girls tennis Dos Pueblos at San Marcos, 3 p.m.

High school girls golf Dos Pueblos at San Marcos, S.B. Golf Club, 3 p.m.

High school boys water polo Buena at San Marcos, 3:15 p.m.

Wednesday, October 1

Golf SCGA Super Senior Championship, final round, River Course at The Alisal, 8 a.m.

College men’s soccer UCSB at UCLA, 7 p.m.

Thursday, October 2

High school girls tennis San Marcos at Santa Barbara, 3 p.m.

High school girls golf San Marcos at Santa Barbara, Montecito C.C., 3 p.m.

High school girls volleyball Dos Pueblos at San Marcos, 4 p.m.; La Reina at Bishop Diego, 6 p.m.; St. Bonaventure at Carpinteria, 6 p.m.

Friday, October 3

High school football San Luis Obispo at Santa Barbara, 7 p.m.; Righetti at Dos Pueblos, 7 p.m.; San Marcos at Oxnard, 7 p.m.; Fillmore at Carpinteria, 7:30 p.m.

College women’s volleyball Bakersfield at SBCC, 6 p.m.; Pacific at UCSB, 7 p.m.

College women’s soccer UCSB at UC Riverside, 7 p.m.; West L.A. at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 4

College men’s soccer Hope International at Westmont, 1 p.m.; UCSB at UC Irvine, 7 p.m.

College women’s soccer Hope International at Westmont, 3 p.m.

College football L.A. Southwest at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 6 p.m.

College women’s volleyball Cuyamaca at SBCC, 6 p.m.; UC Davis at UCSB, 7 p.m.; Hope International at Westmont, 7 p.m.

High school girls volleyball Redondo at Santa Barbara, 4:15 p.m.

College men’s water polo UCSB at USC, 12 p.m.

Sunday, October 5

Running Carpinteria Kiwanis Big Avocado 5K Run, Carpinteria Bluffs (Bailard Ave.), 8 a.m.

College men’s water polo UCSB at UC Irvine, 12 p.m.

College women’s soccer UCSB at Cal State Fullerton, 5 p.m.

For more sports, including a weekly highlight schedule, see independent.com/sports.

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