The Bing Maloney Golf Complex in Sacramento has been a part of Caroline Rudolph’s life for a very long time. It’s where she has been playing golf for at least 60 years – including times with her parents, Inez and Charles “Rudy” Rudolph, and also as a participant in a junior program when she first started out in the game at the age of 8. It’s where her mom, Inez, played for roughly 35 years, and was a club champion. It’s where Caroline Rudolph recently shot an 84, a personal low score, on May 1. It’s where on hot summer days as a youth growing up in the area, she cooled off by sometimes swimming in the ponds on the course, on holes 3 and 13.
“Kids in the ’50s, early ’60s, parents would say, ‘OK, be home by 5 because dinner’s at 5:10. It was a kid’s dream to be able to just take off and have fun and not get into too much mischief because everybody within a mile knew who you were. So, there was times when we had to cool off in the 13th pond,” Rudolph recalled.
Rudolph was in elementary school at the time. She remembers the course, which opened for play in 1952, having two stakes to new trees that had been planted. She never played around in any bunkers on the course. But she remembers being “chewed out” by her dad for being in the ponds.
“Kids had had the run of the county almost, you could say. My parents were fantastic people. And so, the mere thought that I’m still playing because of the opportunities my parents gave me when I was a kid is priceless.” she said.
Caroline Rudolph’s strong ties to Bing Maloney – a championship layout that was designed by Michael J. McDonaugh, a city employee – carry on today. Rudolph is a member of the Bing Maloney Golf Complex Women’s Golf Club, which is in its 70th year. She is on the club’s board of directors, serving as Captain and Membership Chair.
“It is an absolutely fantastic group of ladies. I feel so lucky to be able to be part of them,” said Rudolph, 72. It’s a great group to play golf with. It really is. It’s a fun course to play. And the people that are out here are friendly.”
Those two ponds where Caroline Rudolph used to get in and swim around when she was younger are no longer on the course. The Bing Maloney Women’s Golf Club, which was founded in 1952, is an 18-hole group that plays every Friday morning – at 7:30 or 8 a.m. in the summertime and at 9 a.m. in the winter months. The club has been playing the course from the red tees – a par-72, 5,251-yard layout – since 2014. Prior to that, the club played from the gold tees.
“It is a big anniversary,” said Rudolph, a Burbank High School-Sacramento graduate who graduated from UC Davis with a degree in chemistry.”
She retired in 2011 as a senior scientist from the state of California’s Department of Toxic Substance Control. She was an associate member of the Bing Maloney Women’s Golf Club and then joined as a regular member in 2011. The club has 40 members. There are weekly tournaments and special events throughout the year. The group has two major events during the year – the club championship, which is broken into flights, and the handicap tournament.
“It’s a longer course, but it’s more forgiving because it has some wider fairways. You have magnificent trees now, so that when you play in the summertime, there’s enough shade that you can walk the course without a problem. Many times, we’ll be out there at 7:30 and just absolutely loving it because it’s nice and cool, during the summertime.” said Rudolph.
According to the Bing Maloney Golf Complex website, www.bingmaloney.com: Bing Maloney, built on a 125-acre site in 1952, was named in memory of John B. “Bing” Maloney, a former superintendent for the City of Sacramento’s Recreation Department. “Maloney was instrumental in persuading the city to build the course. By a unanimous vote, the City Council agreed to name the course in Maloney’s honor.”,” according to the website.
“By a unanimous vote, the City Council agreed to name the course in Maloney’s honor.”
McDonaugh, an associate of golf course architect Alister MacKenzie, was also appointed as the course superintendent at Bing Maloney, according to the website.
The Bing Maloney Golf Complex, open to the public, also features the Express 9, a 9-hole executive course, built in 1988, that “is perfect for those just starting out or golfers that find it difficult to squeeze a four-hour round into their lives,” according to www.bingmaloney.com. It’s a 1,357-yard, par-29 course with two par-4s and seven par-3s. The Complex’s driving range has 40 hitting stations.
“Some 100,000 rounds a year are played on our two courses,” the website points out. Morton Golf Management oversees the facilities at the Bing Maloney Golf Complex.
“Many people who grew up in Sacramento over the past five decades know that over that time, a large number of oak trees have matured, making this a classic design to be enjoyed by golfers of all abilities. It remains a great tribute to the mission of daily fee municipal golf mission that the City of Sacramento set forth with back in the 1950’s – making affordable golf available to everyone,” Morton Golf Management reports on its website, www.mortongolfmanagement.com.
Bing Maloney Golf Complex Women’s Golf Club
- Nancy Rosa is the current Bing Maloney Women’s Golf Club champion and has won the title six of the last seven years.
- Agnes Kennedy won the club title in 2016.
- Charlotte Wells, the club’s past Captain, is the current handicap tournament champion.
The club’s Board of Directors consists of:
- Caroline Rudolph: Captain and Membership Chair.
- Nancy Rosa: Special Tournament Chair (with assistance from Karen Alejo).
- Jo Gregory: Weekly Tournament Chair (with assistance from Mau Stanton).
- Mary Mcdearmid: Secretary and Rules Chair.
- Peggy Chan: Treasurer and ProPoints/Putt.
- Stephanie Trenck: Handicap Chair.
- Charlotte Wells: Parliamentarian.
- Anabel Crouch: Eclectic Chair; and along with Mau Stanton, Mary Colburn, and Perla Ramos – Times Chairs (it is a quarterly rotation).
- Carmen Armstrong: Birdie & Chip-ins.
- Vi McNally: Historian and Publicity Chair.
Additional Bing Maloney Golf Complex Women’s Golf Club
- Rose Jang has been with the club all 70 years, going back to 1952. Jang doesn’t play golf anymore and is an honorary member of the club.
- Peggy Dodds, a former honorary member of the club who is in The First Tee of Greater Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame, passed away earlier this year. Dodds was 93.
- Rudolph said she was 8 or 9 years old when she first met Dodds at William Land Golf Course in Sacramento.
On its website page, the Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame said Dodds “devoted her time to running multiple junior golf events at the Sacramento City and County golf courses. She joined the Sacramento Golf Council in 1985 and was asked to reorganize the declining junior championships and now they remain some of the crown jewel events across Northern California and beyond. She has spent countless hours volunteering to help with additional events including Little Linkers, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento Tour events and other Golf Council events. Her tireless devotion to juniors has created multi-generations of parents and kids who have benefitted from the work that she has done.”
Barbara Romack, Bus Pendleton, John “Bing” Maloney and Michael J. McDonaugh were instrumental in the planning and development of the Bing Maloney Golf Complex. Romack, a member of the Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame, won the Canadian Amateur Championship in 1953 and the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in 1954. She was a four-time winner of the California State Amateur (1952, 1954, 1956, 1958). In addition, she won the 1960 LPGA Tour Leesburg Open and the 1961 Tour Rock Cities Open.
According to the Hall of Fame’s website: “Born and raised in Sacramento, Romack had a career golf record unmatched by any other woman locally. She learned the game early on from Bing Maloney Head Golf Professional Bus Pendleton and then later from Haggin Oaks Head Golf Professional Tom LoPresti. In 1955, her golfing prowess earned an invitation from then-President Dwight Eisenhower for lunch.”
When Bing Maloney opened, the newly-formed women’s club had 125 members, with a waiting list to join. The Bing Maloney Women’s Golf Club is hopeful of one day being able to move all of their trophies, awards and memorabilia from a display case in the golf shop and into an area of the women’s lounge at the Complex.
“We’re hoping we can bring those trophies back together again, and have them displayed so that those women that are new to golf, those young girls that are part of The First Tee or other youth groups can see those trophies and also be inspired by seeing some of those ladies that are still out there playing, I will tell you that they’re all tough competitors. There’s a lot of laughter going on.” said Rudolph.
Over the years, many of the members of the Bing Maloney Women’s Golf Club have also been involved with the Sacramento Golf Council, assisting the organization. The Sacramento Golf Council, according to its website, sacgolfcouncil.org, is a nonprofit corporation consisting of local volunteers conducting quality golf tournaments each year for the golfing public. Our mission is to conduct and promote superior golf events at City and County golf courses in the Sacramento Metropolitan area for all interested golfers. Specific events are open to men and women of all ages and abilities, and juniors.
“Each event features on-course player assistants, rules officials, and starter announcers. Some tournaments are approved for NCGA Points. The council supports First Tee of Sacramento, Junior Golf Association of Northern California, and other approved junior golf programs.”
Taking up the game of golf
Caroline and her older sister, Judi Painter, got involved in the game when they caddied for their parents, starting out at the ages of 8 and 5, at William Land Golf Course in Sacramento. The course was 3 miles from their family home.
“My mom was a very good golfer,” said Caroline.
Caroline’s dad asked her one day if she wanted to start playing golf or stick to caddying.
“I was a pretty smart, 5-6-year-old, who said, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ll take the game up, dad.’
Charles Rudolph cut down a 4-wood and a putter so that Caroline could start playing.
“He finally gave me more clubs after he watched me come out of the trap on the eighth hole at Land Park,” said Caroline.
She had to first get a junior etiquette card before she could ever play on a city course.
“You learn how to take care of the course. You learned how to present yourself to others, not only your peers, but also the adults. You had to prove that you had the ethics to take up the game and to play with whether they were adults or are other juniors,” said Caroline.
Caroline’s mom, Inez, joined the Bing Maloney Women’s Golf Club in the late ’50s. Inez and Charles Rudolph were also involved in the development of Valley Hi Country Club in Elk Grove. Inez played with women’s clubs at Bing Maloney and Valley Hi. Inez played at Bing Maloney for roughly 35 years.
For more information
The Bing Maloney Women’s Golf Club welcomes new members. The Complex is located in south Sacramento, at 6801 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95822. For more information, contact Caroline Rudolph at (916) 391-4663.
Marty James is a freelance writer who makes his home in Napa. He retired on June 4, 2019, after spending 40 years as a sports writer, sports editor and executive sports editor for the Napa Valley Register, a daily newspaper in Napa County. He is a 1979 graduate of Sacramento State and a member of the California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Association. He was inducted into the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2016.