Pat Williams retired from her job as a systems analyst for the Sacramento City Police Department in December of 2005. Looking to try and play more golf, she joined the Haggin Oaks Women’s Golf Club in January of 2006.
“I decided that when I retired, I was going to start playing on a regular basis,” said Williams. “I didn’t know which club to join. The husband of a lady that I used to work with said she belongs to the Haggin Oaks Women’s Golf Club. ‘Why don’t you see about joining.’
“And that’s what I did.”
The Haggin Oaks Women’s Golf Club is an 18-hole group that was founded on Jan. 31, 1967. The club was there to welcome Williams and make her feel right at home.
The club has 35 members and plays on Tuesday mornings at the Alister MacKenzie Golf Course, with the first group starting off at 7:27 a.m. in the summer months.
“We have some really good golfers in the group,” said Williams. “We have different ages. Most of our people are women who maybe have recently retired or are working part-time and have Tuesdays off. We have some that work full-time and they’ll manage a Tuesday off every once in a while and come out and play. You just enjoy each other’s company.”
Williams was the club’s captain for three years, from 2014 to 2016. She continues to serve on the board of directors, as she is the club’s starter – responsible for organizing the weekly tee times and communicating that information and any other announcements to the membership.
“I usually tried to play at least once a month, and sometimes more, when I was working. But it just didn’t work that well. I never could reduce my handicap or anything,” said Williams, who began playing golf in her late 40s. “I found it hard to play every week, trying to work and take care of the house and stuff like that.”
She looks forward to playing weekly with the Haggin Oaks Women’s Golf Club.
“I really do,” she said. “And when I can’t play, I’m just kind of like really grumpy the rest of the day.
“We really do enjoy it and look forward to it.” According to the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex website, www.hagginoaks.com, the Haggin Oaks Women’s Golf Club was established 54 years ago by a group of members from the Haggin Oaks 9-hole women’s club. It’s an active membership, as “members have varying handicaps but all have a love of the game and want to play on a regular basis.”
The club plays year-round, with members either taking a cart or walking. There are usually 4 to 5 groups that go out.
“I know it’s the highlight of my week. For me, it’s like alright, Tuesday. I get to go golfing,” said Williams. According to the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex website, www.hagginoaks.com: “If members don’t have an established handicap, they can play with a temporary handicap until a permanent handicap is established.”
The website adds: “Joining the HOWGC is a great way to make new friends, enhance your golf skills, and best of all – new and renewing members will receive one free round of golf on the Alister MacKenzie Course.”
Those with the Haggin Oaks Women’s Golf Club play from either the 1-Oak tees, a par-72, 4,549-yard layout, or the 2-Oak tees, a par-72, 5,372-yard layout.
“We have members that just don’t ever miss a day. And then we have others that have other things to do in their lives, and so they play maybe once a month,” said Williams.
The Alister MacKenzie Golf Course, the home of the California State Fair Amateur Championship since 1925, is a great test of golf, with the par-5 first hole to start off your round, and finishing with par-5 holes on Nos. 17 and 18.
“It’s a tough course,” said Williams. “We determine at the beginning of the year, which tee box we would like to play from for that year. We have free play days where we can switch tee boxes and get a feel for the other one.
“There’s a lot of things I like about the MacKenzie Course. It’s just a very relaxed place. You know, we’re a pretty fast-playing group. We don’t hang around too much. We get going.
“It’s there for everybody. Wherever you’re at in your game, you can find something to like about that course. There are some really challenging holes, and then there are some that are more forgiving.
“They do a really good job of taking care of the course. The last couple of times that I’ve been able to play the greens have just been in great shape.
“The people who take care of the carts are always so friendly. Out on the course, the marshals are always around and willing to help.”
The club has weekly events. There are also two annual tournaments during the year – the spring net tournament in April and the fall tournament in September.
“A lot of people really love that early starting time. They just want to get out there and play. It’s the coolest part of the day,” said Williams.
The club’s board of directors also consists of:
- Tournament chair: Lesley Bailey.
“She just she keeps us all going. She’s the one who determines what kind of games we play and if there are changes to the calendar. She posts all the winners and takes care of passing out the awards,” said Williams.
- Co-captains: Kathleen McPherson and Sharon Planchon.
- Handicap chair: Marilyn Crosta.
“She takes her job very seriously and does a great job of keeping us updated on all the new stuff that’s going on,” said Williams.
- Membership chair: Kathy Luttrell.
- Past captain: Elaine Cannon.
- Secretary: Gerri Scheuer.
- Treasurer: Darlene McLean.
Williams enjoys not only the golf but the social atmosphere that the club provides – the luncheons that follow tournament play and the friendships that are formed.
“I’m really a social golfer. I enjoy making my game better. I always like to get out there and really try,” she said.
“I have fun because it’s such a social group. We all really enjoy each other’s company. Most of us stay afterward and have lunch and sit and talk about the game. We talk about what’s going on in everybody’s lives. We’ve really become good friends with each other. We don’t just meet every Tuesday and play golf. We have formed some very, very close friendships throughout the years.
“The ladies that we have are just all so friendly. They’re just really great people.”
Phyllis Ostrow, the club’s oldest member at 93, recently took first place in her flight. “She is quite a golfer,” said Williams. “People like Phyllis, she’s out there almost every single week. She just gets out there and plays her best.”
Gerri Scheuer, 80, won the low net overall title of the spring tournament in April.
Debora Mobley won the 2020 club championship, a fall event.
For more information
The Haggin Oaks Women’s Golf Club welcomes new members.
Information about the club can be found on the group’s bulletin board in the Ladies Lounge at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex.
Membership dues are $79 per year and include the Pacific Women’s Golf Association handicap and handicap service and Northern California Golf Association membership, according to www.hagginoaks.com.
General membership meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month, in January, April, July, and October, and are scheduled after play, according to www.hagginoaks.com. Meetings are held in the Ladies Lounge at Haggin Oaks.
“It’s very easy to join,” said Williams. “We have situations where people may not have a handicap, so we help them to achieve that. And if they do have a handicap already, then they’re ready to go. We have our rules and regulations, but they’re not difficult.”
For more information, call Haggin Oaks at 916-808-2531.
* 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.