Brooktrails Golf Course celebrates its 50th
By Jennifer Poole/TWN Staff Writer
July 27, 2012
The Brooktrails Golf Course is celebrating its 50th anniversary
this weekend, with a day full of golf events, "almost 1960s" prices on
burgers and hot dogs at the Brooktrails Grill, and fun for all ages.
The main golf tournament, a three-person "blind draw" scramble, starts
at 9 a.m., and there will also be putting and chipping contests, and a
closest-to-pin contest, all day.
"Fifty years is a milestone,"
said Brooktrails golf pro Ron Runberg. "It's a beautiful place, a unique
place. We've had a bunch of PGA pros and apprentices who've come here,
and they just can't believe it. They touch the redwood trees as if they
might be fake. It's like Disneyland to them."
The golf course has
been open continuously since the opening day, July 21, 1962, Runberg
said. "We're open 364 days a year, every day except Christmas."
The course started as a nine-hole course, as it is today, and as it has
been for 25 or 30 years, Runberg said. But for a while it was extended
to 18 holes, some of them across the road: "We used to have to walk
across Sherwood Road twice to play the 18 holes," Runberg said.
The number of golfers enjoying a round under the redwoods is increasing
in recent years, despite the bad economy. Close to 15,000 rounds of golf
are played on the course each year. "Most weekends in the eight or nine
big months without much rain, it's very busy," Runberg said. "The
course is also used so much for fundraisers. If we do 45 tournaments a
year, 40 of them are some kind of fundraiser."
Runberg has been
running the course for 21 years, and his parents managed the course for
five years before that. "The Brooktrails Golf Course has been in the
Runberg family for 26 years. We've had it half the time it's been open,"
A number of Brooktrails residents are retired people,
and there's a core group of golf lovers who moved to Brooktrails because
the subdivision offered the amenity of golfing in the redwoods.
But, Runberg said, "I think what we're most proud of is our junior
golfers and high-school golfers, as well as the fundraisers. It's such a
community asset. Other league coaches ask why Willits kids do so well
in golf. Well, we've done junior golf here at Brooktrails for more than
There is a wall of photos of junior golfers at the
Brooktrails Grill. "I have a junior camp every summer," Runberg said,
"and we do it at a super cut rate. If the kids don't have the money, we
give them shirts, clubs, golf balls . And then the junior kids transfer
right over to the high school."
The Willits High School golf team has won varsity golf league pennants for eight years in a row, from 2005 to 2012.
Runberg also said the 50th anniversary event was to celebrate "all the
people who help" keep the golf course alive. "It's driven by volunteers,
by people who care," he said. Without the people who are part of my
team, this place would fold up. The volunteer and community support has
For more information about the course, Golf Shop or Brooktrails Grill, call 459-6761.