Resident Feature

Tee it Up

with 9-Holes at the Oldest Racetrack in America

“Stamped as the oldest race track in America,” the race track located on the Alameda County Fairgrounds dates back to 1858 when it was constructed by Augustin Bernal, the son of a Spanish Don. The Palm Pavilion grandstands were filled with wagering bets for the first time ever in July 1939, which, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, made Pleasanton “the birthplace of horse racing in California.” Unless you have been down on the impressive track, it is quite hard to imagine that inside this historic 1 mile horse racetrack is the home of the Pleasanton Golf Center’s 9-Hole Golf Course! 

The historic site has been attracting people to the Alameda County Fair since 1912. With views of the massive Palm Pavilion, the East Bay Hills, the stables, and the Horse Racing Start Gate, to the Alameda County Fair logo water tower on the course, you can only imagine the glory and the pomp and circumstance that flourished during the summers while the horses raced around the track and the county fair activity were in full swing. As times have changed, even now, hundreds of thousands of people get swept up in the sites, smells, and activities of the Alameda County Fair and betting on the horses in June and July. 

Located 14 miles south of Downtown Danville, The Pleasanton Golf Center’s 9 hole public golf course is right in the middle of the Historical Palm Pavilion Racetrack. The course was built in 1974 by Ron Curtola. The executive course white tee yardage is 1,681 and red tees are at 1,586 yards. It seems that once you enter the Main Gate to the Pleasanton Fairgrounds, you have entered into a different world. The course is charming and the etiquette of the staff follows suit. The golfers and the staff are kind, patient, and have an “old town” type of friendliness. You will get person to person instructions and big smiles from the gate guards. They will instruct you to “honk” before you enter the tunnel. What? Yes, you will make a right hand turn into an underground one-way tunnel only wide enough for one car. The “honk” will warn oncoming cars or pedestrians that you are coming through. Then, there you are, in the middle of the 1 mile oval racetrack. 

The camaraderie between golfers and the challenge of the game have generations of players gravitating to this quaint and challenging 9-hole, executive course with three Par 4 holes. Not only are the prices unbeatable, but
you can move through this course in less than 90 minutes, which makes it so easy to get in a bit of golf without interrupting a day’s schedule. This winter the course has been bustling with activity. Tim, the Golf Marshall said, “people love it here and they always come back”. I understand why they always come back and have no doubt I will, too. This is also a good place to have regular golf group meet-ups with its central location, feasible rates, quick pace and undoubtable historic charm. 

**The COVID practices are in full swing, with the CDC protocol listed on their website. No need to worry about driving a cart on this course because it is the perfect walking course. Pushcart rentals are available for $4 which are cleaned and sanitized between each rental. 

By Lynne Harrosh, Resident since 2008

Lynne Harrosh is an avid golfer and traveler. Follow her on Facebook & Instagram @TeeItUpTravel to get connected to the best places to golf, golf technology, golf equipment, discounts on green fees, stay & plays, and golf travel –