Trinity Alps Golf Course and Restaurant
● By Jon Lewis
Story and photo by Jon Lewis
Weaverville’s cherished golf course was on the ropes. The restaurant and bar was about to become a church and a developer was envisioning a housing project on the nine-hole layout.
The idea of saying goodbye to 40 years’ worth of gatherings, good times and golf did not sit well with many in the small, close-knit town. They had already seen the movie theater go out of business and a popular restaurant shut its doors—adding the golf course to that sad list would have been one closure too many.
“We could not afford to lose this course. We had people saying if anything happens to the golf course, they’ll move,” says Cheryl Gilbertson, herself a sixth-generation Weaverville resident.
“Once it was gone, we knew we’d never be able to resurrect it. We just didn’t want to let it go,” adds Will Shaw of Junction City.
The response was an honest-to-goodness grassroots movement to save Trinity Alps Golf and Country Club, only these heroes rode in on riding lawnmowers. Others raided their own sheds for shovels, rakes, tools, plumbing supplies, pruning shears and even old-fashioned push mowers.
They attacked the course and the restaurant/bar, both of which had been stripped bare after the previous owners walked away from the business in 2013. It was an all-volunteer labor of love by people who love golf and love their community.
Initially, enough work was put in to keep the course open and playable. Golfers would slide their green fees under a door; if they were thirsty, they could grab a cold drink out of a refrigerator and make a donation. Portable bathrooms were set up because the clubhouse itself was locked up.
That stop-gap arrangement was good for a little more than a year, but then the property owner, Kathy Rose, found herself in a position where she needed to sell the parcel with the restaurant and bar on it. “She was about ready to sell to a church. She knew the course would cease to exist and it almost broke her heart,” Gilbertson says.
(Rose’s father, Vic, purchased the land in 1954 and kept it in the family trust to ensure the community could enjoy a golf course. The late Felix Claveran built and operated the course for 26 years before moving to Brookings, Ore., to develop a new course.)
With the clock ticking, fans of the course put their heads together to come up with a plan. George Loegering, a part-time Trinity Center resident who golfs at Trinity Alps, brought up the idea of an ownership group. Gilbertson’s father, Dick Morris, favored the idea too and soon the formation of a limited liability company, or LLC, was underway.
Gilbertson, who volunteers as the general manager, says she was not sure how difficult it would be to raise the needed money, but in the end, all 35 shares in the LLC were quickly acquired at $10,000 each. “Everybody has been so excited that we’re open again. They’ve been coming out to support us and it’s just been wonderful. I didn’t know how easy it would be to get investors, but now we have a waiting list. It’s just been heartwarming.”
With keys to the operation in hand, a group of investors, golfers and community members went to work. The task at hand was daunting: The restaurant and bar had been gutted; the kitchen needed to be rebuilt; appliances needed to be purchased; walls needed to be painted; a roof needed to be replaced; the golf course needed a working irrigation system; and a pair of bocce ball courts had to be installed.
They wanted a golf course, restaurant and community center they could be proud of, and they put in the work to make it happen.
“It wasn’t an easy fix,” admits Shaw, but people were willing to give of their time, skills and money. “We saved tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, due to people who wanted to donate” their time and talents, he said.
Molly Contos, the spirited events coordinator/party director at the course, says the community’s effort has resulted in a facility capable of hosting proms, weddings, retirement parties, tournaments and other events.
“When I say it was a labor of love, I mean it. There were so many silent heroes,” says Contos, who is often seen patrolling the fairways in a hot pink golf cart that she has nicknamed “Pinky Tuscadero.”
For Weaverville native Burke Adrian, an avid golfer who now lives in Sacramento, the decision to become an investor was an easy one: “It was my love of the game coinciding with the love of my hometown, and my belief along with the others who joined in.”
With Trinity County’s economy continuing to struggle, Weaverville’s little golf course grew in importance, says Adrian, who has a seat on the association’s board of directors. “This is a wholesome, family-oriented activity that we need to foster,” he says, adding that the Trinity High School golf program will benefit too. “And now I’m kind of committed, so I have a reason to go see my hometown once a month and be involved in the rebuilding of this place.”
Trinity Alps Golf & Country Club
130 Golf Course Drive, Weaverville
(530) 623-6209 • http://www.trinityalpsgolfclub.com