Twenty years before San Jose Country Club was founded, the San Jose area was being developed as a residential neighborhood. The original 18-hole golf course was designed by noted golf course architect Donald Ross, and was completed in 1925. The original portion of the present clubhouse was designed by Harold F. Saxelbye, prominent Jacksonville architect, and built in 1927 for the guests of the old San Jose Hotel, now the campus of The Bolles School. During the Depression the hotel failed, but the golf course and clubhouse continued as a semi-private operation for many years prior to 1946. In 1946, Stockton, Whatley and Davin Company acquired the club property from the duPont Estate, created the San Jose Investment Company which purchased the land and leased it to the country club with an option to purchase. The Club’s charter was approved on April 16, 1947, with 224 names on the roster.
At that time, the Club's property consisted of the clubhouse, (which included a ballroom), small locker room, pro shop and a home-type kitchen; approximately 135 acres of land and the golf course, badly in need of attention and improvements to bring it up to the standard desired by the members. The first order of business was renovation with extensive additions to the clubhouse, including the men’s locker room and lounge, relocating and equipping the kitchen and general repairs to the existing building; the construction of swimming and wading pools, a bathhouse and a large scale renovation of the golf course. The Club experienced a steady growth and the Board of Governors exercised the option to purchase the Club in 1951.
By 1949 the membership had grown to 470 and and doubled again by 1978. Of the original 224 members from 1947, 57 were still members in 1979! The continued growth allowed the Club to take on major clubhouse improvement projects 1956, 1960 and 1965. The 1956 changes included the construction of the Cordova Terrace Room, a ladies’ lounge and locker room, a much larger and relocated Golf Shop and addition of air-conditioning to many areas of the building. Other changes during the late 50s included the remodeling, enlargement and modernization of the kitchen facilities, clearing and grading the golf practice range, installation of new pumping and filtering equipment at the pool, and in 1958 the construction of two tennis courts. Tennis immediately drew a large following which prompted the Club to build two additional courts within a short time.
The 1960 renovations produced the new ballroom, the refurbished dining room, Gourmet Room and lounge area, and expansion of the parking lot. In 1965 building size was increased by approximately 40% and included additions of the new ladies’ locker room and lounge, golf hop, men’s lounge/card room and a section of the new kitchen.
With the emergence of tennis as a major recreational sport in the mid 1970s, the tennis program was expanded. Three additional courts were built in 1973, a tennis pro shop in 1975, and two more courts in 1978, increasing the total number of courts to nine.
A complete redecorating program was completed in the fall of 1975. Late that year, our newly refurbished Club was selected as the site for the dinner honoring President Gerald Ford and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. San Jose Country Club received much public recognition and media coverage as a result of this event.
Included in the party, which made San Jose the “center of the world for a day”, were Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Governor Rubin Askew, Mayor Hans Tanzler, and all of the wives of the major guests. Their hosts were San Jose Members Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Mason and, of course, accompanying all these guests were a multitude of Secret Service agents. This event is archived in San Jose history by the photo montage mounted in the main hallway of the Clubhouse.
In keeping with our Club’s policy of a continuous updating of facilities, new cart paths on the golf course were built in 1977 and improvements to the swimming pool and bathhouse in 1978.
In 1988, members invested $3.5 million for a rebuilt golf course, a brand new fitness center, and a new snack bar with kitchen. The tennis area was enhanced, and the clubhouse was updated with new carpeting, paint and new furniture and equipment.
The Club had many members interested in yachting and related water sports, and so the San Jose Yacht Club was formed and incorporated in 1966, patterned along the lines of the famous New York Athletic Club’s Yacht Club. With “membership restricted to Members of San Jose Country Club”, an additional social and geographic dimension to sports activities and membership in San Jose Country Club became a reality.
Among the achievements of the enthusiastic Yacht Club members who flew San Jose’s “red-and-green” burgee has been the institution of the popular annual Oyster Roast, the adoption of the Club’s official blue blazer and the gift of the present flag pole and official Country Club flag. The Yacht Club retired in 2015.
From the beginning, the Club’s founders intended San Jose to be a family social club with a good measure of sports activities included. Most of the seasonal programs have been planned with these aims in mind. The tremendous interest shown by all age groups in the many social attractions and sports activities at the club proves the farsightedness and wisdom of the leaders in planning it.