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"Teeing Off at The Johannesburg 'Jackrabbit' Golf Course, view NE from 'The Rand', 1890s. - Kern County Museum Collection

Golf was an essential form of entertainment to the more refined element in the Rand Mining District.  While the laborers had the saloons in which to socialize the mine owners, engineers, ministers, business men, and their wives needed a more respectable place to meet.  To fulfill that need a 9 hole golf course was developed in Johannesburg in the late 1890’s.

The course started in the vicinity of the Red Dog Mill,  just east of “The Rand” and circled the town in a clockwise direction, with the first hole in the vicinity of the Alameda Mine.  It was one large sand trap.  After playing this course awhile you had no fear of the regular ‘sand trap’ on a grass course. Besides that they did not have to pay for a greens keeper.

Joburg Golf Course, Alameda Tee Off, Then/Now, 1900(?)-2011, view NE. A sign behind the bench names the hole: Alameda, 187 (presumed the distance in yards). For the convenience of the members, the Tee Off is located immediately next to The Rand. - William J. Warren © 2011

The layout of the first ‘hole’ located suggests the ‘fairways’ were the lesser populated ‘streets’ which surround the town, the better for walking and rattlesnake observing.  Great entertainment for the town dogs, no doubt.

Johannesburg Golf Club, ca. late 1890's. Curious that women out number men 2 to 1. One might expect the opposite. Perhaps the majority of the 3000 or so males were too busy scraping up enough for beans, without the dues or 'social standing' for membership? - Courtesy: Marcia Rittenhouse Wynn Family

Another mystery:  Where did the equipment come from?  We’ve looked at both Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs of the period without finding squat.

'Jackrabbit Golf Course', 2011, regrettably about eight holes short of the 1890s round. - William J. Warren © 2011

Local Residents Getting Ready to Tee Off at the 'Jackrabbit' Country Club, Late 1890;s - Kern County Museum Collection

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