Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Golf Links

Located on the span between Felton and Santa Cruz, Golf Links was a minor flag-stop that served the guests of the nearby Casa del Rey Golf Course & Country Club. The golf course was opened by Fred Swanton, financier of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, in 1912 as his last commercial venture with the Santa Cruz Beach Company. Soon afterwards, it was taken over by the Santa Cruz Seaside Company. The golf course closed down in 1934 due to competition from Pasatiempo Golf Course on the other side of the San Lorenzo River. The property became a polo field in subsequent years. The flag-stop at the bottom of the hill remained in service as "Golf Links" until 28 August 1939 when the stop was abandoned by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Its location was just south of the California Powder Works Junction and about a mile north of Eblis and Mission tunnel in Santa Cruz. The stop was connected to the Casa del Rey Golf Course & Country Club via a wooden boardwalk and staircase that ran from the top of the hill to the tracks above the county road (the future State Route 9).

The Casa del Rey Clubhouse, c. 1915 (CardCow image)

Today nothing remains of the flag stop and there are no known images of the specific location in existence except on railroad maps. The Pogonip Polo Club turned into a general-use country club after World War II but was finally closed down in 1993 to become Pogonip Open Space, a wide empty land below the University of California, Santa Cruz, campus. The original clubhouse and tennis courts still exist, though much of the property has been reclaimed by nature. Numerous paths criss-cross between the Highway 9, the tracks, and Pogonip today.

Original Place Names Entry: "Golf Links A former railroad "stop" on the Southern Pacific Railroad between Santa Cruz and Felton. It was located north of the Santa Cruz city limits almost directly down hill to the set from the club house of the now defunct Santa Cruz Golf and Country Club located where Pogonip Club now stands. On the Thomas Brothers maps of Santa Cruz for 1940 and 1952 the station is labeled Pasatiempo Golf Course and Club, while the same maps for 1936 and 1964 show the station as Golf Links. The station was abandoned on August 28, 1939, according to the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. Map: NAT (1920), THO (1936 & 1964), SOU (Sheet G), Hammon (1980, p.82) as Golf Links; THO (1940 & 1952) as Pasatiempo Golf Course and Club"

Official Railroad Information:
Golf Links was located 76.9 miles from San Francisco via the Los Altos Branch and 2.3 miles from Santa Cruz. It has no facilities, no platform, no station structure, and no siding. It was active from early 1914 and remained on timetables until 1939, although it was probably no longer in use by that time.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36˚N 59' 31.9", 122˚W 2' 4.0"

The site of Golf Links station is along the Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific Railroad line about 0.2 miles north of where the tracks enter the redwoods near Golf Course Drive. Legally, this stretch of track is the private property of Roaring Camp Railroads and it is also not an entirely safe stretch of track due to the presence of multiple homeless camps in the area. The former Casa del Rey clubhouse is still standing, though access is barred to the public, at the end of Golf Course Drive within Pogonip Open Space.

Citations & Credits:
  • Clark, Donald Thomas. Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2008.

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