by Tammy Neal / Julian P. Graham photographs courtesy Pebble Beach Company Lagorio Archives
Nestled along the jagged contours of ocean cliffs sits Pebble Beach Resort’s Beach and Tennis Club. This notable property sits on the breathtaking Stillwater Cove, surrounded by golf courses outlined by rugged beaches. Throughout its rich history, spanning more than 90 years, the Beach and Tennis Club has attracted legendary visitors including Bing Crosby, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Sir Winston Churchill.
The Beach and Tennis Club boasts connecting clubs, including the Stillwater Golfing Society and The Stillwater Yacht Club. In August, 1919, Samuel Morse purchased the property and opened the Fishing Club on Stillwater Cove. Captain John Barneson, also known as “Cap,” sailed down from San Francisco to help run the operation until 1942.
Development of the Club grew through the early 1920s, and over the summer of 1926, the original green-painted concrete tennis courts were replaced with turf courts. The Tennis Club was officially formed in 1938, thereby setting the stage for numerous tennis events over the decades. The first memorable event was an amateur exhibition featuring the number-two ranked amateur, Bobby Riggs. In 1966, tennis pro Don Leary hosted the first in a series of celebrity tournaments over the Fourth of July weekend. Don Hamilton took over as club tennis pro in 1969 and continued the event. It was Hamilton who asked Clint Eastwood to host the tournaments, and from 1970 to 1973, the event was known as the Clint Eastwood Celebrity Tennis Tournament. In 1992, the tennis courts became the site of the corporate village for the US Open golf tournament, after which they were treated to a multi-million dollar makeover with new courts and a pro shop.
Renovation to the clubhouse in 1927 included the addition of a swimming natatorium surrounded by beach sand and lush foliage, giving members the option for a taste of seclusion around the pool. This verdure has since been replaced by sleek lines and open, paved areas for lounging in the sun. Poolside celebrations have gained in popularity over the years, including the famous Washington’s Birthday swims. In 1970, Kalisa Moore, Cannery Row’s uncrowned matriarch for more than four decades, crashed the traditionally men’s only swim and became a regular participant thereafter.
Founder Samuel Morse had a passion for sailing, and in 1920 a fishing club was added to the Beach Club, followed by the Stillwater Yacht Club in 1948. Morse set sail for the South Seas in his first sailboat, Temptress, from Stillwater Cove. Guests of the Yacht Club were entertained with clambakes on the beach and glass-bottom boat rides to view the underwater marine gardens.
Along with legendary visitors and banquets that have graced the Club’s corridors, momentous films have also graced this beautiful location. In Julie, a 1956 film featuring Doris Day, the Club played a cameo roll as itself. Other films include Deep 6, starring Alan Ladd in 1969, The Big Bounce, with Ryan O’Neal, and The Love Note with Sandra Dee and Cab Hunter.
The Beach and Tennis Club remains the Monterey Peninsula’s leading exclusive social and recreational club for members to enjoy access to many outstanding facilities and services. Whether it is tennis, swimming, sailing, golf, social relaxation, or excellent dining that you seek, the Beach and Tennis Club offers a wide variety of experiences in an unparalleled setting.