Whether you’re seeing Skyline Country Club in person for the first time or for the 101st time doesn’t matter. You’ll always be mesmerized. The rugged backdrop of the Santa Catalinas and hawk-eye views of the Tucson valley never cease to evoke awe and wonder, pleasure and pride.
They built it.
John Bender and Leonard Savage were so enamored with the pristine site in 1959, they dreamed of a way to preserve and privatize it, making it permanently accessible to privileged residents, members and guests. Skyline Country Club and Resort, as they originally called it, would become one of the first large-scale developments in the prestigious Catalina Foothills.
Such a feat was nothing short of an engineering miracle.
The area north of the Rillito River was still largely undeveloped at the time. In fact, nearly every road was unpaved and only one river crossing existed – at Dodge Boulevard.
Skyline’s visionary developers drilled a well, installed pumps and laid pipeline connecting their site to the river, six miles straight downhill along Swan Road. With a water resource assured, they strategically carved home sites into the foothills surrounding their centerpiece golf course and magnificent clubhouse, sited at the highest possible point to take full advantage of the breathtaking views. Skyline Country Club Estates was then, and is today, one of Tucson’s most coveted residential areas.
Adjacent to the clubhouse, Bender and Savage constructed casitas for rental by travelers visiting Tucson. Reputed as “a quiet alternative to Palm Springs,” Tucson was fast becoming a preferred undercover destination for celebrities. Skyline was a picture-perfect getaway then—just as it is now.
Among Skyline’s early guests were Mickey Mantle, Frank Sinatra, Anne Margret, Joe Namath and Arnold Schwarzenegger. These stars could afford to vacation anywhere. They chose Skyline for the same reasons members and guests choose it today – great food, great service and an atmosphere that is luxuriously private yet always friendly, welcoming and fun. Never stuffy.
Original hopes for the clubhouse included a proposed casino and up to six stories of hotel rooms. The existing Crown Room (third floor) was to be the main gaming floor. Alas, when gaming was not approved by the Arizona legislature, plans for a resort casino were tabled, forever altering its destiny.
Recognizing the worth of their foothills gem, Skyline members purchased the clubhouse, golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool and casitas from developers for a sum of $4,000,000. They purchased debentures to pay half the purchase price and the balance was financed by the developer.
In the late 1970s, members sold the Casita properties to private developers and paid off the balance of the note. Since that day the Club has been fully owned by the membership.
And they’re still coming – 50 years later.
Skyline Country Club thrives today thanks to the foresight of its past and current membership. Major remodels in 1984 and 2009-2010 continue to keep Skyline at the top of its game.
Members and guests aren’t the only ones to know how special a place their club truly is. In 2006, Skyline was designated a “Platinum Club of America” in 2006 by Sibbald and Associates. This prestigious honor places Skyline among the top 200 private clubs in America as chosen by industry peers in recognition of excellence in leadership, management and facilities. It is the only Club so honored in Southern Arizona.
In 2012, the Club celebrated its 50th anniversary.
We hope you’ll come, celebrate with us and be a part of history in the making at Skyline.