Hacienda Golf Club was born during the Golden Age of golf course architecture as a dream of turn-of-the-century oil millionaire Alphonso Bell. Before founding Bel-Air Country Club, which he located within his vast landholdings extending from what is now West Los Angeles to the Pacific Palisades, Bell founded Hacienda.
In a beautiful canyon carved out of the La Puente Hills, Bell sought to build a golf course of demanding and championship caliber. For its design, he retained the services of William Watson, the most prolific and best-known golf course architect in all of California at the time. The first nine holes opened in 1920, and the second nine in 1923.
The first real clubhouse was built in 1927. In the more than eighty years since its design, the layout of the golf course has remained the same.
Via Hacienda GC
OTHER HACIENDA ARCHITECTS
As was stated earlier in this text, Billy Bell has been identified as the original architect, not Max Behr, who is credited in The Golf Course as the original designer. George Von Elm, while he was head pro from 1951 to 1954, designed two sand bunkers near No. 5 green, the one on the right and the second bunker on the left. They were built by Zeke Avila, the new greenskeeper who had been lured to Hacienda from Lakeside by Von Elm, and his crew of six men. Howard Hughes, an architect from Palm Desert, provided the plans for rebuilding Nos. 10, 12, 13, and 15 greens in 1960. They, too, were built by Avila and his crew. Robert Trent Jones and Robert Trent Jones, Jr. redesigned No. 7 green in 1971. Ted Robinson redesigned and enlarged Nos. 6 and 8 greens in 1972 and No. 16 in 1987. Peter Thomson, Michael Wolveridge, and Ronald Fream were involved in certain tee elongations and a few other modifications concurrent with the installation of the second irrigation system in 1978, and Gerald W. Pirkl rebuilt and lengthened Nos. 11 and 14 tees.
The Golf Course lists Billy Bell, Sr. and Billy Bell, Jr. as having done work in 1947, but we have found no records to confirm that. It also lists Ted Robinson as having done work in 1965, but that is believed to be a mistake because none of our sources of information on Hacienda’s history are aware of any construction, renovation, or modification to the course being done that soon after the completion of Hogan’s work.
Billy Bell prepared a Master Plan for the course in 1958 that was published serially in the Divot Diggings. Although knowledge of that plan was apparently lost to subsequent management, most of his recommendations have been followed quite closely, presumably by accident.
Some significant and successful modifications have been made without the involvement of an architect. Two examples are the redesign and extension of the 13th and 12th tees, the latter as recently as 1993.
In the last few months of 1994, Architect Cary Bickler had completed the design of some target greens that were incorporated in the renovation and expansion of the driving range.
From Hacienda Golf Club: A History, by James J. Cowen. Available on Archive.org