The oldest building in San Diego is a golf Pro Shop!

The Pro Shop at Presidio Hill Golf Course can be found inside San Diego's oldest building, La Casa de Carrillo.
The Presidio Hills Golf Course Pro Shop can be found inside San Diego’s oldest building, La Casa de Carrillo.

Believe it or not, the oldest structure that still exists in San Diego (outside of the walls of the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá) contains a golf Pro Shop!

The two-century-old Casa de Carrillo, located near the base of historic Presidio Hill, was built in 1817, according to the Save Our Heritage Organisation.  (Plaques at the location provide two different years.)  It was built by the Spanish presidio’s commander, Francisco Maria Ruiz, for Joaquin Carrillo, a relative and fellow soldier stationed in San Diego. The adobe house stood beside the Comandante’s pear garden. Today the rather simple building, which was restored in 1931, is the home of the Presidio Hills Golf Course Pro Shop!

The small Presidio Hills Golf Course has its own unique history. Occupying what was once a scrubby plot of land at the foot of Presidio Hill, just east of Old Town, the pitch-and-putt golf course was developed in the early 1930s by George Marston, a visionary San Diego businessman and philanthropist who also worked to develop Balboa Park, the San Diego Public Library, and the San Diego Historical Society. Marston created the Junipero Serra Museum which rises today just above the site of the original 1769 Spanish presidio, so-called birthplace of California.

Over the years, the Presidio Hills Golf Course has hosted several world famous golfers, most notably Phil Mickelson, a resident of San Diego. When they were kids, Phil and his sister Tina would play all day at the small golf course. I was told by the super friendly young gentleman working in the pro shop that Phil Mickelson returns to visit every few years, just for old time’s sake.

A young Tiger Woods also won two Junior World trophies at Presidio Hills Golf Course!

Read the photo captions for a bit more information . . .

Photo of the small, historic adobe across the parking lot of the Presidio Hills Golf Course. Built around 1810, it's the oldest structure that is still standing in San Diego.
A photo of the small, historic adobe taken from the parking lot of the Presidio Hills Golf Course. Casa de Carrillo is the oldest structure that is still standing in San Diego.
A portion of La Casa De Carrillo - Pear Garden House. A center of social life and romance in early Spanish days. Here lived Senorita Josefa Carrillo. One of the oldest adobe dwellings in San Diego. Built about the year 1810. Restored in October 1931.
Bronze plaque near the front door reads:  A portion of La Casa De Carrillo – Pear Garden House. A center of social life and romance in early Spanish days. Here lived Senorita Josefa Carrillo. One of the oldest adobe dwellings in San Diego. Built about the year 1810. Restored in October 1931.
Photo of La Casa de Carrillo taken from a golf green just east of the structure.
Photo of La Casa de Carrillo taken from a golf green just east of the structure.
Sign near historical marker for Casa de Carrillo points to the golf course clubhouse and first hole.
Sign near historical marker for Casa de Carrillo points to the golf course clubhouse and first hole.
Presidio Comandante Francisco Maria Ruiz built this house next to his 1808 pear garden late in 1821 for his close relative and fellow soldier, Joaquin Carrillo, and his large family.
Presidio Comandante Francisco Maria Ruiz built this house next to his 1808 pear garden late in 1821 for his close relative and fellow soldier, Joaquin Carrillo, and his large family.
The easy Presidio Hills Golf Course is a great place to learn golf--ideal for families and kids. And one gets a history lesson, too!
Enter the old adobe and you will find the Pro Shop.  The easy Presidio Hills Golf Course is a great place to learn golf–ideal for families and kids. And one gets a history lesson, too!
A look inside the restored adobe. I'm not sure which parts of the historically important building are original.
Another look inside the restored adobe. I’m not sure which parts of the historically important building are original.
An old newspaper article displayed in the pro shop includes a photo of 8-year-old Tiger Woods. He is showing off his Junior World trophy captured at Presidio Hills, where he won two titles.
An old newspaper article displayed in the pro shop includes a photo of 8-year-old Tiger Woods. He is showing off a Junior World trophy captured at Presidio Hills, where he won two titles.
San Diego Union September 1, 1931. Old Town Links Well Under Way On Marston Land.
San Diego Union September 1, 1931. Old Town Links Well Under Way On Marston Land.
Various photos of Presidio Hills Golf Course history inside the Pro Shop. Phil Mickelson and Craig Stadler are two notable golfers from San Diego.
Various photos of Presidio Hills Golf Course history inside the Pro Shop. Phil Mickelson and Craig Stadler are two notable golfers from San Diego.
Old photo shows Don and Al Abrego Presidio Hills Tiny Tots Golf School. The school has faded into history.
Another photo shows Don and Al Abrego Presidio Hills Tiny Tots Golf School. The defunct school has faded into history.
The modest Presidio Hills Golf Course is Par 3, 18 Holes. It's located at the east edge of San Diego's Old Town.
The modest Presidio Hills Golf Course is Par 3, 18 Holes. It’s located at the east edge of San Diego’s Old Town.
Another look across the small, easy golf course. The course appears to be a bit neglected. Regrettably, I saw no players out on a Sunday afternoon.
Another look across the small, easy golf course. It appears to be a bit neglected. Regrettably, I saw no players out on a Sunday afternoon.
Historical photograph in the Presidio Hills Golf Course Pro Shop. La Casa de Carillo before it was restored in 1929.
Old black-and-white photograph inside the Presidio Hills Golf Course Pro Shop shows La Casa de Carillo (note the different spelling) before it was restored in 1929.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! I also love history! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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