The opening of Fairbanks Ranch Country Club coincided with the 1984 Olympic Equestrian Endurance Event held on the property. The event took place on August 1, 1984. A bronze sculpture named ‘Victory’s Gate’ was created to commemorate the event, and this work of art permanently stands at the entrance gate of Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.
Once part of a historic Spanish land grant, Fairbanks Ranch was purchased by Douglas Fairbanks in the 1920s. Fairbanks was a famed silent film star in the early 1900s who brought such roles as Zorro and Robin Hood to the big screen. He and his wife Mary Pickford, known as “America’s Sweetheart,” owned more than 3,000 acres of the area, which they called Rancho Zorro, taken from Fairbanks’ film “The Mark of Zorro.” The famous couple intended to use the acreage as a peaceful retreat from the hubbub of Hollywood and as a private getaway in which to entertain friends.
Fairbanks Ranch became a haven for the recreationally minded. It was this pristine environment and the opportunity for enhancement that first sparked the watchful eye of builder and developer Raymond A. Watt. In 1977, Watt painstakingly began the complex task of assembling Fairbanks Ranch from eight separate entities and set about making his farsighted dream a tangible reality.
Watt set forth to develop his vision of Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, which he felt would enhance the lifestyles and the value of the properties of these community residents. He sought out to recruit a group of prestigious local businessmen who would become Founding Members and finance the development of the club. They had no trouble recruiting members and quickly developed a waiting list to join. They interviewed several golf course architects and ultimately engaged Ted Robinson Jr. to design the course and construction began in 1980.
Fairbanks Ranch Country Club’s global impact and refined image was solidified when the International Equestrian Federation chose Fairbanks Ranch Country Club as the site of the 1984 Olympic Equestrian Speed and Endurance Test, even though all other Olympic equestrian activities were held in the Los Angeles area. The site was granted the royal stamp of approval by the president of the International Equestrian Federation, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, during his historic visit to Fairbanks Ranch. Prince Philip expressed his gratitude in this letter to the members of Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.