Adjacent to the sunny slopes of the northern Santa Lucia Mountains, Nicklaus Club - Monterey’s spectacular stretch of dramatic hills and lush valleys are immersed in the history and legacy of early California pioneers.
Settled in the late 1700s by Spanish missionaries from Mexico, the land was named Rancho Laguna Seca. As part of what then was Alta California, in 1821 it fell from Spanish rule to Mexico until the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848.
The rich, rolling landscape -- part of which makes up present-day Nicklaus Club - Monterey -- was eventually granted to Catalina Manzanelli de Munras in 1865. She was the wife of 19th century artist Esteban Carlos Munras, a native of Barcelona who settled in Monterey in 1812 and established a trading company, importing fine household furnishings and necessities to the earliest settlers in what became California’s first capital.
The property was purchased from the Munras family in 1953 by Frank Bishop, who along with wife Connie transformed it into a sizeable thoroughbred horse farm, with 36 stalls. Renamed Laguna Seca Ranch, the spread was originally planted in Kentucky Bluegrass and became the breeding ground for 1974 Kentucky Derby competitor Ga Hai, which that year won the Derby Trial.
The Bishop family, which developed some of Laguna Seca Ranch into home sites as early as 1958, divested their final holdings of the property in the early 1990s. In 1999 the development of Nicklaus Club - Monterey took shape, with the new golf course and gated community unveiled in 2000.
Situated in the sunny Monterey Valley on a spectacular piece of rolling farm and ranch land, Pasadera Country Club is the centerpiece of the 565-acre master-planned Pasadera community. The property was previously known as Laguna Seca Ranch, a model horse-breeding farm purchased and owned by Frank Bishop in 1953. The land was acquired from Mrs. Esteban Field, wife of a descendant to one of the early Spanish families that settled California. The ranch was part of the original grant by the King of Spain to the Munras family.
The 36-stall ranch was to be the breeding farm for Mr. Bishop’s future Kentucky Derby Winner. He started with 2 stallions and 24 mares all purchased from Henry H. Knight’s Almahurst Farms, near Lexington Kentucky, the largest commercial breeding farm in the country at that time. The main pasture was originally planted in Kentucky Bluegrass as an experiment to see if it could actually thrive on the Monterey Peninsula.
The Spanish history has been captured in the exquisite architecture of the Country Club’s 38,000 square foot clubhouse, which is the crown-jewel of the community. Pasadera, whose Spanish translation is “stepping stone,” is the only private country club on the Monterey Peninsula offering a complete set of Club amenities to its members.
The Southern California architecture of Wallace Neff, who designed homes for the movie stars and moguls in the 1900’s, inspired the feel for Pasadera Country Club. “The owners wanted to create an early California hacienda, courtyard-style feeling,” noted Dave Howerton, whose company, Hart-Howerton Architects, designed the Club related structures. This theme is further enhanced by the efforts of Joszi Meskin, the Club’s interior Designer. Both designers are from San Francisco. The Clubhouse also exhibits somewhat of a Moorish influence.
The Club owners worked with a number of craftsmen, artists and local professional designers to create a timeless look. The collection of interiors represents several trips to Europe. The tapestry wall hanging from France, rugs from Tibet and a boardroom table from Spain are just a few of the influences present. Hand painted frescos, walls, ceilings and borders combined with the elaborate Italian tile flooring and reclaimed train trestle timber ceilings all contribute to this eclectic and successful project.
Concurrently developed with Pasadera Country Club, the Pasadera community displays a tasteful blend of custom homesites, spacious estate residences and stylish Spanish villas, carefully integrated into the community’s diverse and attractive landscape. Entering the property through the Club’s private gate provides a distinctive sense of freedom and tranquility, which are the benchmarks for the community’s persona. In keeping with its commitment to environmental stewardship, large tracts of land have been preserved in their native condition in a conscious effort to maintain the property’s rural character.
View corridors abound from both the golf course and the various homesites within Pasadera, with splendid vistas of the surrounding valleys, majestic woods and dramatic hillsides, where individuals and nature peacefully co-exist.
Design guidelines for properties within Pasadera are subject to review by the Pasadera Homeowners Association Architectural Review Committee, and residents typically participate as part of the Pasadera Homeowners Association.