The 1965 Dick Wilson-designed golf course on Sunnylands, the former 200-acre estate of Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg, was once walked by the likes of Presidents Reagan, Nixon, Ford, and Bush. Players included former Secretary of State George Shultz, pro golfer Lee Trevino, and entertainer Bob Hope. Today the private golf course is part of the property operated by The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands where high-level government officials and heads of institutions and programs come to effect change for the public good. In their commitment to also serve the community, the Trustees of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands are creating opportunities for select groups of citizens to access the course. The first will bring together students from The First Tee Coachella Valley, clients from Desert Arc, and veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraqi conflicts for a golf event on June 12, 13, and 14.
The First Tee is a World Golf Foundation initiative dedicated to providing young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop, through golf and character education, life-enhancing values such as honesty, integrity, and sportsmanship. The local chapter operates as a partner to many of the desert recreational activity groups. This group will play the Sunnylands golf course on Tuesday, June 12, following an eight-week program of classes, seminars, and lectures that will be held at Sunnylands Center.
Desert Arc provides educational and recreational services to more than 600 adults with mental and physical disabilities who are from the Coachella Valley. Employment opportunities for Desert Arc clients are provided by Sunnylands and other local businesses. Desert Arc clients will play the Sunnylands golf course on Wednesday, June 13 and will be accompanied by First Tee students.
Several veterans groups working within the Coachella Valley are partnering with Sunnylands for a Flag Day, June 14, golf event with American servicemen and women, particularly those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
All three groups will conclude their mornings on the Sunnylands course with an awards luncheon.
Sunnylands was the home of Walter and Leonore Annenberg.
Entrepreneurs, ambassadors, and philanthropists, the Annenbergs were devoted to the American ideals of service. This commitment led them to place their estate in public trust. The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands oversees the historic estate as well as Sunnylands Center & Gardens. Operating as The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, the home once again welcomes United States presidents, government officials, and world leaders to participate in high-level retreats on national and international issues.
Sunnylands Center & Gardens features information, tours, and programs on the Annenbergs, their role in American history, the architecture of the historic house, and their art collection. Films, exhibitions, and interactive media stations detail the events of the time and the Annenberg role in them. The unique gardens are home to a variety of arid landscape plants and wildlife. Tours of the historic Midcentury Modern residence, designed by A. Quincy Jones, leave from the Center.
Guided tours of the historic estate and A. Quincy Jones-designed residence are $35 per person. Reservations can be made on the 1st and 15th of each month at www.sunnylands.org. Visits to Sunnylands Center & Gardens are free. Sunnylands Center & Gardens is open September 1 – May 31, Thursday through Sunday, 9 am – 4 pm; June 1 – July 31, Thursday through Sunday, 7 am – 2 pm; closed in August. Guests are reminded to view visitation guidelines on the web site. Children under the age of 10 are not allowed on estate and home tours but are welcome at the Center & Gardens.
The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, which operates The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating entity established by the Annenberg Foundation to hold high level retreats that address serious issues facing the nation and the world community and to educate the public on the historical significance of Sunnylands.