Who was Johnny Dawson? He was a young Chicagoan with a winning personality. Everyone liked him and, as it turned out, he was a terrific golfer. He played the Masters Tournament seven times and won the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship three years in a row. His fame as a golfing "insider" was a valuable asset in his investors. He developed the trend-setting Thunderbird Country Club near Palm Springs and then seven more clubs throughout California, including Eldorado Country Club nearby, the ultimate golfing home for Presidents and barons of American industry.
On July 6, 1968 Johnny met with Elisabeth Stewart to lease one hundred and fifty-five acres on which she had originally planned to build a family ranch. Unlike other club sites, the acre-age was wind free with spectacular views of snow-capped mountains. It sloped gently providing nighttime views of lights in the valley. Landscaper Ted Robinson's par 60, Executive course for Mrs. Stewart's site is short, but provocative "... requiring every club in the bag ...". It takes less than three hours to play, which is ideal for busy lifestyles and golfers of all ages.
To design the homes, Dawson picked an architectural designer that he had been unable to get for Eldorado, John Elgin Woolf. Why Woolf? Two reasons really: Woolf was the most famous architect of the time. Architectural Digest, Town and Country and Vogue featured his projects and Ira Gershwin, Greta Garbo, John Wayne and Judy Garland were among his clients. Secondly, the project needed to set itself apart from eighteen other golf clubs being built. That was easy; none had homes as widely spaced, nor as beautiful, as Woolf's "Hollywood Regency" styling’s. Regency's theatrical style is one of restrained opulence with carefully scaled architectural elements in perfect balance. For more on the life on John Elgin Woolf, Click here.
In 1978 all fourteen phases of the Marrakesh Country Club were done. Three hundred and sixty-four spacious homes were separated into fourteen neighborhoods, each having about two dozen homes, a pool and a shady pool pavilion. At first each neighborhood was self-governing, but now they are governed as a single homeowners association with a few restrictive covenants to guarantee tranquility. Although cutting edge technical conveniences, building systems and environmental conservation techniques are continuously being adopted, these homes are also forward looking examples of Hollywood Regency architecture at its best.