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The Early Years

In 1920, a foursome at San Gabriel Country Club had this far-fetched notion of wanting to create their own private country club. Samuel M. Newmark, Louis Isaacs, Karl Triest and Joseph Y. Baruh spent several weeks quietly searching for a suitable site and finally came across a charming little parcel of rolling hills on Pico Boulevard, a half day's drive from downtown on an old dusty road, owned at the time by the Huntington Land and Water Company.

Mr. Newmark and Mr. Isaacs paid $5,000 to Mr. Huntington for a purchase option on the land. A Board of Directors was subsequently comprised and authorized the purchase of 142 acres of land at a cost of $50,000 plus the expenditure of an additional $550,000 toward the cost of the golf course and clubhouse construction.

The rest, as they say, is history, and, it goes without saying, is our collective good fortune.


During the first years of Hillcrest’s existence, it quickly became recognized as one of the premier country clubs in the nation. Prominent members of the community flocked to join. Among those applying for membership were some of the most famous and highly visible personalities in the motion picture business such as Jack Warner, Samuel Goldwyn, Adolph Zukor and Louis B. Mayer.

The Round Table

The most cherished area on the massive grounds of Hillcrest Country Club probably isn't on the golf course, in fact, it's not on any of the tennis courts nor in either of the locker rooms.

Hillcrest’s most famous site is undeniably a large, round oak table that rests inconspicuously in The Grill. To outsiders this looks like a comfortable place to rest one's weary legs, however, to any member of Hillcrest, this solid piece of wood is simply known as "The Round Table". 

As Arthur Marx wrote in an article some time ago- "The Hillcrest Round Table of Comedians, a comedic moniker playing off New York’s renown Algonquin Round Table frequented by writers and intellectuals of the '20's, didn't begin as a club at all. It came about because Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Harpo, Chico and Groucho Marx, George Jessel, Eddie Cantor, Lou Holtz, the Ritz Brothers, Danny Kaye and George Burns all liked to play golf, and in order to play they had to belong to a club. Because they were Jewish, however, they couldn't join most of the swank clubs like the Bel-Air, Wilshire, Riviera and Los Angeles country clubs-which back in the 30's and 40's were open only to gentiles. So they found their way to Hillcrest. Since this cast of characters had been friends since their vaudeville days, when they used to eat regularly at a greasy spoon called “Wolpin's” off Times Square, waiting for the day they would finally get a booking at the famed Palace Theater next door, they naturally gravitated toward one another and shared the same table at lunch. And thus was born the notorious Round Table.”

Lou Holtz and George Jessel had no other reason but the food to join Hillcrest; neither played golf. Both, in fact, were careful never to stray from the dining room or card rooms into the outdoors. Once when they accidentally opened the wrong door and found themselves out on the terrace facing the panorama of the green fairways and blue sky, Jessel exclaimed, "My God, how long has that golf course been here?"

Groucho Marx famously said, “I would never be a member of a Club which would have me as one of its members…” just before he and the other Marx brothers joined Hillcrest Country Club.

Hillcrest Country Club

Composers & Lyricists Wall of Fame

"Stay tuned" for more information on our legendary Hillcrest composers and lyricists. Come back soon!