The Silva Estate
In 1911, Mr. Silva and his wife, Dolly, built a 5-bedroom ranch house, surrounded by 160 acres. The ranch contained apple orchards, pear orchards, vineyards, hayfields, and pastures. The animals on the ranch consisted of cattle, horses, pigs, chickens, and rabbits. The horses were used to plow the fields. The ranch house, today, is the clubhouse at Spring Hills Golf Course.
After Dolly Silva passed away, Mr. Silva remarried Josephine Smith, best known to all as “Aunt Joe”. In 1926, George Enos, the Silva’s grandson, moved to the ranch to help run it. Mr. Silva had since passed away. Living at the Silva estate were George Enos (12 years old), Aunt Joe, and her two bachelor brothers, John Walter Smith and George Smith. To this day, there remains a wooden carved plaque in the ladies’ restroom-“J. Walter Smith room built 1911”. The address to the course, now 501 Spring Hills Drive was 31 Smith Road, named after the Smiths.
After the Smiths
The Silva estate was sold in 1958 to Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Everett, who owned hundreds of acres of citrus groves in Moorpark, California. Their intention for this 160 acre ranch was to build fifteen acre parcels for individual horse ranches. But, Monroe’s wife died, and without her, he lost interest and did not want to keep the ranch. From 1958-1964, the Everett’s rented out the farmhouse to the family of Dr. and Mrs. James Russell.
In 1964, the ranch was sold to Hank and Dorie Schimpeler who converted it into Spring Hills Golf Course. The back 9 was completed and open for business on May 15, 1965. The front 9 was completed in 1969. The Schimpelers leased the course from 1977-1987, and at the termination of the lease, took back over and the course is still family owned and operated today by Hank and Dorie’s daughter, Amy Preaseau and her husband, Jacques.
A Shared Vision
In 1927, when George Enos was a young teenager, he had visions of the ranch as a golf course. So he dug a hole with a post hole digger, borrowed his uncle’s “sticks” who played golf at the time, and made his own golf hole, which interestingly enough, is #7 today! By the same token, about 36 years later, Hank Schimpeler, designer and owner of the course, stood up on the #8 tee, looked at the panoramic view of the ranch from above, and like George, thought this land would make a great layout for a golf course!
Nestled in the foothills of Watsonville, Spring Hills Golf Course offers a great mix of challenges, removed from busy freeways and industry, but conveniently located off Highway 1.
The front nine’s meandering streams and demanding layout sets you up for the panoramic views of the back nine, overlooking Monterey County. With tight fairways, precise greens, elevated tee boxes and soft rolling hills the course and driving range are open to the public. Special rates, memberships and discounts can be purchased throughout the year.
The clubhouse offers drinks and snacks you can enjoy inside, from the vintage 1911 ranch home’s wrap-around veranda, or enjoy the waterfall at the 18th green from the pergola. Have our family barbecue for your tournament group, and take in the first sun and the last sun of the Monterey Bay.
Since 1965, Spring Hills’ years of down-home hospitality, combined with the challenges and beauty of the course, are sure to provide you with the kind of golf experience you strive for again and again.