File this one under “Strange But True”.
The Church of Scientology – best known for being the religion of choice for Hollywood A-listers such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta – owns it very own golf course.
The nine-hole Golden Era Golf Course forms part of the so-called Gold Base, the international headquarters of the church, located in San Jacinto, California.
The property – formerly a resort called Gilman Hot Springs – was purchased by the church in 1978 under the pseudonym ‘Scottish Highland Quietude Club’ and has subsequently been significantly expanded.
The course – which shares its name with the film production wing of the Church of Scientology – is located to the east of the main part of the base, outside of the main boundary fence that keeps curious onlookers away from the notoriously secretive group.
It is believed the course originally opened in 1931 as part of the Gilman Hot Springs Resort and was initially called the Foothills 9. It was the first all-grass golf course on this side of Riverside County and remained opened after the church purchased the resort from the Gilman family but was destroyed by a flood in 1980.
It was subsequently rebuilt in the latter part of the 1980s and re-opened for play in 1991. From then until 2007, it was open to the public but is now private, although it is reportedly available for non-profit organisations to use for fundraising events at no charge. A 2015 report, announcing the opening of a brand new clubhouse to complement the course, claimed that more than 250 groups had raised over $1.6m for their programs with events at the facility.
According to SkyGolf, an industry leader in course-mapping, it measures, 2,998 yards and comprises two par-5s, two par-3s and five par-4s.