Members of Oro Valley Country Club are observing their club's 50th birthday this month.

A members' dinner, ceremony and party will be held this Friday, March 12, with Mayor Paul Loomis and a number of former club presidents in attendance. Past club champions are being honored, and vocalist Joe Bourne will entertain. A video showing the club's 50 years of history will also be shown in conjunction with a memorabilia library set up in the board room with old photos and memory books.

OVCC is known for its many social functions held throughout the year, some of which are open to members' guests. General Manager Mark Oswald, who came on board in 2009 from Hilton El Conquistador and previously Golf Club at Vistoso, said the club sponsors two or three events per month. The ladies' member/guest golf tournament was held in February and the men's member/guest event is March 17-20. Theater groups from the University of Arizona are occasionally invited to entertain, and members enjoy themed events such as holiday dinners.

"We host the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce golf tournament and the Hispanic scholarship fundraiser; also Rotary Club meets at the club and we have weddings and parties," said Oswald. "The Swing for the Cure breast cancer golf tournament is the afternoon of April 18 and that's open to the public. There's a silent auction and barbecue at night. Proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation."

The course is home to Professional Golfers' Association sectional tournaments, area high school golf teams and the junior merit program. "This is based on good grades, some financial need, and golf interest. We have 12 junior merit scholarships for high school and junior high school age players. As they graduate high school, we accept another," Oswald explained.

During the late 1980s, the golf course was remodeled. Greens were reshaped and planted with new bent grass, which Oswald considers to be "a nice selling feature. We don't see a lot of it in Tucson because it's a cool-weather grass." Another attribute is the course's walkability. "One-third of our members walk," he said.

Three years ago the clubhouse was completely rebuilt to its current 28,000 square feet. At the same time, members got a fitness center and resurfaced tennis courts. "A neat aspect," Oswald noted, "is having a new clubhouse added to the old part – with the big trees."

Last year was the real golden anniversary of the golf course, which opened in 1959. The club started its current membership drive Aug. 15, "and it was so successful we decided to continue," said Andrea Gibson, director of member services. She signed on 38 new members in late 2009.

Non-members can get it on the celebrating by taking advantage of the membership deals, which are offered through March 31. "We'd like to attract more families," Gibson said, because a large percentage of the current membership is Baby Boomers.

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