Golf Course History

Following is a history of Fallbrook Golf Course, pieced together from various sources, plus other pertinent historical information. We cannot guarantee accuracy, and there are doubtless many gaps. Help us improve this by contacting Thanks! See also: Historical timeline for Fallbrook, CA area.

1949: Lawrence “Larry” and Elizabeth “Betty” Ryland Cooke buy land in Fallbrook. Some of this land becomes an avocado ranch (the original purpose for the land), but the “bottom land” is below the frost line and therefore unusable for avocados. Ultimately, this bottom land becomes part of Fallbrook Golf Course.

1951: A battle for water between the federal government (Camp Pendleton) and Fallbrook citizens begins, to later become San Diego County’s oldest, active civil case. By Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 20, 2016.

1952: United States vs. Fallbrook Public Utility District. Water wars.

1960: With partners, the Cookes incorporate the project Fallbrook Golf Club, Inc. The Grant Deed conveys title to Fallbrook Golf Club, Inc. to two legally-described parcels (Parcels 1 and 2) consisting of nine Assessor Parcel Numbers as set forth on the face page of the Grant Deed. San Diego County grants the Agricultural-zoned property Special Use Permits. Under these permits, six of the parcels are designated for use as “Recreational-Vacant Land” and three parcels as “Golf Course”. Harry Rainville is hired as course architect.

1961: What is now the back 9 opens as the front 9.

1962: The current front 9 opens. Total area of the course is reportedly 118 acres, and course length is 6,223 yards from the tips. The course would later be reduced to 116 acres.

1965: The club house opens.

1969: Former LPGA pro Mickey Wright holds a professional tournament at the course. Since then, the Golden State minitour has held occasional events here.

Early 1970s: Additions to the club house are opened (golf shop, new office, snack bar).

1979: Following severe El Nino storms, Live Oak Creek flooding covered nearly half the course and damaged parts of it. Daunted, the Cookes’ partners sell them their share and the club becomes a Cooke family-owned business. The Cookes repair the damage and reopen the course.

1990: Blair Cooke Davey, daughter of Lawrence and Betty, assumes sole ownership of the club, and continues running it.

1993: Employee Leasing, Inc., incorporated in California, “doing business in California as Employee Leasing, Inc. of Nevada“, is incorporated in Nevada (W.J. Blue and Brian J. Lanari, Presidents, 4834 Sweetgrass Lane, Bonsall, CA). Brian Lanari serves as payroll manager 1998-2012. (See lists of six and eleven of the various Lamberson/Lanari corporations plus a more complete list of Lamberson/Lanari-corporations, in Nevada and California, at the end of this timeline.)

1996: Jack Leroy Lamberson incorporates OnceBlue Enterprises, Inc. in California. (OnceBlue also does business as Personnel Leasing.)

1998: According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Fallbrook course sells 65,000 rounds a year.

2003: In March, a warehouse belonging to the course burns down, destroying 80 golf carts and causing $1 million in damages. It is never rebuilt.

2003: Jack Lamberson and Brian Lanari of Onceblue Enterprises, Inc., doing business as Personnel Leasing, are embroiled in a case involving a City of San Diego construction contract. Personnel Leasing’s “president, Jack Lamberson, testified in deposition that Personnel did not pay workers’ compensation insurance premiums for the work force.”

2004: A court challenge to the property’s water rights for access to the southernmost well is won and affirmed on appeal. The full case is Nevada Lending Corp. vs. Fallbrook Golf Club, Inc., is available in PDF: 1-35; 36-70; 71-106; 107-142; 143-178; 179-214; 215-250; 251-286; 287-297. Blair Cooke sells the course to Colorado golf course operator Stacey Hart (aka Stacy Hart) for $5.2 million plus $2.5 million for an additional 40 acres of undeveloped land next to the course on which Hart plans to build 23 houses. Mile High Bank of Denver, Colorado arranges the financing. Stacey A. Hart takes ownership of the course as Fallbrook Golf Club, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability corporation. Hart is originally from Las Vegas where his family reportedly has casino and real estate holdings.

2004: John Toma, who has been running the Sunrize Cafe in Bonsall for two years, takes over the Club’s restaurant and reopens it as the Hukilau restaurant in April. With great food and service, the Hukilau is an immediate success.

2009: Stacey Hart defaults on the balance due on the $2.5 million he paid for the 40 acres of undeveloped land next to the golf course. The Denver Post reports that “Hart, who admits he’s withheld payments, says his beef is with the zoning of the undeveloped land, where he intends to build houses. ‘The overall zoning was supposed to be 23 lots, now it’s down to 11,’ Hart said. ‘It’s a dispute. The bottom line is we thought we bargained for more than we got.'”

Late 2010 – early 2011: Hart hires one of Jack Lamberson’s companies to handle payroll for the Fallbrook course. Lamberson’s company also does payroll at the San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course in Bonsall.

2012: Mile High Banks of Denver, Colorado forces an over-leveraged Stacey Hart to divest himself of some of his holdings and he chooses to sell the Fallbrook course. Hart sells the course to his payroll manager Jack Lamberson under the name Fallbrook Golf Course, Inc.. The Lamberson Family Trust [LFT Investments, Inc., incorporated in Nevada] is the sole stockholder in Fallbrook Golf Course, Inc., incorporated in California in 2011.

For the down payment, Mile High Banks takes a Note on Lamberson’s vacation home at 243 Eldorado Drive, Lake Arrowhead. (Zillow value June 2012: $1.1 million. Purchase price 2005: $842,500. Zillow value May 2016: $879,000.). A $720,000 Deed of Trust dated June 22 is recorded against 243 Eldorado Drive on June 29, 2012, maturity date June 22, 2018. Mile High Banks secures $2.88M with a Deed of Trust against the golf course itself for a total purchase price of $3.6M.

Escrow closes on June 30 and the Lambersons take over the course on July 1, 2012. Its 44 employees staff the busy Hukilau restaurant and bar, the pro shop and snack bar and maintain the course where its loyal golfers enjoy 200 rounds of golf daily, 73,000 rounds a year.

By the end of 2012, Mile High Banks (the primary asset of Big Sandy Holding Companyis failing. Strategic Growth Bancorp purchases Mile High Banks’ stock in late 2012 through U.S. Bankruptcy Court for $5.5 million, promising to infuse $90 million of new capital into the bank. Strategic Growth renames Mile High Banks First National Denver.

2013: In Fort Worth, Texas, Stacey Hart has accumulated $10 million in debt on a golf course with an estimated value of $500,000. The front and back nine are split and Hart files for bankruptcy. The reorganization plan states: “Stacey A. Hart will remain as president of the Debtor following confirmation of the Plan. Mr. Hart will retain his sole ownership interest in the Debtor. Mr. Hart will receive a salary of $8,000 a month following confirmation of the Plan. Mr. Hart’s son, Tom Hart, who is not an owner, shall receive $8,000 a month in compensation as well.” Tom Hart lives in Colorado. Weeds are so high on the Fort Worth course that the neighbors respond by mowing it themselves.

2013-2014: In Fallbrook, the Lamberson team struggles to run a golf course, bar and restaurant. The top-notch crew in place at the time of purchase is long gone, moved on to great success at the nearby Z Cafe owned by John Toma (who built it on the success of his former Sunrize Cafe). By December 2013, the restaurant/bar’s name is changed to Jack’s Place in honor of owner Jack Lamberson. Negotiations with locals to manage the bar, restaurant and a wedding business all fail to materialize when, after weeks or months of discussions, the owner changes the terms at the last minute.

February 2015: Fallbrook Land Conservancy purchases 47.74 acres next to the course, for $437,500 ($9,164/acre), from the Cooke family. This land includes the same acreage that Stacey Hart defaulted on in 2009 after he discovered zoning and San Diego General Plan restrictions allow only 11 homes, not 23, to be built on the property. This number would be later reduced by the San Diego County General Plan, rendering the property unsuitable for real estate development. Hart had originally committed to paying $2.5 million for 40 acres ($62,500/acre) in 2004. The Fallbrook Land Conservancy pays $437,500 ($9,164/acre) for 47.74 acres, a stunning reduction in value. The County of San Diego General Plan restrictions apply to all of semi-rural San Diego County, including eastern Fallbrook’s Gird Valley, and require minimum lot sizes of 4, 8 or 16 acres.

2015: Watering of the Fallbrook course fairways ceases in April, breakfast service is cancelled, and staff are reduced to fewer than 10. On June 27, 2015, the restaurant/bar reopens as AJ’s Taphouse in honor of the Lambersons’ grandson AJ Lanari who assumes the role of manager.


Hours are sporadic, closing as early as 6 or 7 PM on weekends even when the bar and patio are full of patrons. The promised breakfast service never materializes. Reviews on Yelp detail the downward progression. By the close of 2015, reviews are overwhelmingly negative and most of the regulars grow impatient with the lack of progress and move on to other venues. The community worries about the health of the course and there is virtually nothing to show for the $900,000 Lamberson says he spent improving it since 2012 or the $1.6 million he says his company has “pumped” into it. Offers to help are ignored or rebuffed. Requests by neighbors and the various golf club members to speak to the owner are ignored. In November, Fallbrook Golf Course stops offering annual memberships. Rumors fly about a sale of all or part of the Fallbrook Golf Course to a residential developer or mitigation banker. Residential development on the course conflicts with the Fallbrook General Plan and is risky under the County General Plan. With the ruined San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course only a few miles to the south as an example of a fallow course facing development and stuck in mitigation banking paperwork limbo, there are grounds for concern.

December 2015: At the request of Donald Ross of EarthBalance of Florida and REC Consulting, Inc., Army Corps of Engineers’ (ACOE) Richard J. “RJ” Van Sant III and David Lawhead of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife take a golf cart tour of the back nine. Ross/Earth Balance and REC request “agency representatives’s feedback on the site’s potential for habitat restoration” and receive the public employee’s time and input even though there is no official proposal (prospectus) submitted for creating a mitigation bank (a public process). FOIA’d ACOE correspondence  notes, “It’s true … this would be the 2nd controversial golf course/potential mitigation bank site in SD County. This one (at the Fallbrook Golf Club, which is just a few miles away from the Moosa Creek Mitigation Bank located at the former San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course in Bonsall) we don’t have a prospectus for yet. RJ visited the site with the consultant, but we don’t know if they are moving forward or not at this point.” (Jan. 26, 2016 email from Shanti Santulli, the ACOE Project Manager for the San Luis Rey Downs mitigation bank, to five others at ACOE including RJ Van Sant [the potential mitigation bank project manager for Fallbrook Golf Course] and ACOE’s public affairs officer.)

January 2016: Concerned neighbors organize and engage a potential buyer to contact Jack Lamberson about the golf course but Mr. Lamberson tells him, “The golf course is not for sale.” Over 200 people pack a standing-room-only meeting at the Fallbrook Library (Jan. 30) to learn about the threats to the Fallbrook Golf Course and Gird Valley. Although invited, no one from any of the involved government agencies, including ACOE, is available to speak. The Lamberson family declines to speak or send a representative. Joan McConnell acts as MC and representatives of Fallbrook Land Conservancy and Save the Downs speak on mitigation banking and land use policy.’s Teresa Platt delivers a PowerPoint presentation (updated Mar. 2, 2016) on the issues of concern. Michael Harrison of Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office addresses the group. The press is engaged. Jack Lamberson pens several letters to the homeowners around the course. It is reported that the escrow to a mitigation land back, “a done deal,” will close January 15. January comes and goes, no escrow closes.

February 2016: Lamberson states that his Lamberson Family Trust’s [LFT Investments, Inc. of Nevada] three payroll companies are subsidizing the course at the rate of $100,000 to $250,000 a year. Jack Lamberson owes First National Denver $2.8M on the course plus almost $700,000 in additional debt on his Lake Arrowhead property, debt that was secured as a down payment when he purchased the course for $3.6M in 2012. The course is declining fast and worth far less than its original purchase price. Lamberson closes the back nine on Feb. 1, only to reopen it a day later, then announces the back nine will close Feb. 15. supporters pack a February 15 Fallbrook Community Planning Group meeting and many people speak. The press is engaged. It is reported that the sale of a portion of the back nine to a mitigation land bank won’t close on February 15 after all but will close on February 20. There are questions about how a land bank that only wants to buy acreage near the creek can complete that sale when the Parcel is not legally subdivided. The Fallbrook Women Golfers (who have played at the course for 54 years) reluctantly vote to move to another course. California Department of Fish and Wildlife, South Coast Region, confirms Jack Lamberson is attempting to sell all or part of the Fallbrook Golf Course to Don Ross of, a wetlands mitigation land bank based in Florida. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for the vast majority of wetlands destruction in Florida where mitigation banks were criticized for diverting DOT (taxpayer funds) to mitigation banks with poor track records. Even the Sierra Club weighed in as being “generally critical of wetlands mitigation banking”. Mr. Ross has gone on record defending the sale of wetlands credits from dry land. At the Fallbrook Golf Course, February comes and goes, no escrow closes.

March 2016: On March 9, The San Diego Union Tribune reports Jack Lamberson is closing the course and ceasing all maintenance as of March 15. First National Denver, which holds the Notes on the course and Lamberson’s Lake Arrowhead property, sends a representative to investigate. Shortly after, San Diego Reader reports the course has five wells and that the sale to the mitigation land bank has fallen through and the course will remain open. The owner will offer reduced hours (7 to noon) for higher prices and Lamberson plans to sell the back nine for mitigation and the front nine to a residential developer. The San Diego Union Tribune‘s golf reporter Tod Leonard visits the course and is saddened by its state. He notes that a qualified golf course buyer contacted Lamberson in January only to be told that the course was not for sale. Ignoring the fact that residential development will be very difficult on the course in Gird Valley, the 85-year-old Lamberson said, “I could sell the front nine right now to a very solid developer for $3.5 million. (But) before I give it away for someone else to make money on, I would develop it myself.” Tod Leonard replies, “Lamberson needs to come to his senses and realize this isn’t a parking lot or warehouse he owns. It’s a public entity that has provided pleasure to thousands for more than half a century. There is a legacy to be had here, and right now Lamberson’s is as crusty and forlorn as his fairways.” March comes and goes, no escrow closes.

April 2016: The fairways have not been watered since April 2015 and with no care, weeds are growing unchecked. Neighbors file complaints with the North County Fire Protection District under San Diego County Nuisance laws. The Fire District opens a case and tours the course, puts the owner and the bank on notice that the property must be  maintained, combustable debris and weeds removed in preparation for fire season. April comes and goes, no escrow closes.

May 2016: Several golf course owners unsuccessfully attempt to make deals to purchase the course. Since the property was not legally subdivided, mitigation banking is clearly no longer an option for the property. There is the occasional rumor of a residential developer doing due diligence but due to County restrictions and down-zoning of the area, such projects do not pencil out so these deals also fail. Interested golf course buyers move on to discussions with the lien holder, First National Denver, since the course’s owner is in technical default due to his neglect of the property. Golfers are down to a handful a day, and while one can get a sandwich or hot dog at the snack bar, the restaurant is closed and the bar is out of beer. The course enters wasteland status. Neighbors file reports with the Sheriff’s office about late night loitering, meet with the North County Fire Protection District to address fuel loads on the course, and engage Supervisor Bill Horn’s office about having the failing business declared a Public Nuisance. May comes and goes, no escrow closes.

June 2016: The restaurant, bar and pro shop are closed. Only the snack bar remains open where the occasional golfer can pay to play on the neglected course. Jack Lamberson tells the Village News that, while an offer to buy the course fell through in May, he is considering two more offers from golf course operators and will make a decision the week of June 6-12. The 12th comes and goes but no decision is announced. On July 24, a sign is posted at the golf course stating, “TO THE PATRONS OF THE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE: THE COURSE WILL BE CLOSED EFFECTIVE JUNE 25TH SATURDAY DUE TO CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR OVERWHELMING SUPPORT.” The last few employees are laid off and all operations cease. It is unclear if the greens, the last portion of the course that is actually still green, are to receive water or care. The Reader reports that, on June 27, First National Denver sold the Notes on the course (due 2021) to D-Day Capital, LLC managed by Ronald Richards, a Beverly Hills attorney. “…D-Day Capital is not exclusively controlled by me,” said Mr. Roberts to the San Diego Reader, “but is exclusively managed by me. It however does not involve Mr. Schlesinger, that is the salient fact. My capital structure changes from time to time, deal to deal, depending on how this note is capitalized.” Media reports name a Michael Schlesinger of Stuck in the Rough, LLC, along with attorney Ronald Richards, as being heavily involved in the Escondido Country Club purchase/closure/development. While D-Day Capital may simply act as the banker on the Fallbrook Golf Course property, fears of potential development resurface since Mr. Richards stated during a battle over a potential change of use at a Las Vegas golf course: “We are not in the golf course operations business. We have no set agenda and are open to numerous avenues of use other than requiring us to subsidize someone else’s golf game or operate an asset that has no economically viable use to anyone except a privileged few.” Fallbrook Golf Course, a very modest public course offering low fees, has been profitable for over half a century, hosting restaurant and bar patrons, weddings and golfers. It generated over 73,000 rounds of golf annually as recently as 2012. As a recreational and community venue enjoyed by nearby homeowners, white and blue collar workers, seniors on limited incomes and local high school students, its Agricultural zoning prohibits residential or commercial development. On June 28, Jack Lamberson and HGM Golf Enterprises’ Harold Vaubel enter into a temporary management agreement with plans to enter into a secondary agreement for a sale of the corporation that owns the course, the liquor license and the debt. While the sale is being negotiated, the course is reopened. A flurry of press coverage follows. June comes and goes, no escrow closes.

July 2016: July 1, 2016 marks the Fourth Anniversary of Bonnie and Jack Lamberson’s ownership of the Fallbrook Golf Course. There was no celebration. Discussions continue regarding the management and/or sale to Harold Vaubel’s corporation with Cary Lee of Candyl Golf Group as a potential partner. Meanwhile, the course is open to the public and operating under the management agreement with HGM Golf Enterprises of Arizona, with the first payroll covered by Cary Lee of Candyl Golf Group. The Fallbrook Golf Course’s Men’s Club returns for a meeting with the management team and the local high school starts the process of returning to the course. The saga takes another twist on July 26 when the Village News reports that Jack Lamberson says HGM Enterprises authority on the course was limited to watering the course, that it had no right to hire employees or engage contractors. Lamberson announces the sale has fallen through and that the course is “closed due to negotiations”. All maintenance and watering of the course ceases on July 26. July comes and goes, no escrow closes.

August 2016: There are reports of several buyers interested in the course which is deteriorating rapidly in the summer heat. The property quietly moves into escrow at Chicago Title and D-Day Capital, the lien holder on the property, is asked for a payoff amount. August comes and goes, no escrow closes.

September 2016: On September 1, D-Day files a Notice of Default against Jack Lamberson and, on September 6, files a $1-million-dollar-plus lawsuit in San Diego County’s North County Superior court against Lamberson for breach of contract (for not selling the corporation to D-Day Capital) and for “wasting” the property. D-Day files a “lis pendens” (lien) against the property. On September 22, reveals details of the escrow. The Village News and The San Diego Union Tribune report that Gird Valley, Inc., owned by Fallbrook residents Jade and Julie Work, is the buyer and that the Works have committed to placing conservation easements on the land, adding another layer of protection against development. The Village News reports that Ronald Richards of D-Day Capital is fighting the escrow, holding the property hostage, stating that escrow can’t close unless the lis pendens is released on the property. A court date is set for October 5. September comes and goes, no escrow closes.

October 2016: On October 5, the judge sets October 14 as the date for both sides to make their arguments regarding the lis pendens on the property. The judge will issue a ruling that same date on whether he will allow it to remain on the title, hindering the escrow from closing, or order it removed from the property. On October 14, the judge orders the escrow to move forward and for Ronald Richards to deliver an actionable payoff demand since previous ones were not acceptable to Chicago Title Company which has both the foreclosure case and the escrow. Another payoff demand is received but it expired before it was received by the buyer and contained no per diem amount. Chicago Titles staff vacation time also threatens to further delay the escrow. October comes and goes and no escrow closes.

November 2016: The Village News reports on the status, naming Chicago Title in the article, and the escrow finally closes on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. The Gird Valley property is officially owned by Gird Valley, Inc., owned by Fallbrook residents Jade and Julie Work, who promise to place conservation easements on the property to protect it from any development in the future. While this land can be used for agricultural, open space and recreational pursuits, it will always be in keeping with the rural character of Fallbrook. The Village News reports that the land may be transformed over the winter into a vineyard. Fallbrook celebrates and thanks the Work family for this commitment!


Companies owned by Jack Leroy Lamberson, Bonnie Sue Lamberson and/or Brian Lanari–California Corporations: Contractors Associates, Inc.; Employee Leasing, Inc.;  J.L. Lamberson; Lanari and Associates, Inc.; Obei, Inc.; Onceblue Enterprises, Inc.; Personnel Leasing Inc.; Redlands SLS Construction Company; Worker Leasing. Nevada Corporations: Contract Labor, Inc.; Contractors Associates, Inc; Employee Leasing, Inc. of Nevada; JB Corporate Management, Inc.; Lamberson Family Limited Partnership; LFT Investments, Inc.  Houses tied to Jack and Bonnie Lamberson, Brian Lanari: 31350 Lake Vista Circle, Bonsall, CA 92003; 4834 Sweetgrass Lane, Bonsall, CA 92003

, 243 Eldorado Drive, Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352.