A Brief History of the Pacific Rod and Gun Club

This Club celebrated its 80th Anniversary in 2008. Actually, it was born on May 10, 1928, when a group of sportsmen met in San Francsico and decided to start the Club. Joe Springer was elected the first President, and group investors leased a piece of land on the Napa River in 1929. The facility included only one trap field.

In 1930, only four years after the American Game of Skeet was introduced, Pacific Rod & Gun Club added a skeet field at its Napa facility. In addition, at the same time, the Bay Sportsmen Club merged with the Pacific Club. At that time, the Bay Club’s skeet field at Fort Funston in San Francisco was added to the Pacific Club territory. One individual who was very instrumental in the merging of both clubs was Jules P. Cuenin, the rod and gun columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. Cuenin, who was the organizer of the Club at Fort Funston, was to become a very important figure in Northern California Skeet Shooting history.

In late 1930, the Pacific club hosted its first of many charity shoots. Groups like the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), the Shriner’s, Needy Families, and Ducks Unlimited were among the many charities that received money from functions at the Club.

By 1933, skeet shooting was becoming so popular that it was necessary to find a new shooting facility to handle the demand. The present grounds at Lake Merced were chosen as the new site by the late Don Westwater and Walter Campbell. Some opposition was felt by golfers and horseback riders, but with the help of San Francisco Mayor Angelo Rossi, the obstacles were overcome. Two skeet fields were constructed and dedication ceremonies were held in June of 1934.

Between 1934, and 1936, some of Skeet’s top gunners got their start at the Pacific Rod & Gun Club. In the meantime, major skeet shoots like the California State and Nor-Cal Championships were held at the Club at Lake Merced. Over the years, many celebrities have shot at the Pacific Rod & Gun Club.

The only drawback at this time was that there was no clubhouse for the shooters to relax in. This situation was rectified in 1937, when a clubhouse was built.

In late 1937, catastrophe struck when Lake Merced rose several feet, flooding the fields. Members of the Club went to work, and the Club was moved to higher ground.

By March 1939, the work had been completed, and the Club now boasted eight skeet fields plus a small bore rifle range. The Pacific Rod & Gun Club achieved major league status in 1939, when it hosted the National Skeet Shooting Championships. With the beginning of the war, shooting was curtailed, and the Club installed horseshoe pits which were used quite extensively until shooting was able to resume.

During the war, many events were hosted for military personelle at the Club property. In 1949, trap facilities were built which allowed another game to be added to the list of the Clubs’ activities.

Today the Club boasts 400 members. The Club offers many special events for its own members including, Skeet Shoots, Trap Shoots, and International Skeet Competitions. The Club also hosts annual Guardsmen and San Francisco Fire Department fund raisers. Such events as the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure and the San Francisco Model A Ford Club use the parking lot as staging points for their events. Boy Scouts use the Club House for Eagle Courts of Honor. Many youth groups, as well as senior groups, meet here and use the facilities. Such groups as the American Horsemens Association, The Tyee Club, and Retired SF Police Officers groups meet here on a monthly basis.

Facilities at the Club include Skeet Fields, Trap Fields, and a small bore rifle range, and a club house which is available for such events as dinners, birthday parties, and anniversaries.

Of all the gun clubs, the Pacific Rod and Gun Club is one of the most beautiful clubs around. If you are ever in the area, please take the opportunity to visit our Club. You will not regret it.

As you can see from the photos here, this Club has a long history at Lake Merced.