Monday, May 2, 2011

Paradise Valley Country Club

Paradise Valley Country Club (photos by Alex Connelly)
7101 North Tatum Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85253-3399

PVCC is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  It is a private club with a private golf course that opened April 10, 1954, was designed by Lawrence Hughes, and is located on 270 acres of land near Tatum Boulevard and Lincoln Drive. Today the Paradise Valley Country Club has approximately 1,000 members.  There is a dress code for the club, one must where a collared shirt and their information states that they do not accept credit cards. It is nestled in the mountains and secluded from what is outside the gates. PVCC is significant because of its efforts to keep the club a certain class and race.  Paradise Valley Country club was extremely exclusive and restrictive and they did not have any African American members.

The town of Paradise Valley didn’t begin until post WW II.  According to Barry Cox (2010) for Scottsdale Real Estate, in 1889 Rio Verde Canal Company saw the area where PV is now and was taken a back by its beauty and serenity.  The homes in PV were about one to five acres large.  Paradise Valley’s history of 40 years has tried to maintain, according to Jean Glass (2007), a Paradise Valley real estate agent a “residential community in a quiet and country-like setting with little government intervention.” The idea of Paradise Valley Country Club began in 1952 when a group of businessmen thought it would be a great idea for the locals and for the potential growth of the PV area (Cox, 2010, p. 1).

Many high- profile politicians were involved with the racial segregation that was occurring at Paradise Valley Country Club.  Some wanted memberships to be extended to African Americans, whereas other wanted it to be more of a natural occurrence.  Tom Fitzpatrick (1990) wrote an article titled “Rubbing Out Racism, Symington-Style,” for the Phoenix New Times. Fife Symington was at his home in Paradise Valley when his maid answered the phone and the man on the other end, who was with the campaign for governor, said the following, “Tell Fife it's about having no blacks at the Paradise Valley Country Club as members. He'll understand” (p. 5). Mr. Symington was shocked that someone is actually asking about black members at the Paradise Valley Country Club and said that he was not a part of the admissions committee.  The other gentlemen stated that there would be a democratic press conference and were going to charge Fife as being a racist and his campaign for governor had already been stalled for a month.  This issue at PVCC was brought to attention because of no blacks being at the Shoals Creek Country Club, where the PGA tour was taking place at the time and they were checking all country clubs around the country.  Symington said to the voice on the other end, “don’t they realize this is Arizona?”  Fife Symington then suggested that they get a black member into PVCC, especially before the election took place. He thought of getting Bill Crosby to join because he would have enough money to pay the initiation fee and then mentioned a few other known African Americans who were not from the Phoenix area.  The voice on the other line said they should be from Arizona. Symington responded with "who do we know in Phoenix who is both black and has enough money to join Paradise Valley?" (Fitzpatrick, 1990, p. 5).  The aide interrupted and told Symington that Lincoln Ragsdale has already told the press that he lives almost across the street and has tried to join for years.  Symington said in response, "He's rich and he's vocal. But if we let him into the club, he might want to bring a whole lot more of his black friends with him. That would be all right if they were good blacks.' But, as Ev says, you never know” (Fitzpatrick, 1990, p. 5).  Fife Symington ended the conversation by saying that he had the perfect answer, one that all Arizona republicans would understand, "I'll simply tell them that I hadn't noticed we don't have any black members at the Paradise Valley Country Club” (Fitzpatrick, 1990, p. 5).

To this day Paradise Valley Country Club seems to have a majority of white members and is still exclusive.  Though very little information is made available about exclusivity at PVCC we can note that even the Paradise Valley residential area is hardly diverse. 

- Alex Connelly and Faith Alvarez


Cox, B. (2010). Scottsdale real estate. Retrieved from

Fitzpatrick, T. (1990, August 15). Rubbing out racism, Symington style. Phoenix New Times, p. 5.

Glass, J. (2007). Paradise valley history . Retrieved from

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