Owner Mike Rawitser on Phase Two of the Club’s Revamp
A few years after chronic arthritis cut his storied pitching career short, Sandy Koufax moved to Templeton and became a member of the Paso Robles Golf Club.
Created by Barney and Dale Schwartz in 1961, the 18-hole golf course was a popular place for locals like Koufax. But by the 2000s, long after the Hall of Famer had moved from the county, the course had fallen into serious disrepair — and financial struggles.
Luckily, an experienced golf course owner stepped in to save it.
“We bought it out of foreclosure,” said Mike Rawitser.
Having already completed what he calls Phase One of the renovation — fixing up the course itself — Rawitser is now busy revamping the clubhouse and making the new restaurant, Deeds Bar & Grill, a popular destination.
While the Paso Robles Golf Club is no longer a private club, it does still cater to locals. Tourists who arrive for the wine offerings often flock to the downtown area, Rawitser said.
“This gives the local people an alternative,” he said.
Rawitser grew up in Michigan, where he played baseball in college and as a semi-pro. But eventually, he gravitated toward a career in the golf industry, buying his first of two San Jose-area courses 53 years ago.
It was his interest in raising cutting horses that drew him to Paso Robles in 1995. In 2011, he purchased the 6,200-yard par-70 Paso Robles Golf Course and initiated landscaping repairs.
The course, speckled with palm trees and 14 scenic water hazards, offers splendid scenery.
“It’s just a lot of fun to play,” Rawitser said. “It’s easy to walk.”
Meanwhile, he swapped the banquet room and restaurant, Deeds Bar & Grill.
“The grandkids, when they were first born, they had a hard time saying ‘granddad,’” he said, explaining the name. “Around 15 years ago, my name became Deeds around the dinner table.”
While Rawitser handles the alcohol and beverages, he sublets the restaurant to Lorena Lopez and Jorge Quintero, known for the Golden Oak Grill in Paso Robles.
Five years ago, the club added music to Wednesday nights. Now locals can come to Deeds to eat, watch sports and listen to acts like the Martin Paris Band, (rock, pop and country), London Dave (English rock), Joy Bonner and Adam Levine (pop).
“We have 200 people here regularly,” Rawitser said.
Deeds is decorated with golf photos that channel black and white images of Arnold Palmer. But a close look shows that it’s actually a younger Rawitser. The design and atmosphere of Deeds is one-of-a-kind in Paso Robles, and is the work of his daughter Lainey Stroud and Kelly Wangard of Kelle & Co.
While he was out of town, Lainey surprised him by hanging the photos.
“I felt a little awkward,” he admitted. “There was no bragging — it wasn’t like I was showing a bunch of medals.”
Don’t let the modesty fool you, though.
When asked if he’s ever shot a hole in one, Rawitser humbly offers an answer even Sandy Koufax could appreciate.
“I’ve had five.”
For more information on Deeds Bar & Grill, go to pasoroblesgolfclub.com or call 805-238-4722.