Tuesday, November 13

The Road to Pebble Beach, Part 1

Pebble Beach Golf Links (Conway)
IMAGINE A GOLFER WHO RARELY played the game he wrote about. This particular person, a golf blogger and author, was so wrapped up with work, family and life that he habitually failed to get out to the golf course. At least that was the choice he made. He figured in a future golf season—or life season—he would get back to playing more than just a few times a year.

Then came the bucket-list invitation. A trip to the Monterey Peninsula to play Pebble Beach and perhaps Spyglass Hill, too. A chance to sit down and talk to Johnny Miller and Peter Jacobsen. And much, much more.

That person is me. I’m going to the Lexus Champions for Charity in a few weeks. I’m their guest. Lexus is sponsoring my trip. Boy, are they ever.

The golf clubs are out of the basement. I’ve hit some balls, played 14 holes, updated the equipment. Ready or not, here I come, Pebble. It’s taken me such a long time to get there.

TO BE CONTINUED.

In the meantime, the following is from the archives.

Be Mine, Pebble Beach

(Originally published on Valentines Day 2011.)

D.A. Points and Bill Murray won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Yeah, whatever.

The real question on this Valentine’s Day—and as I stared longingly at Pebble on my TV screen on Sunday—is this: When am I going to play America’s majestic golf sweetheart? When will Pebble Beach Golf Links be mine, if only for a day?

I had a goal. The goal was to play Pebble by my 40th birthday. I talked to my pop about it. He would be 70. I lived in Seattle. He lived in Southern California. We could meet in between on the Monterey Peninsula. It didn’t happen. Several birthdays have since passed. Now I live on the East Coast.

At the time, I could get my head around $250 green fees. Now Pebble is up to $495 for 18 holes, among the highest green fees in the galaxy. A caddie runs $75. The suggested gratuity is $50. On the other hand, you can ride a cart for only $35.

I realize my chances of playing Pebble are not improving. Distance and dough are coming between us. Maybe I need to rethink this item on my bucket list.

In an article at PGA.com, PGA professional Danny Elkins wrote, “Pebble Beach is the type of course that every golfer should aspire to visit. It’s not about your score when you play there, it’s more about the experience of playing there. The scenery and setting, the history and the challenge will last you a lifetime.”

I’m a sometimes golfer. So, yes, Danny, I still aspire to get there. I haven’t lost hope.

And if I do make it to Pebble, I promise, promise, promise I won’t spit on the greens—or anywhere else, for that matter. I’ll drool uncontrollably. And there’s a very good chance I’ll pee my pants. But I would never spit. ABSOLUTELY NOT.

6 comments :

Brian Kuehn said...

Invest in a good rain jacket (or preferably a rain suit). Also, throw in a pair of rain gloves, the kind where you wear 2 gloves and make them absolutely soaking - wet grips never slip after that. Hauling these across the country will assure you of sunny weather!

Briian Kuehn said...

"It’s not about your score when you play there, it’s more about the experience of playing there. The scenery and setting, the history and the challenge will last you a lifetime.”

I must disagree with Mr. Elkins. While he hits the nail on the head about the scenery, setting and history, all that is somewhat diminished by turning in a score of 102. The experience isn't complete without having a pretty good day playing. I was fortunate enough to visit twice and the 2nd time still gives me warm feelings because I played wonderfully.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Good suggestions, Brian. Thanks. I will take Mr. Elkins advice on score. I've played a total of 41 holes this year. I've been a good player in the past -- and I've shot many good scores in my life -- but that's not at all where I am at the moment. I'll soak up the experience, and hopefully hit a few good shoots, too. I'll just be glad to be there.

Oneunder said...

New golf balls, you want to be sure and start with a new sleeve of balls.

Oneunder said...

.....maybe even buy that sleeve of new balls at the Pebble Pro Shop. When I have had the chance to play a "great course" I have done this and asked the attending pro at the same time " What should I know about your course before I tee it up, and what detail should I be sure to notice ?"

Anonymous said...

Wow pebble beach looks beautiful! I would love to take a trip down to California and golf there. Next time you decide to make another bucket list golfing tour you should make your way up to Oregon and come golf in Portland! check out where I tee off every sunday http://www.pumpkinridge.com/