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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Golf - Pebble Beach

This blog post continues my theme of  writing about previous trips I have taken.  As I write this post, the calendar notes that it is officially Spring but the weather is still stuck in Winter mode.  So, my thoughts turn to a sport I enjoy playing during the other three seasons of the year: golf.

One golf trip I made was in September 1998.  I went out to California and played The Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach Golf Links, and the Bayonet Course at Ford Ord.  This trip took was planned a year in advance and our group's plans were assisted by my Brother-in-law, Glen, who helped reserve our tee times and hotel accomadations.

We arrived on a Thursday night and planned to head out to Monterey early the next morning.  Monterey was amazing with the picturesque vistas of the Pacific Ocean, the lone cypress jutting out on the 17 mile drive.  After checking in at The Inn at Spanish Bay, we were off to play the Links at Spanish Bay.  This golf course was an open links style with amazing views of the ocean.  Wind was a factor as it knocked down tee shots and carried sliced iron shots routinely. 

Finishing the round,  we watched the bagpiper playing near the clubhouse what sounded like a mournful dirge.  It was appropriate as I felt as though I had survived playing 36 holes instead of the 18 I actually played.  Anyway, we were looking forward to our evening dinner plans and playing Pebble Beach the next day.  That evening we ate at a restaurant in Monterey on Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck.

Sunday, we played Pebble Beach.  This was the highlight of the trip.  In order to play Pebble, we had to employ a caddy to carry our bags.  My caddy was very nice and he was helpful with his advice.  On the first tee, I made a nice drive and was off.  The tee box was near the clubhouse, so many spectators were around making me nervous to begin, making a nice drive on the first tee eased my nerves considerably.  My highlight at Pebble was hole # 7, it's listed 109 yards but was playing 99 yards.  The wind really is a factor here and I was lucky on my shot that the wind held up my pitching wedge tee shot and my ball landed about 7 feet from the flag.  I was psyched and had a birdie chance which I ended up pushing my birdie putt and made par. 

The next hole #8 has it's second shot considered the hardest second shot in golf.  At the tee, my caddy handed me my driver and pointed out a large rock and said to aim above that rock.  I ripped a nice tee shot as instructed and awaited what else was in store.  My second shot was probably too ambitious as I attempted to use a 5 iron to hit over the ocean and land my ball near the green.  Instead, I sliced it severely and it landed into the Pacific Ocean. 

Oh well, the rest of the round was more of the same.  It was very easy to get lost in the beauty of the golf course and the blue color and sound of the ocean.  After our round, we enjoyed dinner and drinks at the Lodge's Tap Room. 

Our final day in Monterey, we played the Bayonet Course at Ford Ord.  This was a former Army golf course which was open to the public in the 1990's.  The course was nice and tough.  The weather was a factor as I recall with rain causing some challenges.

All in all, the trip to the Monterey Peninsula was a lot of fun and the golf was perhaps a once in a lifetime experience.  If given the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn't hesitate to do it all over. 

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