This week has taught me a newly found respect for golf after spending four days at Pebble Beach, California on the Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Spyglass Hill. This is the ATT National Pro-Am 2015 when 156 professional golfers team up with 156 amateur golfers from the world of sports, media and business.
Bill Murray is one of the premier attractions among the celebrities who regularly play ATT Pebble Beach Pro-Am. His antics relive the film entertainment of 1980 Caddyshack, Pebble Beach style. He was sporting camouflage pants and different color gardening gloves as he walked onto the 10th green of Monterey Peninsula Country Club Thursday afternoon with a stunning ocean backdrop. Before attending to his golf ball, he walked up to a woman sitting on the grass behind the spectator ropes, grabbed her by the legs and pulled her down the slope several feet. The TV camera was filming, the crowd was rolling with laughter, but the woman subjected to his humor seemed the least amused by the episode, especially as he tried to drag her back up the slope.
San Francisco sports fans were treated to Giants darling Buster Posey, the catcher and $167 million man for the current World Series title baseball team playing his first ATT Pro-Am tournament. Seeing Jerry Rice and Steve Young of the 49ers for the first time in 20 years on Tuesday in a 49ers-Giants shootout was one of the highlights of the week for me.
Charities receive millions of dollars from the ATT Pebble Beach event. The professional golfer who wins the tournament earns a $1,224,000 first place prize.
I don’t play golf. My interest in spending a week at Pebble Beach was more about the unimpeded access to roam world famous golf courses, take in the scenic views and see some golfers play. Wearing a one week tournament pass around my neck was like having a wad of cash to open doors at Pebble Beach.
And the one week pass only cost $99 from Costco.
Besides golf, Pebble Beach is known for three resort hotels with The Lodge, Casa Palmero and Spanish Bay Resort. These are generally the most expensive three hotels on the Monterey Peninsula at $1,000 per night for an ocean view.
Go Ahead, Make My Day
I often felt like I was the only resident of the Monterey Peninsula who had never seen Clint Eastwood. My mother-in-law was his son’s school teacher in the 1970s. My wife has seen him several times in his local restaurants and bars around Carmel, California.
When I travel around the world and people ask where I am from, the most common point of recognition is Clint Eastwood, former mayor of Carmel, California in the late 1980s and part owner of Pebble Beach Corporation when it was purchased from Japanese investors in 1999. Pebble Beach is a private gated community with a $9.75 car toll to enter. Tourists pay to see the southwestern portion of the Monterey Peninsula and tour the 17-mile drive. Locals walk or bike into Pebble Beach for free.
Clint Eastwood putting at Hole 18 of Pebble Beach Golf Links in the 3M Celebrity Challenge Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015. His caddy was professional golfer and golf TV commentator Nick Faldo.
Nick Faldo giving musician Kenny G golf tips after a missed putt with Clint Eastwood to his right.
Actor/comedian Bill Murray at the Celebrity Shootout saying something funny since my next photo showed his golf partner cracking up in laughter.
Huey Lewis, 80s rocker, prompted crowd responses of “I want a new drug” every time he hit a ball. The Golf Channel coverage yesterday brought this story back around to hotels in a piece that showed rock stars who took up golf. I think it was Eddie Van Halen recommending to a young rocker to get a hobby that gets you out of the hotel room when traveling. To paraphrase the comment, “Hotel rooms are all the same with a bed, TV, phone and bathroom. Some hotel rooms are bigger and nicer, but ultimately you need to have a lifestyle that gets you out of the hotel room and away from bars, so you don’t go crazy on the road.”
The past two days on Thursday and Friday I visited Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Spyglass Hill to watch the first two days of the ATT Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 2015 official scoring golf play. Cameras are not allowed during the Thursday to Sunday tournament without an official media credential. These photos are all from Wednesday.
Golf looks like a fun way to spend the day if the country club lifestyle is your desire and a lifestyle you can afford. Golfers dream of playing Pebble Beach Golf Links one day in their life.
The photo above is the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links. This is a vantage point that I have seen before, but not one I see all that frequently. Instead, you will generally find me walking the peninsula seen in the photo background, on the other side of Carmel Bay at Point Lobos State Reserve. Hiking in the woods and along the coast, watching birds and marine life is my way to relax and set my mind free when not writing on the computer.
Finding ways to get into hotel rooms rather than out of hotel rooms is my primary work lifestyle concern when I leave the Monterey Peninsula to travel.