There was a time I took golfing trips. Twice to play Pebble Beach.
By this time, everyone has seen the video of Jordan Spieth’s second shot on hole 8. The one from the edge of a very high cliff over an expanse of water way below to a green on the other side.
He was crazy to even attempt the shot. His swing could have carried him forward and down into the rocks and ocean below.
His next round would have been playing with Arnold Palmer on the cloudy course above.
Let me tell you of my experience playing hole 8 and also hole 7.
I start with an undeniable fact. I was the world’s worst golfer. Took only one lesson and never practised. I played once or twice a week. I did it because I enjoyed the camadreship, nature’s beauty, and hole 19.
My handicap was 35. Never enough. I usually shot 135. Never was I ashamed. We played for money. My friends always had to give me strokes. Most were in the area of 10 handicappers. The strokes evened things out.
We went to California to play Pebble Beach. A wonderful experience! The course the most beautiful and most difficult I ever played. Television is not able to do justice to most of the holes.
Hole 7 a par 3. The tee standing alone on a high windy hill. Straight down, the green a tiny appendix to the land. Surrounded by a few small sand traps, and the ocean on 3 sides.
The wind atrocious. Could blow you off the tee.
My 3 companions were all excellent golfers. They were concerned about the wind above. Decided I should hit first so they could figure it out. I took it as an insult, but said nothing.
My shot never made it up up and away. I topped the ball.
It skidded down the narrow fairway, hit a few rocks and ran through a sand trap onto the green. I was thrilled. I was on.
My smart aleck friends all put their lofty drives way up in the air and into the ocean.
I smiled and walked away saying nothing.
Next hole #8. The most difficult hole I ever played anywhere.
A par 4. Your drive is up a hill. Not high. However high enough so you can’t see where your ball will land. A par 4. The area wide enough so wherever your ball landed, it would be safe.
No one in my four some hit as far as Spieth did to the edge of the cliff. It took me two shots to hit where my buddies hit their drives.
Permit me to describe what our eyes beheld. Where our next shots were intended to be hit.
A long high cliff. U shaped. Halfway down on the other. The cliff looked to me to be a 100 plus feet. The news this morning reports it as 70 feet.
The cliff straight down. Reminded me of the cliffs in Santorini, the cliffs of Dover, and those in Wuthering Heights. I expected to hear Heathcliff calling Cathy.
The distance from where we were to the green on the other side impossible to hit over. Wide! Between the two, the roaring ocean below.
There was a safe way. You could hit to the left. There was a fairway for golfers like me. A huge hairpin curve. Two to three shots to the green.
We all opted to go for the green over the roaring waters below. I knew I would never make it across. However, hope springs eternal.
I went into the water. As did 2 others. However one made it. A 10 handicap. We were all thrilled for him!
Some background information re the course.
I last played Pebble Beach at least 30 years ago. Cost then for a round $175. Can imagine what it would be now.
The course was used 10 months a year as a money maker. Everyone wanted to play Pebble Beach.
The course was a mess. In terrible shape. A disgrace.
I learned later that the owners let hackers like me enjoy. Their cash flow had to be fantastic. However 2 months before the big tournament, the course was closed down. No one played it. Pebble Beach was brought back to its pristine beauty. That is what you saw on TV yesterday.
No carts were permitted on the course. The concrete paths ran along one side of a fairway. Had curbs on both sides so it was next to impossible to drive a cart onto the fairway. You had to carry your clubs that you thought might be needed to your ball and then back to the cart. A lot of work!
We had lunch one day at the Pebble Beach Club Room. As beautiful as the course. Dark panelling. Maroon leather chairs and benches. The food befitting a place such as Pebble Beach.
It is exciting each year to watch the tournament on television. I can recall about 12 of the holes I played. Each time I excitedly say in my mind: You were there, you played that hole!
Enjoy your day!