Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Pulchritude of Pebble

For the next few days, I'll be writing from the grandiose Pebble Beach Golf Resort, giving feedback and stories from my first experience on the Monterey Peninsula. The visit is thanks to Lexus, who holds a Champions for Charity event each year at these famed links. Check out more info on the charity event that has raised nearly $200 million, and continue to come back and read up on the stories that make up ones first trip to the 5th Avenue for golfers.

There are few things in life that live up to expectations. Being a golfer, I've had a few. Walking up the 18th at St. Andrews with my father was a moment I'll never forget. Teeing off on the 18th at Pebble Beach on Saturday is a whole other. You see, there are golf courses by the ocean, and then there is Pebble. It's a golf course that isn't a golf course, it's an experience.

When you finish up on the 18th green, and drive your golf cart back to the clubhouse, you'll probably forget your score. You won't remember exact golf shots you hit. It will slip your mind of which bunker you got it up and down from, or what hole on the back ended with a fist pump. It's a golf experience, with emphasis landing on that second word. Pictures will forever live on your hard drive and framed in your study, but what you really take from the first time around Pebble is just that ... you played Pebble Beach, and lived to tell about it. (Which, for full disclose, might only be said from us playing. Our caddie, an exquisite gentleman by the name of Josh, went around Spyglass and Spanish Bay with Stephanie and myself the first two days, and it took only three holes before Josh got pegged in the foot from a tee ball, the first time he'd been hit in 11 years on the links. He toughed it out, but I'd bet my shiny laptop that there is a broken bone or two swashing around in his foot.)

The golf course is impossible to beat, really. People can talk up golf holes at Cypress or Monterey Country Club, but when you're on that stretch from the 6th to the 9th, you really don't have time to think. The 7th isn't even fair it's so darn pretty, and on a day like we had on Saturday, with the weather as perfect as it gets in this area, you had to pinch yourself to make sure you weren't watching an AT&T telecast.

As I left Pebble, driving away in my too-quick-and-beautiful Lexus, I stopped at a few of the tourist destinations on 17 Mile Drive, more to just catch my thoughts than anything. I saw the Ghost Tree and the Lone Cypress. I walked out on the sandy beach by Cypress Point and looked out in the ocean. To think that not only were we getting to play a golf course that beautiful, but for a good cause, seemed worthy of a few seconds to catch my breath.

Will Pebble ever feel like it did that first time, when you're roaming the links wide eyed like a freshman taking his first steps on campus? Nope, like a cigarette high, that feeling will be wanted and wanted. Can I wait for the next time I'm invited to slap it around Pebble and try to reach that feeling again? Of course not, the golf course is nearly too pretty to divot-up.


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