Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Stint at Spyglass


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.

The goosebumps don't go away. They just don't. From the first time you set eyes on the many cypress trees to the first time you actually see the words "Pebble Beach," it's mesmerizing.

On Thursday, I, along with nearly 180 other charitable Lexus members, set out at Spyglass Hill Golf Club, ranked 50th in the latest Golf Digest list of great courses in the United States, to see exactly what these 18 holes had in store for me. It was, to sum it up very simply, beautiful.

Nothing really can teach you about Monterey golf, you just have to cruise in your Lexus courtesy car around 17 Mile Drive and see just how much golf there is. If St. Andrews holds the record for most famous golf courses on one plot of land, Monterey must hold the record for most famous golf courses that you can see from one another. Pebble. Spyglass. Spanish Bay. The impossibly exclusive Cypress Point. And that's just naming the ones you've heard of.

Each year, Lexus puts on something they call the Champions for Charity, an accumulation of people that played in charity events all across the country, "stuck" here for a weekend of golf, luxury and, foremost, philanthropy. Everyone is here doing their part to make something that needs it better. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the March of Dimes, the YMCA and hundreds of other charities benefit from this event, and the events that take place around the country leading up to this. One of the things I noticed within the first few hours of arriving at Pebble? My thoughts that everyone would be snotty was completely off target. Everyone here is happy. They're happy to be here, happy to be helping out, and happy to be given the chance to do something for someone else, while enjoying something for themselves.

Spyglass was full of groups of people cheering on whatever hole they were playing, just embracing what was presented to them. Myself? I walked around the golf course like a kid not just in a candy store, but in a candy store without an employee to slap your hand away. This is the golf destination for men that have ever picked up a 6-iron and tried to smack a Penta on a green, and now here I am, for a good cause (Think this place isn't great? As I'm typing this a bagpiper is walking by my room, playing some rendition of some song that makes me want to abandon this column, snag a Guinness and chum it up with anyone and everyone sitting around a fireplace in the nearest pub).

What more is to come? A lot more, but for now, it's just what Lexus and everyone here has done. More to report after I try to conquer Spanish Bay on Friday. One thing I noticed while admiring the situation I was in on Thursday? Being taken back and amazed at the situation sure can disrupt your short game.

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