As I began to play golf, as most do, I began to think of what courses I most wanted to play. Three courses have really stuck out in my mind over the years. Pinehurst #2, Augusta National, and Pebble Beach. As I started learning more about golf courses, the list grew to include any number of other courses, ones on Long Island, ones in the British Isles and so forth. But, still today, I would choose any of the three listed above over virtually any course in the world. Those three are still the top of the list for me. But other than Pinehurst #2, I wasn't sure if I would ever see any of them. I'm still not certain that I will ever play Augusta National. On April 2, 2011 though, I got to play Pebble Beach.
I found myself in California due to a school for the Coast Guard. I decided that I would try to play Pebble Beach after my mom agreed to pay the fare; many thanks are in order for that. I called on a Thursday with rather low expectations but to my surprise I was able to secure a teetime at about 11:00 am on that Saturday. I left out Saturday morning with my friend Nik who, having nothing better to do that day, decided to ride down with me.
As we pulled into the lot, the whole place really started to unfold. Walking down from the car park through a gap between the shops and the pro shop was unique. Once we got through the walk, the putting green sprawled out in front of us. It was, in no exaggeration, the largest putting green I have ever seen. I took some obligatory pictures on the putting green, by the Rolex clock, and by the wall of champions behind the first tee.
Finally it was my turn to tee off. To me, the first tee was just awesome. It really was electric from my point of view. The entire round was much the same. Any person who can stand around and say that Pebble Beach is anything short of fantastic needs his head examined. The Third hole offers you the first real chance to see the Pacific and it works really well as a teaser for things to come. It would be difficult for anyone to deny that the two highest points of the round, from a scenic point of view, are the 7th and 18th tees. The 7th hole at Pebble Beach really is a magical setting.
It's difficult to put into words how special a place Pebble Beach is. From the first tee to the eighteenth green, the whole place is magical. The setting is incredible. The history and tradition are incredible. There really is nothing else like it in the world. I really wonder if any golf experience that I might have in the future will ever compare to the experience at Pebble Beach. I'll get chance to find out this November when I play Pinehurst #2, see how that compares.
Pebble is a truly special place for golfers. I wait patiently for the day when I can return there to play again. Even though the cost is high, there is no doubt I would pay it. As I said before, it really is difficult to explain the feeling that I felt at Pebble Beach. I've played a fair number of high quality golf courses, I played Pacific Dunes only two weeks earlier, but at no time have I ever felt something like Pebble. It was, perhaps, something akin to Michael Murphy's round with Shivas Irons in "Golf in the Kingdom." At some point I think the round became something more than just a round of golf and went into something else, more fantasy. The day I played Pebble Beach is certainly a day I will never forget.