GET INTO GOLF: West Coast swing
February 1, 2019
The 2019 PGA Tour season is now in full swing (pardon the pun) and is now making its way up and down the West Coast.
A couple of weeks ago we watched the former Bob Hope Desert Classic (held at PGA West), then last week the boys played Torrey Pines in San Diego.
Today is the third round at the Phoenix Open which boasts the largest fan attendance in golf. If you haven't seen it, tune in and watch the action on the 16th hole. A relatively short par-3, by Tour standards, it is completely surrounded by grandstands that would make NASCAR jealous.
They've got sky boxes, 'Green Keeper' boxes that host corporate events and individuals by the thousands. More recently, the 17th hole has added stadium seating with more sky boxes and a 'Bay Club.'
On any one day, again, one day…as many as 200,000 people will attend the Phoenix Open. For the week, the turnstile will click over 600,000 times.
Next week, Pebble Beach is the venue. The legendary Bing Crosby Clambake has become much more commercialized as the AT&T National Pro-Am. But, there is still something in the air, a mystique. When you hit 17-mile drive and walk the golf course something nostalgic comes over you. Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, the greats throughout the generations played and won here.
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If you're up for a drive to the Monterey Bay, that is a fun time (although access to local hotels may be limited). You can go for a day or two or more and watch some of the top tour players joined by their amateur partners. Ray Romano, Bill Murray, football's Aaron Rogers, and Huey Lewis are among this year's celebrities.
Poppy Hills will remain out of the three course rotation this time, replaced by the redesigned Shores Course of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club. MPCC had previously been used from 1947 until 1966 when it was substituted by Spyglass Hill.
Following this west coast swing, the Tour heads south of the border. For the top players it will be one leg of the World Golf Championships in Mexico City. For those outside this list, it's the Puerto Rico Open.
Then everybody is heading to Florida. So, while it sounds like we're going to get rain and snow, turn on Golf Channel. In fact, grab your putter or something to chip with during commercials.
John Renslow is a PGA Professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.
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