GET INTO GOLF: The mystique of Pebble Beach
Fenway Park, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Wimbledon, Madison Square Garden, all legendary venues for major sporting events.
What makes them special is more than the property or the structures.
We could develop an arena for the ages, but it won’t become special until the game’s greats make it magical.
One and done won’t do it either. Fenway Park has the memories of Carlton Fisk waving at a home run ball to keep it in fair territory, the early home field career of Babe Ruth followed by many games as a Yankee.
We’ve all seen those old shots of the Indianapolis 500 with what appears to be a fleet of Model A Ford’s rolling around the Brickyard. Later, AJ Foyt, Rick Mears, and Parnelli Jones were part of making this the largest one-day event with over 300,000 people in attendance.
Perhaps the most nostalgic and picturesque in any sport is golf’s weekend at Pebble Beach. Started as a golf spot for Hollywood’s elite, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby might still be keeping an eye on these hallowed grounds.
Professional tour players came on the scene as partners and the Pro-Am was born.
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.
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.
In addition to the stars (Ray Romano, Justin Timberlake) and musicians (Huey Lewis, Toby Keith), athletes such as Wayne Gretzky, Aaron Rodgers and the brothers Manning will be showing off their golf skills.
As mentioned previously, Poppy Hills will remain out of the three course rotation, begin 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.
Worthy of note, one of golf’s all-time greats is in the hunt. Four-time AT&T Pro-Am winner and reigning champion, Phil Mickelson is in the hunt and playing Pebble Beach today.
To win back-to-back and earn his fifth AT&T trophy at the youthful age of 49, would truly be legendary.
John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.
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