The Road to Pebble Beach

It was a beautiful weekend here in the Metroplex (sorry, friends up North), so the Golf Nerd Goddess and I hooked up with our respective gender golf groups on Saturday, and then played together with our friends Dianne and Susan on Sunday (we’re talking about golf here, you perverts). Yes, yes, I know that it was Valentines Day. Rest assured that we enjoyed a very romantic Saturday evening without having to resort to watching “50 Shades of Grey” (a title that could also describe Ben Hogan’s golf wardrobe).

In between our rounds, we checked in on the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (or as us curmudgeons will forever call it, The Crosby Clambake, in honor of its founder). The Crosby has always signaled the unofficial start of the professional golf season for me; partially for the field (generally strong), some for watching various celebrities and other members of the moneyed gentry embarrass themselves (or, in some rare instances, demonstrate surprisingly strong game), but almost always for the course. And at this year’s event, the weather was spectacular to the point of surreal – impossibly blue waters of various shades set against the native grasses that comprise Pebble Beach, all bathed by abundant sunshine and a sky that would put Carolina Blue to shame.

I have never played Pebble Beach. I did make it out to the Monterrey Peninsula once, having some spare time from a business trip and almost regret having done so, as the day I traveled there was much as I described above. I parked near the Lodge, made my way out towards the 18th green, gazed back along the Pacific shoreline that borders that iconic finishing hole, and felt tears welling – partially from the sensory overload, and maybe even more so from the fact that I didn’t have my clubs with me.

I emphasize the weather because it’s more unpredictable than John Daly’s love life (speaking of Mr. Daly, he managed to shoot an opening round 65 and still miss the cut). Over the years, the tournament has seen hail, severe thunderstorms and fog that would make Carl Sandburg swoon. The time of year does not seem to matter; when Tom Kite won the US Open there in June of 1992, the wind blew so hard that many players were hitting 5 or 6 iron into the 103 yard 7th hole,

All that aside, Pebble Beach is definitely on every golfer’s bucket list, although at $500 a round, the operators of the course and resort are doing their level best to keep out the riff-raff. Add in rounds at Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay plus accommodations, and you are not far from buying a decent late-model compact car.

So the GNG and I have an agreement by which the next time she shoots a personal best score, we’re going to Pebble. Both of our games have been suffering a bit lately, so it might be awhile before we get there – although she may have found a key to get us there this past weekend.

On Sunday, Sharon tried out a new driver, the Dunlap XXIO. It’s actually manufactured for senior men who have slower swing speeds (without getting into golf techie-talk, the weight difference between this driver and a “normal” driver is far more noticeable than, oh say, the PSI between a “properly” weighted football and what the Patriots are alleged to have done against the Colts), but it seemed to suit her quite nicely, and she smacked some really strong and straight drives. [NOTE: for the uninitiated, there are two clubs in a golfer’s bag with which he or she form symbiotic relationships; those being the driver and the putter. Well, in some cases it can be somewhat passionate – Ky Laffoon , a pro who played during the 1930’s and 1940’s, once was so disenchanted with his putter that he tied it to the back of his car and dragged it along the road for about 10 miles . . . and then shot it.]

Anyway, Diane, Susan, and I were all excited over the results that Sharon was achieving from the XXIO to the point that she should really consider buying it. We finished our round, and Sharon approached Kevin, the head professional at our club. Watching from a distance, her expression changed from one of hopeful promise to that of one having just learned that the new car she had just bought needed a complete transmission overhaul.

I walked over to see what the problem was. Sharon turned to me and said, “Kevin says this club costs $800.”

I looked at Kevin, a very amiable sort from England, and asked, “Are you serious?”

Afraid so, mate. That’s a Asian manufacturer, very expensive.”

So . . . we may have taken a slight detour on the road to Pebble Beach. Anyone know where we can find a used Dunlap XXIO?

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