By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL/Designated Writer
There I was, standing on the 18th green at Pebble Beach, looking over a birdie putt. It had already been an unbelievable day at a place I had dreamed about for most of my life. There were a few people standing near the green, taking pictures of the majestic scenery. But as far as I was concerned, they were watching me as I was about to attempt the crowning moment in my golf life.
As I waited for the rest of my foursome to deal with their own issues and make their way to the green, I took a moment to let it all sink in. There I was, attempting to birdie one of the most famous holes in golf at one of the most historic courses in the world.
Was this really happening to me?
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The journey to the 18th green at Pebble Beach was a long one, but only because of the amount of time. It was actually a very easy journey and one that I will certainly never forget.
For years I have been on one of those email distribution lists that send you information about various golf trips being offered. A few years ago, I thought I might get a group and go to Bandon Dunes in Oregon, but I never pulled the trigger.
Over time, the emails kept coming. I’d usually give them a quick look and then hit the delete button.
But one day in September of 2016, I got an email about a Pebble Beach trip. Rather than delete, I opened it. Three days, four nights at Pebble Beach, Spyglass and Half Moon Bay. The price wasn’t completely outlandish.
Sure, I could kept putting it off and telling myself that one day, I would do something like that. But for some reason, I decided at that moment I was going to do this. If you wait until the time is exactly right, you’ll never go.
All I had to do was find three friends to go with me.
The qualifications were easy. They had to be golf nuts, have a favorable work schedule, could afford it (as far as I knew) and, most importantly, have the ability to clear it with all potential “significant” people in their life.
Amazingly, the vetting process did not take long at all. In fact, all three simply wanted to know only two things: “How much?” and “When are we going?”
After a few online payments, plane reservations, a vehicle rental and suddenly the last week of March, 2017, was on us in no time.
Since we were flying out of DFW before the roosters even woke up – and gained two hours – we added another golf course to the trip. We landed in San Francisco and drove straight to Santa Cruz to play Pasatiempo, a course that is also ranked among the best is country (I had never heard of it).
Pasatiempo is about as old school as they come – famed Augusta National designer Alister MacKenzie had a house on the front nine – and was a great way to start the trip. When you stood on the first tee, you could see the Pacific Ocean in the distance and it was very hilly. As any golfer knows, Cart Path Only is not your friend, especially on and up-and-down course, so it played even tougher than it might otherwise had (Not to mention that we had been up since 3 a.m. and just come off a three-hour flight).
We putted out, threw the clubs in the SUV and took off for the Monterey Peninsula. A Sunday at Pebble Beach awaited us.
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