But what a way to go. Poppy Hills, Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach and Spanish Bay.
Before my friend and I hooked up, I had planned to play Pacific Grove Golf Links, aka “The Poor Man’s Pebble.” It’s a deal and a steal at around $50.
But the guys at the place we were staying at advised me to go on golfnow.com. (By the way, there’s an app for that.) Good advice. I got a $50 greens fee at Poppy Hills, a savings of $150! I was paired with a great guy, whose wife came along for the ride. Their names were Gerry and Kathy. Go figure. We also played with two SoCal lunatics who analyzed every shot before blasting half of them out of bounds. Still a great way to warm up for the Big Three.
Spyglass Hill was first up. Five holes of oceanside awe, then a long walk in the woods. We found Spyglass eminently playable. By the sea and through the forest, there’s some wiggle room if you’re not hitting it as straight as you’d like. We played as a twosome behind a foursome, so there was plenty (read: too much) time to enjoy the scenery.
Pebble is Pebble. As I pointed out in an earlier post, take a caddie and walk the course. Walking lets you absorb the sights, the sounds, even the smell of a course that’s as good as it gets. The front nine was played in some fog, the back nine in bright sunshine. We played with a honeymooning couple from Calgary whose next stop was the Bandon courses in Oregon. (On the bucket list.) And to show them love can last, our wives (surprise!) met us on the 16th hole, and walked in with us. I parred every par 3, but my driver was balky, making the longer holes even longer. And on 18…there was a crowd surrounding the green. It was Labor Day, and the tourists were out! (It’s not good when your main swing thought is, “Don’t %$#@ this up.) I was quite happy with a bogey and a 91.
Finally, there was Spanish Bay. A links course hard on, well, Spanish Bay. It was breathtaking, but we could have used a caddie here. Good luck finding your ball if it doesn’t hit the fairway. (And many of mine didn’t.) I had it going on the first nine, then stumbled home. But if you have to lose your game, you can lose it with a smile. The place is too beautiful to get terribly upset.
The weather on the Monterey peninsula is fickle. It can be cool and foggy on one hole, windy and cloudy on another, and warm and sunny on the next. You can’t pack light.
But at our next stop…