Before I get into that, I feel like I need to elaborate a little on a couple of the blog entries from the prior days. First, while Kim was completing her 30th day of running 5K by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, Scotty decided that we needed to celebrate Kim’s accomplishment by eating doughnuts. Unfortunately, he forgot to mention that he was going to eat BOTH doughnuts while Dada watched.
The morning concluded with us in the gift store purchasing: 1) a stuffed sea otter, 2) a sea otter Christmas decoration for the tree (to go along with the jellyfish ornament we purchased the day before), 3) a rubber puffer fish (complete with the spikes), and 4) a book about the aquarium with Luna on the cover. Shortly thereafter, we went outside and found Kim, who was picked us up and got to know our new friends (the otters were a big hit). So, that kind of fills in the blanks for a couple of the parts of the vacation that Kim was not around for. Now, on to Pebble.
The funny part of my playing Pebble is that, for all of my hoping and planning, there was a good chance that it wasn’t going to happen. I had to call at 7:00 a.m. on the Friday before to see if they could slot me in. So, I woke up and called the course at about 7:05. They had already filled up all of their “open” spots (i.e. spots not reserved for people who do what they want you to do and stay 2-3 nights at the Lodge) except 2. But, they were able to slot me in at 1:30 on June 29, so I packed up the car and left. 600 miles doesn’t seem like that far, but that’s essentially like driving from Vegas to San Diego and back in one shot. Plus, there’s no good way to get to northern California from Vegas. Lots of 2-lane highways and zig-zagging. Fortunately, the route goes through Bakersfield, and there is a Chick-fil-a in Bakersfield (now is also a good time to remind readers the Chick-fil-a completely cured whatever was bothering Scotty on the drive from Solvang to LA…just saying), so the drive was not that bad.
I got to Monterey late in the evening, found a relatively cheap place to stay (relative to anything else in Monterey), and then located where I needed to go the next day. I could tell that the area was going to be incredible as soon as I got there, but it was late so I did not linger and went to the hotel and got a decent nights’ sleep. The next morning, I got up early because I really wanted to get there early and explore the area. Great call on my part. I was able to drive around and see a lot of the area, parked the car in time for an early lunch on the balcony overlooking the 18th hole, and sat down for a sandwich and a great view of the 18th green.
I got rolling again on the back side. I hit some really great shots, and other than a complete mental-meltdown on #15 (“Don’t hit it in the front bunker. Don’t hit it in the front bunker.” And…I hit it in the front bunker and made 8), I had a good 9 going. But, 15 hurt, and then I made bogey on 16 and 17 (after I attempted the “Watson chip,” because, that’s what you have to do on #17 at Pebble). I stood on the 18th tee knowing I was 17 over for the round. I really wanted to break 90, but 18 is tough. Long par 5, and the view is, well, distracting.
I’ve played better rounds of golf, but I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a round more than I enjoyed this one. The birdie on #2 was fun, the hole-in-one by my playing partner on #5 was incredible, and round as a whole was almost surreal. Every hole is like a postcard, and while I’ve played harder courses, I’ve never played a course that made me really think about every shot. I can honestly say I enjoyed every one of the 89 strokes I played that day (except for maybe the 3 shots it took me to get out of the bunker on 15… that’s why I told myself not to hit it there!), and as a whole, the day was perfect. I don’t use that word a lot, but it really fits here. I had great expectations for the round and it turned out to be even better than I expected.
Anyway, sorry for the long blog. I hope you enjoyed it and got a little taste of my day at Pebble (along with my solo adventures with Scotty in SF and Monterey). See everyone next time!