Living and surviving 144 holes of dream golf on the Monterey Peninsula
Eight rounds of golf in six days. Even on California’s Monterey Peninsula where the weather was cool all week, that’s a grueling haul, but a dream golf vacation.
I played 144 holes, and my total score was 65-over-par. It sounds like a high scoring total when you put it that way, but it comes out to just a little over 8 strokes over par per round, and considering three of the courses were pretty tough, I’m not displeased.
The first course was Pebble Beach Golf Links, which has been set up for next week’s U.S. Open. The last course was The Bayonet at Bayonet/Black Horse, which believe it or not, was tougher than Pebble Beach.
Bayonet, which reopened after an extensive Gene Bates renovation about 18 months ago, is one of the hardest golf courses I have ever played, and especially this week. On Monday, it hosted a qualifier for the U.S. Open. The medalist shot even par, there were five guys in the 90s and a few WDs.
What makes it so tough are the greens, which are difficult to putt and even more difficult to hold. You just can’t get the ball close, especially with all those difficult bunkers around the hole. In preparation for the qualifier, course officials let the normally firm bentgrass greens get even firmer by restricting the water on them. My guess is the course currently is playing harder than its rating/slope of 74.8/141.
Of the eight rounds this week, one I really looked forward to playing was Del Monte, the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi River. I got to play it with Eric Lippert, a Pebble Beach PGA professional who holds the course record at 61. He took it easy on me, giving me six shots in his 2-and-1 victory.
In short, this has been a dream golf trip, one that also included Spyglass Hill (which, not surprisingly, was awesome) and Pacific Grove, which has a back nine right on the Pacific Ocean. Topping this one will be pretty tough.
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