The Roll of a Lifetime
Art Imitates Life at Pebble Beach
BY EYAN ROTl-H-1AN I Pf-lOTOGRAPf-lY BY JOANN DOST
PEBBLE BEACH GOLF LINKS HASN'T ONLY BEEN THE real life and into a movie. The small crowd around the first tee were
SITE of golfing history. The course has served as a set for films the silent extras, and I was the star. A star terrified he'd forget his
such as National Velvet, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Rebecca. And, lines and blow the opportunity of a lifetime. I needn't have worried.
upon stepping to the first tee for the first time at Pebble Beach, I In the end, as it surely always does, Pebble Beach stole the show.
was indeed thinking about a movie rather than, say, Tiger Woods' It is the show.
historic I5-shot triumph here at the 2000 U.S. Open. I was thinking Another metaphor (or perhaps the channeled neurosis of Mr.
about The Purple Rose of Cairo. Allen) arrived as I stood over my bogey putt on the opening green.
In Woody Allen's comedy, an actor walks off the screen and into (Pebble Beach often leaves one reaching for comparisons beyond
real life. As I put my tee in the ground, I felt I was walking out of golf) Not for the first time in my life, I felt as though I were on a
56 HILuXURY AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2011
To follow the dating metaphor, as you walk up the fourth hole,
with the Pacific Ocean shimmering to your right, well, you just
can't help it: You're falling in love. It's one-sided, yes, and fated to
end, but you feel so alive. The salt air is like perfume. It's making
you light-headed. You're hitting dopey shots, and smiling about
For people not well versed in the course-there may even be a
golfer or two among this group, though that's doubtful-Pebble
Beach has several iconic holes that rank among the world's greatest.
For sheer punch-above-its-weightiness, it's no contest: At just
106 yards, the teeny, terrifying 7th, playing straight downhill
to a wee green fronting crashing Pacific Ocean surf, boasts the
highest fame-to-Iength ratio in golf. I stood on that tee box, gap
wedge in hand, bursting with anticipation, only mixed with an odd
sensation: utter peace. On a perfect Monterey afternoon, at one of
the most exquisite places on earth, I was playing a game I love in
the company of a great friend. No metaphors cluttered my mind.
This was just plain awesome.
My swing, if not precisely awesome, was smooth enough. The golf
The majesty that awaits clubbers at Pebble Beach.
gods smiled benevolently, and my ball caught the left front corner
of that wee green, burned the edge of the cup with my birdie putt
and happily settled for a par anything but routine.
Which was good, because then I butchered the epic, chasm-
In fact, I stunk up Pebble Beach. And the highest compliment
I can pay it is that I couldn't have cared less. Sure, my few good
date in which I was out of my league. She's so beautiful! So smart!
holes came on the most renowned ones. Really, though, I had briefly
Why is she here with me?
lived the dream. If it proved the only time, well, that's enough. I'll
Because you're paying for everything, I muttered to myself, right
always have Pebble.
before I missed that putt. Now just enjoy her company, since odds
Darkness descended on my friend and I as we made our way up
are you won't see her again.
the final fairway. To the left, the Pacific was more easily heard than
The first three holes at Pebble Beach seem designed to ease you
seen. Ditto the happy golfers murmuring and clinking glasses on
through the panicky period of hyperventilation brought on by the
the patio near the green. As the curtain of night fell, I knew I faced
fact that I am playing Pebble Beach! Pebble! Me! They're graceful,
a return to reality-right after a beer in the famous Tap Room. I
elegant and, it must be said, inland.
left on an up note beyond compare .•
HI L UX URY AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2011 57
INDULGE I GOLF
The Tap Room
If there is a more iconic 19th hole in golf than The Tap Room
at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, it doesn't leap to mind. Certainly
it has location, location, location going for it, but that's not the
top draw. First and foremost is the history of the place, which
can be absorbed by a deep breath in: The nostalgia and the salt
air seeping in from outside make for a potent cocktail. Close your
eyes and you can hear the conversations of old-the amaze-
ment at Tom Watson's 17th hole chip-in at the 1982 U.s. Open
and Jack Nicklaus' flagstick-rattling 1-iron on the same hole a
decade earlier, the less-heroic feats of everyday players reliving
their own highs and lows of the day. Open your eyes and you're
surrounded by amazing photographic evidence of the same
filling the walls.
Plus,the food and drink are pretty damn good. California is
artichoke country, and the artichoke soup here is justly famed,
though it battles with the prime rib chili for starter supremacy.
Foodies (or company credit card holders) might well opt for the
American Kobe Filet Mignon, but after a round somehow The Tap
Room Burger-Yl-pound of black Angus, pepper bacon, sharp
Cheddar on a brioche bun, grilled in a high-intensity Montague
Broiler-paired with a nice local microbrew seemed the epicu-
rean equivalent of a tap-in birdie.
58 HI Lux u RY AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2011