Posts Tagged ‘Pebble Beach’

2010 Us Open: Big guns back away from title

June 22, 2010

The US Open finished on Sunday and Tiger couldn’t repeat his Saturday effort. Dustin Johnson who held a 3 shot lead on Sunday morning crashed from a 6-under start to a 3-over finish. Ernie Els who needed to make a charge, couldn’t and shot 1-over par as did Phil Mickelson. The French golfer Gregory Havret had an honest chance to at least make it into a playoff but bogeyed the 17th the ensure that didn’t happen. And the eventual winner, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell dropped three shots over the course of the day but managed to put his name on the trophy.

As I have said many times before, golf is a strange game. I think I’ve used the term ‘funny’ before, but that might infer that it is amusing. It isn’t.

Here we were on Sunday at the final round of the 2010 US Open, with the number 1, 2 and 6 ranked golfers in the world in contention and none of them could rise to the occasion. By my count there were only 6 scores under par on Sunday. One was a 68 by Bo Van Pelt who had shot an 82 on Saturday. What was different for him on Sunday when the leaders were crashing and burning. No pressure?

Granted the couse was obviously playing very hard and the greens were very, very fast, but these are still the very best golfers in the world and they were whipped like dogs.

Of course, maybe that is the other side of it. When the best golfers in the world can’t produce and shoot – in some cases – amateur level scores, is the course just too difficult? Are they really chosing the best golfer or just the most fortunate on any given day?

We know that a golf game can go sideways for anyone, whether professional or amateur. But when it goes astray for everyone you wonder if it is because of the course set-up, the pressure of competing for your national championship or (likely) a combination of the two. It would be interesting to see any of the competitors play the course on Monday following the Open strictly as a fun round and see what they would shoot.


Expensive golf

May 20, 2010

Every month I get my golf magazines in the mail and every month I get annoyed once more.

What bugs me is their continuous plugging of golf resorts (although I think that any place that has a motel next door qualifies as a resort these days) and horrendous green fees that they seem to think are acceptable.

If some unsuspecting golfer asks a question about where to find a reasonably priced golf course in his or her travels, $100 for a greens fee seems to qualify.

I beg to differ. There are lots of good golf courses out there (particularly in the U.S.) with green fees in the $60 range and less, including a cart.

Of the 10 courses I played in Phoenix this past March, the most I paid for a round was $52 U.S. with a cart included.

Granted, these weren’t high end, polish your clubs, every blade of grass in place, facilities. But the courses were fun to play and the condition of the courses was good, particularly the greens.

I am constantly blown away by the fact that people are willing to plunk down $495 in cold, hard, cash to play Pebble Beach. I can only believe that a lot of it must be corporate money (it would be interesting to know how much their green fee play has dropped since the financial crash), but to many it is apparently the Holy Grail of Golf, to be played at any price.

In the current Golf Magazine there is an article on golfing the Monterey Peninsula where they list Spyglass Hill as being a “must play” at $350. But the ‘hot tip’ is that if you book the twilight rate you can play for as low as $185, but of course you may not have time to finish the round before darkness descends.  Take a flashlight.

By the way, the $495 for Pebble and the $350 for Spyglass only includes a cart if you are a guest at the resort. The lowest price for a room at Pebble Beach Resort? $695.

OK, so there a lot of people who have a lot more money than me (a given) and price is obviously of no concern.

God bless them. They keep the economy rolling.

In an attempt to be fair I will note that Golf Magazine did list one actually reasonably priced course on the Peninsula – Pacific Grove Golf Links – which is a shorter course at 5,583 yards. Weekday rate of $40 which doesn’t appear to include a cart which is an additional $17 for a shared cart. Presumably the course is walkable.

Of course the obvious answer to the various golf magazines pushing the high end facilities is that they advertise in their magazines, whereas the munis don’t, and most certainly many of the writers get to play and stay, if not for free, at a reduced rate, as long as they write up their golf excursion and expound on the excellence of the course.

Part of the problem with exorbitant green fees is the mentality that if it’s cheap it can’t be good. I know of at least one course in BC that increased their tourist play by raising their fees and I am sure there are others who have done the same. Sadly the policy seems to work.

Even Papago, my favourite course in Phoenix, has been refurbished and the old $20 green fee that I paid on my first foray into Arizona is only a fond and distant memory with the winter rack rate now set at $99 for non residents (although Phoenix residents get to play for $59 – lucky dogs).

Seems to me that I bitched about this subject many blogs ago. An ongoing irritation that obviously isn’t going to get any better.

Have a good game.