The U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach on Northern California’s Monterey Peninsula is always fun due to the spectacular landscape on the ocean cliff holes 6 through 10. It’s hard not to make Pebble look great on TV.
On the other hand, Fox on Saturday managed to make Pebble look dull by too many close-ups.
Interestingly, in person it can be a bit disappointing because houses line at least one side of quite a few of the holes. For example, when my dad and I played in 1973, he was so intimidated by the demand to hit the ball over a bit of the Pacific from the 18th tee that he aimed far inland … And banged it right off some rich guy’s door.
Interestingly, when it comes to income inequality, Pebble Beach is a somewhat public course and in 1973, the green’s fee was only $20 for anybody to walk on.
Today, the green’s fee for non-resort guests is $550, plus you really ought to pay for a caddy, which will cost you at least $150. extra. If you choose to take a motorized cart, you’ll be forced to drive on the inland cart paths, which are dull. So, take a caddy.
It’s your bucket list, after all.
In fact, $550 is probably pretty cheap for Pebble Beach, considering it’s only an hour or two drive from Silicon Valley and it’s a bucket list golf course. In contrast, nearby Spyglass Hill, which gets down into the sand dunes for holes 1 to 5 but doesn’t quite touch the ocean, is $395. Spyglass Hill is a terrific golf course, with #4 being likely Robert Trent Jones’ best hole, but it’s not Pebble Beach.
My dad practically fell to his death on Pebble’s awesome 8th hole, which he didn’t on Spyglass. I had to shout at him when he was about 10 feet from the 120-foot cliff on the 8th at Pebble Beach. In the 1970s a golfer actually fell off the cliff at #8 but somehow survived the bumpy ride down the chasm.
Granted, these are, by 2019, giant and really nice-looking houses for rich guys like Charles Schwab. I was under the impression that Gene Hackman lived alongside a Pebble Beach fairway, but he appears to have sold out in 1993 and moved to Santa Fe.
Pebble Beach and nearby Cypress Point represent the ne plus ultra of the WASP genius for real estate development. The main man was Samuel Finley Morse, a distant cousin of the Morse Code Morse:
Samuel Finley Brown Morse was born in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of George Morse, a soldier in the American Civil War and later a lawyer in Massachusetts. Morse’s distant cousin, Samuel Morse was the inventor of the telegraph and Morse Code. Morse attended Andover, like his father, and then Yale. At Yale, he was captain of the undefeated 1906 football team and member of the 1906 All-America Team. A member of Skull and Bones,:206 he was voted Most Popular in the Yale University graduating class in 1907.
Edmund Burke in 1757 write about the Sublime vs. the Beautiful.
Elite tastes in the first half of the 18th Century (the Age of Reason) were oriented toward the comfortable and reasonable. Mountain-climbing, for example, was not something Voltaire would have found obsessively interesting.
In the second half of the 18th Century (the beginning of the Romantic Era), new thinkers like Rousseau and Burke were part of a changing taste toward the wilder and less reasonable. The first real landmark event in mountain-climbing history, for example, was the first ascent of Mount Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps, in 1786.
My interpretation of Burke’s dichotomy of the beautiful/sublime when it comes to landscape is that:
– The Beautiful landscape is that in which it looks easy for humans to thrive (e.g., the Dutch countryside or the pleasant flat floor of Yosemite Valley or The Shire);
– While the Sublime landscape is that which looks likely to kill you (e.g., the Alps or the cliffs of Yosemite Valley or Rivendell).
Pebble Beach is sublime because you can lose your golf ball into the Pacific Ocean. After our round in 1973, my dad and I went down into the tidepools alongside the 18th hole at Pebble Beach and found 30 golf balls.
Pebble Beach is the perfect combination of land gently sloping toward the ocean, so that the views of the water are unobstructed, plus ocean cliffs.