Ladies and Gentlemen of Pebble Beach

As a wee lad, I had the very good fortune to learn the game of golf. By playing golf, I realized the importance of honesty, courtesy, and several other core values that shaped my life and personality. As a member of my high school’s golf team, I played many great golf courses, including the greatest of them all, Pebble Beach Golf Links.

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7th Hole at Pebble Beach, the shortest hole on the PGA Tour

Established along the coastal cliffs of the Monterey Peninsula, Pebble Beach Golf Links is perhaps the most beautiful and famous golf course in the world. Five times it has hosted the United States Open, which were won by some of the greatest champions in the history of the game, including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods. To walk in their footsteps and play Pebble Beach is on most every golfer’s ultimate bucket list.

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Junior playing with 2015 Champion Esteban Toledo (white pants)

At $495 for 18 holes, I’m glad I got to play Pebble Beach for free in high school, and will probably never play it again. Instead, to re-visit the hallowed fairways, I volunteered as a walking scorer at the Nature Valley First Tee Open. The First Tee Open is a unique Senior PGA Tour event that supports The First Tee, a non-profit organization committed to teaching boys and girls life lessons through the game of golf.

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Joe with cousin Matt and his fiancée Katie

For the three-day tournament, each professional was teamed with a junior golfer between the ages of 15 and 18, as well as two amateur players. To my surprise, one of the amateurs playing in the tournament was my cousin Matt Ginella, our family’s biggest celebrity. Matt is a golf travel expert and regular personality on the Golf Channel’s daily television program, “Morning Drive”.

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Scorer Joe on 9th hole at Pebble Beach

During the tournament, my job was to walk with the players and input their scores into a hand-held electronic device, so that the tournament officials and television announcers could stay up to date. The most difficult part of the task was staying focused on the golf amidst all the natural beauty and history of Pebble Beach.

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Junior golfer on the famous 18th hole at Pebble Beach

At the end of the tournament, Matt finished in 5th place out of 81 amateur teams, and I met some prominent professional golfers, influential amateur players, and aspiring junior stars. After three days of walking one of the most beautiful and famous golf courses in the world, I was most impressed with the polite and personable youngsters, who proved to be the perfect ladies and gentlemen of Pebble Beach.

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Liz playing in the giant sand trap of Carmel Beach

 

16 thoughts on “Ladies and Gentlemen of Pebble Beach

    • Thanks Dave & Sue. Walking Pebble Beach for the First Tee Open was the perfect volunteer opportunity for a golf lover like me. One day while I was at the tournament, Esther joined a local beach cleanup crew, a perfect job for a nature lover like her.

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    • Thank you, Sue. Liz forgot to rake her paw prints after playing from the sand trap. A breach of golf etiquette you would never see from the fine young people that I met at the First Tee Open.

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  1. Although I don’t golf, I enjoyed seeing the Pebble Beach course when I was last up in Monterey. It’s as beautiful as our own Torrey Pines Golf Course. If I did golf and found myself on either course, I would probably soon find myself completely distracted by the view. How nice that you were able to volunteer… and run into your cousin!

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    • Janis, Your Torrey Pines Golf Course is another precious jewel in the crown of great California golf courses, and like Pebble Beach, it is open for public play. Ironically, today is one of the saddest in the history of golf, with the passing of “The King” Arnold Palmer. He played with Presidents, CEOs, juniors and the common man. As an average Joe myself, I always admired Mr. Palmer. He inspired and helped a lot of people, and will be missed terribly.

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  2. Ah Pebble Beach! Jeff and I supported The First Tee Open for three years. Funny story…We were going through the buffet line at the pairing party when my slice of tomatoe slid off my salad into the floral centerpiece. Arkansas redneck meets Pebble Beach!😂

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  3. Hey Deb, The horror…After pulling a stunt like that, the pairing committee probably knew to pair you and Jeff with John Daly. Dan Quayle should be your fourth.

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