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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.