A little golf trip post here. I was recently reading a bit of Rick Reilly's Who's Your Caddy. One chapter is about Rick caddying for David Duval (any dude that reads Flannery O'Connor like Duval does has to be alright) in the Fred Meyer Challenge in Portland. Duval played in the tournament with his dad, Bob. They played well and finished third. During and after the tournament David said, "How good is this."
Duval and his dad had been estranged for a while following the death of David's brother and dad's subsequent drinking battles and divorce from David's mom. There were many times in his life that Duval couldn't have imagined playing a tournament with his dad and enjoying it. Reilly shared about his own struggle with his father and how they never had the chance to be teammates. He shared the depth of his loss in this area. He never had the chance to say, "How good is this."
So last Saturday I took a 'How Good Is This' trip with my dad and my son who graduates high school in two months. We headed out to the Monterey Peninsula in California which has been called the number one golf destination in the world.
We played 8 rounds in 6 days at 7 different courses. We started off at Pacific Grove Golf Links which has been called the poor man's Pebble Beach. The back nine sits on sand dunes under the 150 year old Port Pinos Lighthouse. The setting includes spectacular sights, and sounds, of the crashing wave amidst panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. It was a great place to begin our trip at one tenth of the cost of playing Pebble Beach.
The next day we played 36 holes in Seaside, California at Bayonet and Blackhorse. These courses use to be part of Ft. Ord (which is mostly shut down) but are now run by the city of Seaside just north of Monterey. They were built in the thirties and had mature cypress trees lining every fairway. My son said Blackhorse was his favorite course of the trip. He decided these trees were his friends since they often knocked his ball down and back towards the fairway. After all he said, "It is my trip." :)
Our next activity was to loosen up our backs in the hot tub at the hotel. That felt real good.
The following day we headed north to San Francisco. Hiway 1 really is breathtaking between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. We played Harding Park in the morning with their version of huge tree lined fairways. Harding Park is hosting a PGA tour event in October. After golf we headed down to Pier 39 to eat at Bubba Gumps. We had a great seat with a dead on view of Alcatraz. Unfortunately, it started to rain in the afternoon and didn't let up any during the evening. Even so it was still a fun ferry ride over and an interesting tour of 'The Rock'. We were pretty drenched at the end of it all.
Tuesday we had some break from the rain in the morning but the ground was soaked. We played Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz, one of the nations top 100 public courses. Pasatiempo was designed by Alister MacKenzie who also designed a little course called Augusta National where they'll play a little tournament called The Masters in a couple weeks. We finished our morning round just as it began to sprinkle. I had a scrumptious club sandwich while we watched it rain and the course began to 'flood'. Everybody else cleared out but one foresome. We waited around for a couple of hours and the rain slowed down. It did not stop but just slowed down and my dad says, "Let's play."
I was thinking are you freaking nuts. We still ought to be building the Ark just in case. Even so we headed out for a wet and cold round. It was fun battling the elements, playing a great course and spending time with my dad and son. About the fourteenth hole the rain let up. Time to smoke another cigar. We were the only ones on the course when we finished.
More hot tub, more hot tub, more hot tub.
The next day was the day. Pebble Beach at 9:20. So I decided that evening that we should drive down there just to get our bearings for the next day. As I was trying to leave the Pebble Beach Lodge area I drove through a gate. Pretty soon I felt like I was on a service road on the golf course since a fairway was right next to me. And then the road narrowed to cart path width. I was driving a van down a cart path at Pebble Beach! Surely the machine gun fire would come soon. It seemed like it took me an hour to back the 200 yards out of there.
We teed off the next morning and I felt nervous like I was playing in a tournament. We were playing one of the most spectacular courses in the world. It exceeded my expectations. The views from the course really did give me pause to think about a God who can create such beauty.
My son whomped his driver that day. He was consistently 25 yards ahead of me. The coolest shot was on number ten. He started his drive out over the ocean. It hung there for a moment and then curved left way down the fairway. Outstanding.
For my dad and I we each had a birdie. I two putted the par five second just missing an eagle. That would have been a hoot. My dad nailed a fairway wood to 6 feet on number nine and knocked it in for his birdie.
We all bogied the 18th to finish the round but it was tremendous to play there. Every one who considers him or herself to be a golfer really ought to play there once. There is so much history (Jack Nicklaus, Tiger, Tom Watson and Tom Kite all won the US Open there). There is so much beauty in Stillwater Cove and the cliffs above it.
We stayed at the Pebble Beach Lodge that night. Mostly we goofed around, played poker etc. But for a few brief moments we paused to ponder the deeper things of life. My dad shared words with my son first. He shared humbly and with much wisdom. I won't share the words because I feel they are sacred and belong to my son. I am blessed to be able to experience this side of my dad. It is just so hard to go there some times because it means so much. He also gave my son a dream catcher in honor of our Indian heritage.
I shared words with my son from scripture and my pride in him as he finishes high school and heads to Army Reserve training and most likely Iraq. In the middle of my sharing a maid came to the door to offer turn down service. Auugh, what timing. We just had her leave the chocolate.
I continued on and we shared the holiness of three generations of men seeking the depth of life. The older two passing on wisdom and blessing to the younger one.
How good is this. It goes beyond words.
When we got home my son had a 'Braveheart' Scottish Claymore sword waiting for him.