Ball Showcase: Pebble Beach

One day… That was what I was thinking when wandering around the first tee, the 18th hole, the putting green and the clubhouse facilities at this historic place: “One day!”

I was visiting the Monterey Peninsula at the Pacific coast and just minutes before I parked my car at Pebble Beach we passed courses like Cypress Point and Spyglass Hill. In other words, we were entering the ultimate golf eldorado.

Unfortunately we were just on a journey through and couldn’t stay here. Hence I haven’t played it but thought to myself: “One day… you’ll be back and get the chance to make that happen and play the most famous courses in the world!” That’s what I think about when looking at this ball. I will keep it as long I wait for the moment to come. Hopefully not too long…

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My 2012 US Open Experience at Olympic Club, San Francisco

Have you ever been to a major golf event? Have you ever experienced that special aura that you will find at these masterpiece golf courses during the tournament? Well I did, just last week. And unfortunately it wasn’t the full experience with complete attendance during the whole weekend – it was “only” the training day – but it was absolutely fantastic.

The positive thing about training days is that you can bring your camera, take the pictures you like and that you really get close to the players. Since they just practise on that day, they are a bit more relaxed, give autographs on every golf memorabilia that you hand them – be it a ball, a flag, a hat, a water bottle or parts of the body.

I have been to “normal” tournaments before, and that was a nice activity as well, but being around on a US Open course, such prestigeous event that people will remember forever, is quite a different thing. How incredible that must be for players! Because the US Open is still – as you read it – an ‘open’ tournament. Hence there were some lucky amateurs, proved to play well enough to compete (at least a little bit), joining the pros and being a part of that incredible story.

I really enjoyed the time I spent at the notable Olympic Club just outside of San Francisco, having the opportunity to really get close to these famous players and being accompanied by my girlfriend who just got into golf a bit. It was amazing to see the players preparing on the putting green or on the driving range, and it was special to see the ball striking when you follow them around the course. They are really just very capable of that what they are doing I can tell you. And as I said – it gets even more special due to the fact that this is a major tournament and not just only the next weekend of PGA golf.

Please have a look at some golfing impressions I could catch during that day. We missed Tiger (we have been told he tried to avoid the crowds and started his round at 6am!) but we saw a lot of Lucas Glover, Davis Love III, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Vijay Singh, Mark Wilson, Dustin Johnson, Ryo Ishikawa, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott and others.

By the way: just one day after that we have been to another famous golf course of the US Open heritage: Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula, where the Open was hosted two years ago. And this course, being situated directly at the rough Pacific coast, this setting really has something special – no wonder this course is one of the most famous in the world. Next time I will definitely play a round. it’s only 500 bucks! ahem…

Playing my first Golf Course in the US

If you know me or if you are following this blog quite regularly, then you might know, that I’m not a real golf traveller. My time is far too limited to take my clubs and travel around here and there to play courses just for the sake of doing it. Well, I’d love to do that, but the reality looks a bit different unfortunately.

Therefore I try to expand my golf course coverage every now and then when I’m on the road or out on vacation. During my road trip through the south-west of the United States there were definitely many many courses I would have loved to play but I could not find the time. Examples would be several courses in Palm Springs, the Riviera in Los Angeles (Pacific Palisades), the Wynn in Las Vegas or Wolf Creek just outside of the city, and for sure the famous courses in the Monterey area like Pebble Beach, Spyglass, Cyprus Point – that kind. But since golfing was not first priority on that trip, we had little time to spend on this.

But there was one day when we had the opportunity to spend some time on a course and my girlfriend surely realised that I was desperate playing in the United States. So we did. Just after reaching Visalia in California, on our way to Sequoia National Park, there was free time in the afternoon to play 18 holes. And since nealy every small town in the US has its own course, we were lucky to have a nice 27-hole resort just around the corner – the Valley Oaks Golf Club in Visalia.

Compared to Europe the first thing that comes to your mind is that everything is much more relaxed – there is no real dress code (I saw some people wearing basketball jerseys actually), you drive golf carts no question about it, and for everybody the main purpose being out there is to have fun. And that is exactly what we had. Loads of if! It was a bit crowded for a day middle of the week, but we had a very good time and I really enjoyed the small golf part of that fairly long vacation. Must have had a grin on my face all the time… But no doubt about it, the mentioned courses that we haven’t played still are on my list. So I keep you posted on the progress.

sad golf year so far…

in november i moved from germany to england, for business, but keeping my passion in mind, i planned to really bring my golf game to the next level here. in england golf is sport for everybody, so many people are playing, so many courses are out there… so practically everything should be set to be my golf eldorado.

but what happened? nothing. my clubs are still in germany, i found nobody in my office who’s playing or has at least a bit of interest in this sport (and a car to take me to the courses). so quite disillusioning i’d say. i haven’t even seen a golf course yet! can you imagine that?

in addition, currently i haven’t the time nor the setup for watching golf on telly. my weekends were quite blocked lately and i haven’t opted for the sky sports package – that would have meant another 40 GBP per month on top. the only golf i see currently is some youtube videos from past tournaments. you can’t imagine how this is p*** me off.

but it gets even worse! this year somebody decided to schedule the masters on the easter weekend. the guy should be hanged in my opinion! in the end i see myself not having one single minute watched of the masters tournament, normally i hardly miss a minute!!

but the year started bad golf-wise and it seems to carry on that way. no clubs here in london, no possibility to get to a course, no time on the weekend to play, no time to play after work, and – guess what – that’s not all: in may/june i’ll be in the US with my girlfriend, performing the big german loop through california, nevada, utah, arizona, etc. it’s a tough plan with a strict schedule but my dream was to play a round of golf in the desert, preferably in palm springs or la quinta. but when i look at these days, i don’t see myself playing to be honest. i see myself sitting in the car for 7 hours every day, driving on route 66. which is nice, yes, but playing a round of golf on PGA west or another arnold palmer course… that’d be different and for me as well unforgettable like the grand canyon.

so future will tell whether my situation improves or not. yesterday i started to think about buying a new set of clubs on the internet. but what for…

List of best public golf courses in California

I just found this list on and am quite impressed, because I really know some of these courses. What feeling would that be to play famous Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Spyglass or Pelican Hill?! That would truly be an amazing experience (for such crazy golfer like me)!!

In 3 months time I’ll have a 3 week vacation in California and hopefully will find the time to play one or another course. Which one would you choose?

1. Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach
2. Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach
3. Pasatiempo, Santa Cruz
4. Torrey Pines (South), La Jolla
5. Trump National Los Angeles, Rancho Palos Verdes
6. PGA West (Stadium), La Quinta
7. Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach
8. CordeValle, San Martin
9. La Quinta (Mountain), La Quinta
10. Rustic Canyon, Moorpark
11. Pelican Hill (Ocean South), Newport Coast
12. Saddle Creek, Copperopolis
13. Indian Wells (Players), Indian Wells
14. Desert Willow (Firecliff), Palm Desert
15. Harding Park, San Francisco
16. Indian Wells (Celebrity), Indian Wells
17. Barona Creek, Lakeside
18. DarkHorse, Auburn
19. Pelican Hill (Ocean North), Newport Coast
20. Oak Quarry, Riverside
21. Aviara, Carlsbad
22. Poppy Hills, Pebble Beach
23. Old Greenwood, Truckee
24. Whitehawk Ranch, Clio
25. Coyote Moon, Truckee
26. Maderas, Poway
27. Marriott Shadow Ridge, Palm Desert
28. Bayonet Black Horse (Bayonet), Seaside
29. La Costa (South), Carlsbad
30. Lost Canyons (Sky), Simi Valley

 …puhh. ALL of them! :)

golf trips plan for 2012

now living in london, i thought golf would become more and more routine in my daily (or at least weekly) life, but when i look out of the window… i see snow. not much, but quite a bit. interestingly enough, because my english friends tell me that they had much snow last year and usually they wait for another 3 or 4 years for the next appearance.

anyways, it’s cold outside, my clubs are still in germany and i desperately want to be on a course, hitting some white balls!

there’s a saying: if the mountain won’t come to muhammad, muhammad must go to the mountain. therefore i’m currently in the process of planning some nice trips to play some awesome golf in the course of this year. thinking and writing about golf is not the same like playing, but i feel a positive thrill of anticipation! who wouldn’t?!

the first vacation of the year is scheduled and booked. we will travel to the south-west of the united states for a 3-week round trip and i’m very much looking forward to that. i’ve been to san francisco once, but making the way over the famous highways between los angeles, san francisco, las vegas and all the national parks in nevada and arizona must be so great. 3 weeks is a long time but there are a lot of miles to go. hence i don’t expect more than 2 rounds to play. maybe one in las vegas and another one somewhere at highway no 1 near pebble beach in the monterey bay area. that would be perfect. we’ll see. i keep you posted!

second trip i plan, and that is only penciled in, is a 10- to 14-day trip to portugal; to the southern golf eldorado ‘algarve’ at the atlantic coast to be precise. just like the turkish belek, the algarve offers a lot of nice courses (some are europe’s top courses) and a bunch of high-class golf resorts. one of them for instance is the ‘oceanico resort’ near albufeira. they offer a bunch of beautiful courses built by famous players like arnold palmer and nick faldo, just to name these both. and if you imagine such stunning golf scenery right at the atlantic coast, beautiful weather, viewed from the sun terrace of a 5-star luxury  hotel, spending the time with my girlfriend… then you know i’m in heaven!

ahhh, i must at least be dreaming already!