Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #58

In case you haven’t checked out my last golf blog, I began a countdown of my favorite golf courses. These are all links in the U.S. because I haven’t ventured outside the country to play golf.

#10 was TPC Scottsdale. At #9 it’s the King and Bear course in quaint St. Augustine, Florida. #8 in Miami Beach is the Blue Monster at Doral Country Club where I shot 79 when I was 15, left my nine iron on the 18th hole and they mailed it back to me. #7 the beautiful PGA National at Palm Beach Gardens, home of the bear trap. And #6 the very playable and majestic Grand National at Auburn-Opilika, Alabama on the Robert Trent Jones Trail. That takes us up to #5.

When you think of Disney World you probably don’t first think of golf, but when I played there with the family in 1974 I was really impressed how clean and manicured their palm course was, especially the fairways… Just like a smooth carpet.

My 4th favorite course is Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The first 9 is easier in the Basin. The second 9 is more mountainous and more difficult. Hit it straight and putt and you can make some birdies.

At #3 is the Pinehurst Resort. I’ve been lucky enough to have played there twice but never teed it up on the famous #2 tour course where Payne Stewart won the 1999 U.S. Open. Maybe someday?

My second favorite course is also the second most scenic of all the courses I’ve ever played. You may not have heard of it. It’s the Golden Horseshoe in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Talk about target golf. I believe without looking it up, that it was designed either by Pete Dye or Robert Trent Jones. The par three holes are amazing with water fronting the green on most of them. There are lots of elevation changes too. Just a beautiful layout.

#1 should be no surprise. Jack Nicklaus said if he had one course to play the rest of his life it would be Pebble Beach. Even if the fairways were burned out and the greens were shaggy, the history and the ocean views would still make it #1. And the 18th lives up to its hype. It’s not extremely difficult. I had two birdies but still shot 92 with two balls in the ocean on 18.

When we played Pebble Beach in 1990 it cost $175. We called for a tee time a month ahead and they were booked up so they were going to put us on spyglass, but they said to call the day before in case there was a cancellation. I remember my dad calling from a phone booth at Lake Tahoe and sure enough they had a 10:30 tee time the next day, so we immediately cancelled spyglass and grabbed it.

After waiting for the fog to lift we went off at 10:50. I was shaking so bad on the first tee I could barely breathe, but I hit a 3-wood out there about 200 and managed a bogie. I was hoping my dad wouldn’t top his ball, but he got it airborne too and also made five. It was an experience we’ll never forget. I think the price is around $450 now, but if you love golf put Pebble on your bucket list. It’s worth every penny.

Hit ’em straight!

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