I think most golfers have a bucket list. Being an old codger, it was a wish list in my day, but it’s the same thing.
Many moons ago I made out my bucket list. I wanted to play St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf (or at least regarded as such). I wanted to play Pebble Beach just because I was awed by its beauty. And lastly, should the golf gods see fit, I wanted to get a hole in one.
I thought that if these three things were to happen I would be a happy camper and stroll quietly off into the sunset. Well, these three things did happen, I am a happy camper strolling quietly off into the sunset and I’d like to tell you about them.
Years ago the Chief and I and 3 other couples decided to visit Scotland and Ireland in order to play St. Andrews and a few other courses. Of course you have to book tee times many months in advance. The appointed morning was what you would expect: grey, cloudy, windy and drizzly. Power carts are not an option, so we decided to get caddies for the ladies and the guys would take pull carts (little did we know what that would mean). The first hole is pretty straightforward, then I recall standing on the second tee having not a clue where to try to hit the drive. There are many holes like that where you have to ask the caddie, who would say “hit it left of the mound or, hit it over that bunker.” Then the wind began to howl-pull carts left unattended would march any which way on their own, bags were blown over and balls blown off tees (and greens). At almost any other place on earth you would say “I’m done, I’m outa here”, but, being St. Andrews and knowing this is a onetime deal you just add another layer and keep on chuggin’. Fond memories: huge double greens (my ball almost always on the wrong half), pot bunkers you could camp out in, the road hole and walking up 18. Don’t remember what I shot and didn’t care…..I played St. Andrews.
Several years ago a bunch of business cronies put a safari to Pebble Beach together. As this was on my bucket list, it was a no-brainer. I’m still captivated by the majesty of the Monterey Peninsula, 7 mile drive, etc. Interestingly, all one remembers are the ocean holes for they are truly breathtaking. Using ocean exposure as a criterion, there are 9 great holes and 9 inland average holes. My favorites are #7, a par 3 from an elevated tee straight out to the ocean, #8 a par 4 dogleg right along some almost cliffs, and 17 and 18. 18 in particular is so awesome and intimidating you just kind want to stand on the tee and soak it all in. A very special piece of real estate and a thrill for me to play. Incidentally, we stayed at Spanish Bay where we had cocktails on the deck and watched and listened to the bagpiper walk down 18 at sunset. If that don’t getcha, nothin’ will.
Hole(s) in one. I’ve always thought holes in one are a little mystical. I know many folks who play a lot of golf and are good golfers who have never had a hole in one. On the flip side, I know folks who play occasional golf, are not very good who have holes in one. Go figure. The Chief and I were playing the Mountain Course at Gold Canyon – this was before the lower 18 and all the houses and was one of our favorite courses. What I remember about the round was that I really butchered the 16th and was a little ticked, hit an 8 iron on the par 17th, watched it bounce twice and disappear! It was one of those blink twice deals to make sure that’s what I really saw. Needless to say, the Chief started screaming, the couple we were playing with were whooping and it was done.
We used to have a mini-tradition on Christmas morning. Our course is closed so the Chief and I would take our dog, our boys would take theirs, and we would walk nine holes. When we got to the 7th hole I didn’t have the right club so I reached into my sons bag, found my old 7 iron and knocked the ball into the hole-pretty nice Christmas present!
So there you have my bucket list. Thanks for taking a trip down memory lane with me. I hope your bucket list is as much fun and as special as mine has been.