SI Vault
Paul Witteman
November 01, 1976
Pebble Beach and Firestone are but two of the golf courses that fill the dreams of duffers. But who can afford them? If you want to take a crack at Pebble, round-trip airfare from New York to the Coast runs $400. You have to hire a limousine to get down to the Monterey Peninsula in style. Then there are the hotels, meals, greens fees and the odd Nassau or two. I figure it comes to a minimum of $1,000. Probably more, counting the new irons, that nifty pink alpaca sweater and the matching alligator bag on sale at the pro shop.
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November 01, 1976

Out Of An Elevator In New York And Onto The First Tee At Pebble Beach

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We've made it to the 3rd when Sam graciously sends out to the local deli for refreshments. Sam's brother Jimmy, the greenskeeper, gives me a doughnut as I'm pondering my lie in a bunker. I card another nine and start thinking seriously of cold beer. "It's a little early for that, isn't it?" asks Jimmy. My expression tells him it is, in fact, a little late. Ten minutes later Jimmy catches us on the 6th fairway with a shopping bag full of beer. It is 11 a.m.

Things, as you can imagine, get worse. We get bumped off Pebble by a couple of guys from the Bronx wearing rubber boots, and Sam switches us to the back nine at Thunderbird. Through six holes I'm shooting 40, and my friend is up by four strokes. Sam recommends lessons, my friend recommends tennis. I've got something better in mind. Home to some boilermakers and the telephone. Got to give Bing Crosby a telephone call. It was, I'll tell him, the next best thing to being there myself.

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