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September 03, 1956
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September 03, 1956

A Round Of Golf With The President

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The Golfer who has not played Cypress Point is like the lawyer who has never appeared before the Supreme Court. President Eisenhower's visit to Cypress Point was his first, and to northern California's pride and relief, Friday, Aug. 24 turned out a clear and lovely day. Glorious sunshine. A mere suggestion of a breeze. The Pacific Ocean bluer than blue.

When Ike rode his electric caddy cart off the first tee, he wore a face of exhilarated contentment. He looked like a presidential version of Gordon MacRae astride his horse, singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning through the tall corn in the opening scenes of Oklahoma! Or like a man who had just re-won the Republican nomination.

Ike had pulled on a tan sweater, perched a tan cap on his head, and had appeared at 9:30 for a 10 o'clock date. He said, feelingly: "It's really a good day for it." He was introduced to his caddy, Frank (Turk) Archdeacon, 46, a husky veteran who has been caddying at Cypress Point since he was a shaver of 9. Turk's speech was short and full of honest feeling, too: "It's a pleasure, Mr. President." Said Ike: "Why that's fine."

At the practice tee he scuffed a few at first but soon began to whack them over Turk's head. After about 40 or 50 shots he seemed satisfied. Next came putting practice. Ike put down three balls and measured a 20-foot putt. Then he sank all three, just like that. "I should quit right now," he laughed. He was using a set of Spalding irons and his Bobby Jones woods with the 5-star-general insignia on the heads. The balls he chose were Ben Hogans.

Ike's playing partners were Harry Hunt, president of the Cypress Point Club and a retired California rancher; Sam F. B. Morse, a onetime Yale football star who developed Pebble Beach as a resort; and John McCone, a Los Angeles businessman who used to be undersecretary of the Air Force.

Morse and McCone won the toss and teed off. They were partnered against Hunt and Eisenhower, in a dollar-dollar-dollar Nassau bet. Eisenhower and Hunt lost the match because Morse got hot on the back nine with three pars in a row. Eisenhower and Hunt called for a press bet on the 18th for a dollar, which was halved.

Everybody in the foursome was picking up, so there was no actual score. Ike picked up once, on the eighth hole. Conceding him a six or a seven there, his score was 90 or 91.

Cypress is not a long course requiring great power and stamina. Rather it was designed as the most demanding test that a middle-aged golfer—a man entering the age where he must begin to substitute guile for strength—could fairly be expected to pass. Carpeting the cypress-strewn sand dunes of the Monterey peninsula and edging tentatively into the thick pine forests reaching almost to the edge of the Pacific, the course offers high rewards for the golfer of intelligence and accuracy and heavy penalties for the golfer who is careless and erratic.

There is sand, sand and more sand on either side of the fairways. These are not just sand traps as the average golfer knows them. They are seemingly endless bunkers where even the pros can spend three or four agonizing shots trying to get back to safety after an errant slice or hook.

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