Last week I had the privilege of working five days during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf Tournament, held at three courses (two public and one private) in Pebble Beach. Here's a shot of good old hole number 17 at Pebble before the start of play. Cameras were verboten during play so I snuck a shot while at my station as a driver for the Beach and Tennis Club. My thirteenth year at the wheel so they must not be paying attention to the complaints that I have gotten for my excellent if reckless driving habits. (If they give you a BMW why drive sanely?)
Had the chance to commune with Nick Faldo (commentator now not playing, but he has put his name on the Shadow Ridge course in Palm Desert). Huey Lewis, Josh Duhamel, and last but certainly not least, Bill (groundhog day) Murray.
It was a conversation with an executive of the company that stuck with me. Not to betray a confidence I will not mention his name or position.
We chatted about luxury hotel competition, the need for or lack of loyalty programs, and guest satisfaction. In a hotel where least expensive rooms at 700 dollars, it's most certainly not a bargain brand. Loyalty programs have never been considered there, even in previous ownership iterations. I asked what they were losing in not being part of the game. He said that the guests who might be staying as a result of a loyalty connection would not fill 1% of their rooms and suites. Full occupancy during these events is common, he said. As for guest satisfaction he mentioned that they survey guests as they are staying and after they leave and the remarks are overwhelmingly positive. Perhaps it's the guest to associate ratio, the three times per day room tidy, the view, the sea lions, who knows? But, he stressed that they try to anticipate guest needs, as much as they can. And that, he said, brings people back again and again,
By then we had been in the car for ten minutes and he was ready to go to the 18th and to check on a sky box. He'd been there longer than I had that day, but he would be there at the office until the last person left the course.
Certainly the scale is different between this hotel and a chain with 4500 properties, but there are lessons to be had I guess.
I leave it to all of you to decide if they apply.
Ehem!....................................Sir Nick Faldo.
Thanks for the piece and the pic. And, if I've understood the script correctly, welcome back.
I was lucky enough to go to the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach. It is an exceptional course in every sense; and in that year the Event was won by an exceptional guy - one Mr T Woods - by 13 strokes/shots.
The only comparison I can make is with the Turnberry Course in Scotland. The view out towards Ailsa Craig on a fine day is magnificent; on the bad day, you'd rather be elsewhere.
It is on every golfer's bucket list with the exception of playing Cypress Point, a club so exclusive that its membership is secret and secretive. A view unrivalled and an experience to be savored. Far more than a "good walk spoiled" as Twain said.
And Sir Nick commented, "you can call me Sir"
I can hear him saying that too!
A strange character: great golfer, but ever since, on the occasion of his first Open win at Muirfield (Edinburgh), he thanked the Worshipful Company of Edinburgh Golfers from "the heart of his bottom" and then proceeded to sing "My Way", a slightly edgy figure.
In passing, what's the connection with a small town in the furthest reaches of north-eastern Russia?
Or perhaps that is best left in the realms of speculation.
My son and I had the priveledge of playing Pebble Beach a couple of years back, what how on earth he shot 75 is beyond me (other than he is a really good golfer and could care less about the views) while I just enjoyed watching his round and the gorgeous views from each and every corner of the course. Needless to say my handicap went up after that round!
Seventy five is very impressive! Our daughter, now 33, was an excellent high school golfer and was a member of the Pebble Beach Junior Golf Association. As a present from the pro she got a round with him at Pebble, shooting par from the men's tees! Her 72 is on her scorecard attested to by him, and framed. It was the highlight of her golfing career, which then became a college golf career for four years. After graduation she took up Marathon running and the clubs are gathering dust in the basement.
WOW, that is a very cool gift from the pro and an even more impressive round.
My son was also on the high school team and for some reason decided he'd rather work than play competitive golf any more, so he has gone on to being an area director for a restaurant chain and only gets his clubs out to still whip up on ole Dad or play in charity events they sponsor.
anadyr, and IAHFLY,
You both should be very proud of your children's golf scores at PB. Never played there, but did the drive around (Was it 19 mile?).
Did want to share that I once got an autograph from Hale Irwin, and asked him about his "Famous Bounce" at PB. I can't remember the year or hole, but it was a famous shot, and is often shown on TV!
Yep, I was pretty lucky to see his round at Pebble, birdie on 2,3 and 8 with some wild shots thrown in along the way just for entertainment. We have both got to see the others "hole in one's" which is another great memory on the course with the kid.
17 Mile Drive and I think Hale Irwin bounced it off the rocks on 18, what a crazy once in a lifetime shot.
I will get to see Hale Irwin and the rest of the Champion Tour guys when they play here in The Woodlands first weekend in May, always a treat to see them. Last year they had a scramble following the last group on Saturday that featured Jack, Arnie, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Miller Barber, Don January and I know I'm leaving someone out. Boy did they pack the place with fans, sure glad I live across the street from the course.
I agree with Jerry. Those are both awesome scores to be proud of. I have played with 3 people that got hole in ones in my short and ugly golf season. The first was on our high school senior trip and we were at a par-3 course along the Columbiar River in Pasco, WA (probably very few of you even know where that is ) and the kid got a hole in one after bouncing it off the tree. The second one was at Eglin AFB, FL (more of you probably know where that is), and I was golfing with a group of Canadian military. The Canadian Major hit a hard worm-burner that went up above the green and caught a downhill roll that picked up speed and rolled right ontot the green and into the cup. The last one was a legitimate shot, at Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL, that when straight to the flag, actually hit the flag, and then just dropped down into the cup. OK, maybe that one's not totally legitimate either, but it was deserved. At this point, I was pretty sure I was golfing with a lot of very luck peoople. I have never come very close at all, myself (sigh), and my clubs now too gather dust. I think I will bring them back out this year!
Of course we know where Pasco, WA is, it's on the Columbia River!!
Great story, and ya gotta love the Major with all the luck. Guess that's how you get to be a Major.
I am fortunate that I can play golf year round so my clubs don't get dusty, they only get dirty when I am trying to divot my way to China. FORE
I managed one hole in one in Scottsdale on a par 4 hole, hitting what my daughter refers to as a "worm burner: that barely skimmed the fairway! We looked for a while and found the ball resting in the hole! So dumb luck is real, according to my family. but I have the certificate to prove it!
tryt -- small world...my second in command here got his first job in law enforcement at the Pasco P.D.
And of course I know where the other spots are that you referred to. I've played each several times. As you probably know Eglin actually has two courses...the eagle and the falcon.
That was so many years ago, I don't remember which one it was at Eglin. I only remember teeing off on a couple of holes where the ball would just fly straight out and drop down into the bottom of a valley. Then it would take me a couple of good hits to get all the way to the top of the other side up to the green. What a lot of exercise I got on that course.