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More Confessions of a Weekend Golfer: "The Shotmaker" Hits Las Vegas and the Monterey Peninsula

Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
The Blues Brothers, Jan/Feb 2008

(continued from page 1)

Six

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Cypress Point

Nov. 14

93

Four

Nine

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The match at Cascata, just on the outskirts of Las Vegas, was beyond amazing. The "amateur" I played with, Ed Brown, shot an unbelievable 3-under par—69—and he hadn't played in several months. I counted; he had five birdies and an eagle. Needless to say, he cleaned my clock! The worst part was I thought I had him on the very difficult par-5, 514-yard, 18th hole over water. I had a great drive and second wood shot that put me 90 yards from the green. I chipped over the water with a 9-iron (playing it safe) and landed on the green in three, 15 feet from the pin. And I got a stroke! My hole, right? Wrong.

Ed went for a long 300-yard drive over a mountain range to take a shortcut to the green. His shot went well right of his line. In bad trouble—we thought. We walked off the tee, headed toward the dogleg left and the part of the fairway we couldn't see from the green. And there is was his ball dead center of the fairway, 250 yards from the green, with a final carry over an 80-yard-wide pond. He drilled his 3-wood and the ball settled softly onto the far right edge of the green 95 feet from the pin. There in two!

I was asking myself, could he putt this one within 6—8 feet? The green was very fast. I told him I would tend the flag as I wanted to watch this important putt. He lined up his putt and his caddie told him the line was six inches left to right. He adjusted his line. He putted. The ball traveled forever—and dropped dead center in the cup. I couldn't believe it. An eagle. I walked off the distance of his putt, 32 paces. Roughly 95 feet. I was devastated. I went to putt my crappy 15-footer and missed slightly left. I was in pain. I parred the hole for a net four, and lost the hole to an eagle off a bad tee shot. Where was the justice in this game? Not at Cascata, that was for sure.

At the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links with my good buddy Richard Cohen. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

At Spyglass Hill, I played with my good golf buddy Richard Cohen, who recently moved to the Carmel area. There I accomplished a feat that I don't remember ever doing before. I parred all four par 3s. None were very long, but they were all tricky and challenging.

As we were teeing off on the back nine at Spyglass, a short, elderly gentleman came up to me and asked if he and his friend could join us. Reluctantly, I smiled and said, "Sure, why not." I tend to get a little nervous when I have to play with strangers. And sometimes it can be very intimidating. So this short, 66-year-old "senior" whacked the ball 240 yards down the center followed by an iron shot that landed six feet from the flag, right side, pin high. He tapped it in for a birdie, as did his friend, Steve. What was going on? I asked myself.

"Where are you from?" I asked. He mentioned a few different locations. "What are you doing here? Vacation?" No, he replied, "I'm playing in the Callaway Tournament which begins tomorrow at Pebble Beach." "What do you do for a living?" I asked next. "Play golf," he smiled back.

The Shotmaker was joined by Champions Tour pro Jim Colbert at Spyglass. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

"What is your name?" "Jim Colbert." "The Jim Colbert?" I asked. "Yep," he smiled back. Just what I needed…playing with a legend at Spyglass. What a great guy! We laughed and trash-talked on every hole. He was incredibly gracious…as well as a great golfer.

When we shook hands after the 18th green, I felt pretty stupid. I hardly welcomed him when he asked to join. I apologized for my lack of class and asked his forgiveness. He smiled and told me he had a great time. Me too!

Lastly, I was playing Cypress Point and it was a real thrill. I was told no names, no pictures. But what a great course! I now understand why it is ranked No. 4 behind only Pine Valley, Augusta National and Shinnecock. And the last four holes over water are to die for. I couldn't believe the par-3 16th over this huge water canyon with a narrow landing apron. Breathtaking sight. World-class course. I can't say much more. I'm not sure if I already said too much and won't get asked back. But I REALLY loved it.

All in all, The Shotmaker's week of golf in Las Vegas and the Pebble Beach area in mid-November was not so bad. Until next time…


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