A Fairway To Heaven For Singles & Partying PubClubbers
When it comes to sporting events, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is as attractive as its golf course. Or, more accurately, courses.
It is the lovely lady that glitters like gold in sunshine. As beautiful as a birdie on 18. And as welcoming as an original Shelby at an historic car auction.
Held among the central California coastal towns of Carmel and Monterey the AT&T Pebble Beach as it is commonly referred to in the golf community, is a four-day tournament featuring PGA professionals playing with well-heeled amateurs, some of whom are Hollywood heavyweights. The tournament is annually held the first weekend in February.
The Field – PGA Pros & Celebrities
This field traditionally includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson (and his smokin’ hot wife, Wayne Gretzky’s daughter), Phil Michelson and Bubba Watson, tho not Tiger Woods.
Bill Murray is scheduled to play (again).
Other celebrities include Gretzky, Justin Timberlake, Peyton Manning, Mark Walberg and Josh Dumamel.
The weather will be in the mild mid-60s in the daytime with temperatures dropping into the 40s at night. It will be sunny, so it will look great not just on TV, but in person, as well.
The tournament is played not on one course, but three – Spyglass Hill, Poppy Hills and the most famous of them all, Pebble Beach Golf Links. The latter is as stunning as any course anywhere in the world, pressed against the central California coast.
The 18th hole, in particular, may be as spectacular as any in golf, where errant tee shots can wind up on the beach. Or in the Pacific.
Certainly, plenty of people go for the golf, the scenery and the celebrity sightings (and autograph signings). But for the many single social seekers in the area, it’s a “fore-gone” conclusion this is the place for them to be each year in the middle of February,
For the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is one of the best party scenes on the PGA Tour, falling in line behind the Waste Management Phoenix Open (such extreme wildness is simply not proper at Pebble Beach) and on par with the Buick Invitational in Torrey Pines, CA; the Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas and the Verizon Heritage in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
During the day, there’s the course and the event itself. The very nature of a golf tournament invites casual cocktailing and Pebble Beach nails this like a John Daly drive. Refreshment stands serving food and beverages are plentiful and, as noted above, the setting is spectacular. Some houses along the way hold parties.
The 15th is especially ripe for such activity and even fans who are not invited to the patio can certainly soak in the scenery.
Locals simply refer to it “the Pro-Am” and they come from all over the Bay Area to play the field – from Monterey, Seaside and Santa Cruz, plus San Francisco, San Jose and Los Gatos. Even a few folks come in from Los Angeles and other California locations.
To them the 18th isn’t “the greatest finishing hole in golf,” it’s the fairway to heaven.
Because of the amateurs in the field, this is one of the “looser” events on Tour with course officials far less intense than at most tournaments. There’s also some distance between the fairways so conversations don’t always have to be held to a whisper. Spending time on this course is hardly a good walk spoiled.
Where To Party – The Bars At The Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Yet it is the clubhouse that is the real attraction for the party-seeking set. There’s two places, the Tap Room and a large lounge area next to the Stillwater Bar and Grill, which serves as the prime place.
Stillwater has large windows that look out over the 18th green – and the ocean – but most patrons are looking around or talking to other patrons. (Hearty souls brave the often cool weather and take up position on the patio.)
Spend five minutes here and it’s quite obvious that not all of the swings at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am take place on the golf course. The lines are flowing like the liquor. some way off the mark, others lipping out and a few destined to find the bottom of the cup.
Some people wind up in the rough, others land in the middle of the fairway. But, like the game of golf itself, there’s always the potential for making that one good shot that brings people back here time and time again.
Regardless of their score(s), most people don’t make the cut, preferring to party Friday and Saturday but not Sunday.
Across the hallway is the Tap Room. This is primarily a sit-down restaurant and there’s often a line at its front entrance. By 10, however, the bar is bustling to midnight.
This area is open to the public, so the $50 GA ticket provides access to the clubhouse.And don’t think the golfers and celebrities are as rare as a hole-in-one on 17; they love to mix it up, too. It must be pointed out that while the Pro-Am is fun, it’s not an over-the-edge event, but one to be savored like a fine Monterey County wine.
Partying at the Pro-Am is no cheap thrill. Beers are $11 for drafts, $7 for bottles (at the Tap Room, the draughts are at least larger), and $9-12 for cocktails. Food is available (and recommended) and sandwiches and burgers are $18. At Stillwater, bars are set up at either end of the room and patrons receive frequent visits by waiters and waitresses.
And those servers are often more friendly than some of the patrons. In fact, everyone working or volunteering at this tournament is as accommodating as a friendly foursome that allows you to play through.
They smile, are helpful and go out of their way to make everyone feel like the club champion. It’s the most impressive part of the tournament and makes the event as inspiring as a birdie rolling into the cup at 18.
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