Throughout the week, we have been filing reports from inside the tour vans and around the practice green at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, with more to come in the days ahead.
Postcard from Pebble Beach
In the meantime, PutterZone.com editor Sean Weir takes a break from the equipment today to file the following postcard for a broader taste of what life is like at the tournament—and why you might want to plan your own visit in the future:
“If you’ve never been to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, try to find a way. There’s just nothing like watching some of the world’s best golfers tee off against the jaw-dropping coastal backdrop of Carmel and Pebble Beach.
Pebble Beach is classy but not stuffy, and the atmosphere is fairly casual and relaxed. And what might really surprise some is the access that the average spectator enjoys at the tournament, particularly on the peripheral venues such as the driving range and practice green.
Indeed, the spectator seating at the driving range is fairly close to the action, affording you a magnificent opportunity to watch world-class ballstriking up close. When you are walking the course and following the competition, it can be difficult to to get a perfect vantage, and even then you only get to see a few shots before you have to wait or walk again. But on the driving range, you can position yourself right behind a player and watch him hit ball after ball toward a distant flank of Monterey pines.
Down the hill you will find the practice green tucked between The Lodge at Pebble Beach and a concourse of shops where you can load up on gear and memorabilia. A short walk away is the Pebble Beach Market, where you can cobble together a nice and relatively affordable lunch on the run.
Around the green, you might find yourself a few feet away from your favorite touring professional (or celebrity), and watching them rolling the rock up close can be quite fascinating and instructive.
It was a kick to see Chris Berman, Nick Faldo, Jim Nantz, Jerry Rice and other celebrities on and around the practice green. Personally, however, I was more interested in the equipment. Indeed, the practice green is a putter geek’s dream, with numerous companies setting up their latest sticks and prototypes right next to the spectator barrier.
The tournament gets increasingly crowded as the week goes on, and reaches a crescendo by the weekend. Personally, I prefer to go on a weekday, and even during a practice round, before the crowds have arrived. That’s what I did this year.
In years past, the tournament has been a bit of a rain magnet, but not this time. The sun was bright overhead and a brisk breeze blew off the sparking bay. All in all, it was a magical day. It was hard to leave, but my only consolation was that I knew I’d be back next year.”