It Happened in Monterey6th October 2022
Doctor Frank and Mrs. Pearl Slane
Doctor John and Mrs. Jean Gourlay
Jim (Big Bear) McMillan
Irish George Simmons
We set off from Glasgow airport on 24th April, heading for Heathrow and onwards to San Francisco. On arrival at Heathrow Pearl suggested that as it was a long flight into San Fran we might be the better of a session of Yoga, at which Pearl is a well know expedient. We entertained the public with a yoga lesson conducted in the departure hall at Heathrow!
It had been noticeable in Glasgow that Frank had no travel cover for his clubs and this became a worry at San Fran when his clubs descended the carousel in random amounts. Thankfully all were eventually retrieved, and we set of for immigration only to be met with BA staff who informed us that luggage for the Slane party and John Telfer had been unloaded in Heathrow due to weight problems but there would be no problem as the luggage would be delivered to our hotel the next day. We three were issued with $50 and toiletries to see us by. The luggage did arrive the next day as planned.
I should mention that on the way down to Heathrow Big Bear and Mike managed to chat up one of the cabin crew as to where we were headed so to keep us going a large bag of miniatures was donated by the cabin staff to the party. This bag would appear most nights in a variety of rooms in the hotel so we had ample nightcaps throughout the stay.
On arrival at San Fran we three had to fill up a variety of forms regarding the delayed luggage while the rest of the party waited beyond immigration.
While they waited George, Mike and Jim headed to a coffee kiosk where they ordered three coffees. The lady serving had problems with their Scottish/Irish accents and they were told that the three coffees were not free and would cost three good American dollar!!!!!
Anyway into hire cars and off to Monterey.
We had a big people carrier well driven by Mike. Well nearly well driven. Details later.
We were staying in a Hyatt Regency hotel next to the 18th tee on Old Del Monte. Half price on a B & B basis had been arranged by the management on Old Del Monte.
We arrived three days prior to the start of festivities and Messers Hill, McMillan, Simmons and Telfer made good use of the three extra days by playing at Black Horse, Bayonette and Rancho Canada golf courses. Rancho no longer exists and the other two have been redesigned.
Prior to the start of play we met a local “worthy” by the name of Tommy (Scotty) Wedderburn who became our unofficial guide and mentor throughout our stay. Tommy had emigrated from Clydebank to California and had been a caddie on the PGA tour for many years and was delighted to welcome us to the event (expletives deleted!)
The actual event started on the Monday with groups from England, Canada, West Indies all there celebrating their Centenary as well as Douglas Park. I think the other Scottishcourses that decided not to go were Shotts, Lochwinnoch and Western Gailes. Bad mistake!!!!
On the Monday our group were allocated a late start time on Pebble Beach and with the knowledge that we would not be able to complete the 18 holes in daylight all scores were calculated up to the 12th hole.
We did indeed score to the 12th but opted to play on to the 18th even although it was dark. We played by moonlight until we reached the 18th green which was floodlighted so did not present a problem. One of our 4ball managed a par 5. Guess who?
Each morning it was possible to have use of the practice areas or also to visit the various swing studios, or just relax at the pool. Most of the party made use of the facilities and especially Frank who went for a club fit at the Ping studio. He returned laughing that Ping had suggested he should get new irons but that he should go to Callaway to get them.
I should at this point mention that Frank could be heard laughing throughout the whole trip. Great fun!!!
Anyway Tuesday was Spyglass, Wednesday was Spanish Bay and Thursday was Old Del Monte. After each round we met in the “clubhouse” at Old Del Monte and each night entertainment was arranged. This took the form of Beer tasting, Wine tasting, Buffet of various foods. One of our American opponents had a restaurant in Monterey and another invited us to a BBQ at his house overlooking the beach. Which we were delighted to accept.
The Pro Staff led by Mark Brennerman at Old Del kept a massive score board going throughout the competition and on the Thursday night announced the pairings for the final round on the Friday at Old Del Monte.
Categories were Americans against the Rest of the World playing in single Scratch made up by the best 6 scores in each category, and the others making up teams playing Single Handicap, Two Balls and Mixed. Great organisation by the Pro Shop.
At the end of the round on Friday we feasted on the biggest BBQ ever seen west of the Mississippi and nearly everybody managed to win a prize courtesy of Mark Brennerman and his staff.
On the Thursday morning we were entertained by the great Johnny Miller.
Thursday was his 50th birthday and as an honorary member at Old Del he was there to celebrate with us. He appeared on the 1st fairway at Old Del accompanied with a cart carrying the biggest birthday cake I have ever seen.
He welcomed all the players and congratulated then for making the effort to attend, coming to celebrate the centenary of this and our own clubs.
He indicated that in his prime that he might have been, no, he was the greatest iron player of his generation. He complimented us on our ability to be able to hit every shot imaginable, unfortunately he also informed us that the problem arose in that we just did not know when it was going to happen, (first time I had heard the joke)
He then proceeded to hit about 30 balls with a 5 iron, indicated where each would go, and amazingly all went as instructed. He was the greatest iron player of his generation.
What a great 5 days of great golf and in great company.
In recognition of the celebrations the committee at DP commissioned a Quaich to be suitably engraved to be taken out and presented to Old Del Monte. The Quaich was presented to the Captain of Old Del by Pearl and was greatly appreciated by the members at Old Del, especially as we were the only club to make such a presentation apart from one of the English clubs who made a presentation of a photo of their car park and clubhouse in the background. Well done Douglas Park!!!!
Total cost of the golf was $250!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We set off home via San Fran where Mike wanted to visit his son Alistair and George was going home via Boston where he was going to visit his son James. On the freeway north to San Fran Mike managed to run out of gas so there we were at the side of the freeway trying to get assistance, no mobile phones in those days.
George managed to flag down a passing car and with a little encouragement managed to get the driver to take him to the airport. No money changed hands and I don`t think the reluctant driver understood a word Irish George said but somehow he managed to get his flight.
Great trip, so good that when I came home and told my dear wife how well it had gone she insisted that we should go back again the following April.
Which we did and with the help of Mark Brennerman who had taken over as Head Pro at Pebble Beach we again played Old Del Monte, Spyglass and Pebble, the highlights being another par 5 in daylight at the 18th and a birdie at the par 3, 7th
Just as an aside when we played the 7th we met a gentleman walking his dog who enquired where we were from and on admitting being Scottish he recounted that he had played the British Senior Amateur Championship at Glasgow Gailes the year before. Small world!
What a trip.