A Love Letter to Pebble Beach

Romantic? Pebble Beach's seaside seventh hole inspired a wedding.

Romantic? Pebble Beach’s seaside seventh hole inspired a wedding.

The words “romance” and “golf” may not typically roll off the tongue together, as many weekend “golf widows” (are there really “golf widowers?”) might tell you, but the PGA Tour’s venue this Valentine’s weekend proves the two pursuits can not only cohabitate, but thrive, together! Pebble Beach Resorts, along Northern California’s Pacific Coast, hosts the world’s best professional golfers over five days in what began as crooner Bing Crosby’s “Clambake:” a tournament and party for his celebrity pals. Crosby is long gone, but the beautiful holes along Stillwater Cove, and the beautiful people, including, this year, the University of Michigan’s football coach Jim Harbaugh, remain.

“Seeing that gorgeous course on television was love at first sight, for me,” says Jason Guss, now a golf professional at Hawk Hollow Golf Course in Bath. “I grew up on a municipal course so knowing Pebble Beach was open to the public gave me the incentive to know that I could, one day, play there.”

Which he did.

“Worth every penny,” he insists.

Michael Kernicki, past president of the Michigan PGA, agrees.

“Sit there by the fire pit at the bench overlooking the 18th green and the ocean, with your arm around your favorite girl and a drink in your other hand, and I’d call that ‘love.’”

That drink, in any romantic story, would be champagne, plenty of which will be poured and tasted March 31 through April 3 during the annual Pebble Beach Food + Wine Festival. And if the viticulture on the itinerary is any indication, much of it could be rose champagne. Seminars will include “Rose Colored Glasses: the World of Pink Wines;” “Tete du Cuvee – Exploring Rose;” and “Big Bottle Bubbles,” where champagne houses Ruinart, Taittinger, and Veuve will among those pouring.

My first exposure to rose champagne was at the resort’s Beach Club, where pink Dom Perignon was paired and poured during the event’s closing dinner.

“No style of champagne shouts ‘romance,’ or is better suited to celebrate Valentine’s Day, than rose,” says travel writer, golfer and husband Larry Olmsted. Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial, for example, is offered in an insulated chiller sleeve for picnics or, shall we say, breakfast in bed. “Rose is richer and tastier and pairs better with foods. It’s been pigeonholed into a ‘brunch drink’ because it goes well with eggs, but chefs tell me its’ very good with truffle fries and even fried chicken.”

Fly to San Jose or San Francisco and drive over to the resort which offers multiple on-site hotel options at The Inn at Spanish Bay; The Lodge at Pebble Beach or Casa Palmero. “Casa Palmero is the most romantic lodging experience at PebbleBeach,” says Olmsted, who has visited Pebble frequently. “It’s a lavishly landscaped Mediterranean-style estate with 24 rooms featuring wood-burning fireplaces, soaking tubs and luxurious beds.”

Emmy Award-winning TV sportscaster Jim Nantz, who lives at Pebble Beach and will call the action for CBS this weekend, blended golf and romance in a truly ultimate fashion when he and his wife Courtney married on the scenic, seaside 7th green in 2012 and, in tribute to the wedding, built a replica of the famed hole in his backyard…presumably for all those coming vow renewals!

Michael Patrick Shiels may be contacted at InviteYourself@aol.com or via TravelTattler.com His talk show can be heard weekday mornings in Lansing on 92.1 FM.

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