"The finest meeting place of land and water in existence"—so wrote Robert Louis Stevenson, that well-traveled man, after his first visit to the Monterey Peninsula, a hilly, heavily forested jut of land which thrusts itself bodily into the Pacific Ocean 125 miles south of San Francisco. At the time of Stevenson's visit, the peninsula had not yet been invaded by golf. Today it is the home of no less than five courses. Three of these—the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Cypress Point and Pebble Beach—form the dramatic battleground of the Crosby Invitational Tournament, that annual high point on the winter circuit which this year takes place the weekend of January 13-15. "The Crosby," as it is popularly called, is unique among tournaments in that the contestants play a total of 54 holes, one round over each of the three courses. There is some wonderful trouble in this golfer's paradise, as the photograph at the right perhaps intimates: a contestant in the 1955 Crosby struggles with a recovery from the rocky beach on the 16th at Cypress Point.
The West Coast's premier golf event, the Crosby, annually draws thousands of spectators, a goodly number from San Francisco (125 miles to the north) and more than a sprinkling from Los Angeles (350 miles to the south). Some are lured by the prospect of viewing celebrities like Hope and Crosby up close, but for the majority the big thing is the great golf the pros play on the peninsula's great courses
Cypress point, along with its other magnificent natural features, contains the most overwhelming stretch of dune land west of Scotland. Below, a foursome putts out on the ninth hole, a short par 4 hemmed in on all sides by sand, sand and more sand.
Favorite of photographer and bane of golfer, the picturesque 7th green at Pebble Beach—only 110 wind-whipped yards from the elevated tee—is all but engulfed by sand traps and surrounded on two sides by the booming waters of Carmel Bay.
January 16, 1956
Topcoated against the customary "unusual" January chill, Crosby spectators encircle a green on the in nine at Pebble Beach, where eight of the 18 holes skirt the rugged, cliff-lined bay.
World's most spectacular par 3, the 16th at Cypress Point, a ruiner, requires that the golfer carry a forbidding inlet of the Pacific to reach safety and the apron of the green over 200 yards away. In the 1954 Crosby, Porky Oliver took a 16 here. Crosby, a sound golfer, is one of that select group who has done it in one. Timorous golfers can play an alternate route to the left.