WITH IKE AT PEBBLE BEACH
The Golfer who has not played Cypress Point is like the lawyer who has never appeared before the Supreme Court. President Eisenhower's visit to Cypress Point was his first, and to northern California's pride and relief, Friday, Aug. 24 turned out a clear and lovely day. Glorious sunshine. A mere suggestion of a breeze. The Pacific Ocean bluer than blue.
When Ike rode his electric caddy cart off the first tee, he wore a face of exhilarated contentment. He looked like a presidential version of Gordon MacRae astride his horse, singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning through the tall corn in the opening scenes of Oklahoma! Or like a man who had just re-won the Republican nomination.
Ike had pulled on a tan sweater, perched a tan cap on his head, and had appeared at 9:30 for a 10 o'clock date. He said, feelingly: "It's really a good day for it." He was introduced to his caddy, Frank (Turk) Archdeacon, 46, a husky veteran who has been caddying at Cypress Point since he was a shaver of 9. Turk's speech was short and full of honest feeling, too: "It's a pleasure, Mr. President." Said Ike: "Why that's fine."
September 2, 1956
At the practice tee he scuffed a few at first but soon began to whack them over Turk's head. After about 40 or 50 shots he seemed satisfied. Next came putting practice. Ike put down three balls and measured a 20-foot putt. Then he sank all three, just like that. "I should quit right now," he laughed. He was using a set of Spalding irons and his Bobby Jones woods with the 5-star-general insignia on the heads. The balls he chose were Ben Hogans.
Ike's playing partners were Harry Hunt, president of the Cypress Point Club and a retired California rancher; Sam F. B. Morse, a onetime Yale football star who developed Pebble Beach as a resort; and John McCone, a Los Angeles businessman who used to be undersecretary of the Air Force.
Morse and McCone won the toss and teed off. They were partnered against Hunt and Eisenhower, in a dollar-dollar-dollar Nassau bet. Eisenhower and Hunt lost the match because Morse got hot on the back nine with three pars in a row. Eisenhower and Hunt called for a press bet on the 18th for a dollar, which was halved.
Everybody in the foursome was picking up, so there was no actual score. Ike picked up once, on the eighth hole. Conceding him a six or a seven there, his score was 90 or 91.
Cypress is not a long course requiring great power and stamina. Rather it was designed as the most demanding test that a middle-aged golfer—a man entering the age where he must begin to substitute guile for strength—could fairly be expected to pass. Carpeting the cypress-strewn sand dunes of the Monterey peninsula and edging tentatively into the thick pine forests reaching almost to the edge of the Pacific, the course offers high rewards for the golfer of intelligence and accuracy and heavy penalties for the golfer who is careless and erratic.
There is sand, sand and more sand on either side of the fairways. These are not just sand traps as the average golfer knows them. They are seemingly endless bunkers where even the pros can spend three or four agonizing shots trying to get back to safety after an errant slice or hook.
But the sand is not all, by any means. There is the brisk wind that comes up around noontime and blows viciously in from the Pacific bearing haze and mist from the sea. There are the steep hills and the deep rocky ravines. There are the cruelly undulating greens. There is the knee-deep grass and the thick pine forests (from which the deer frequently emerge to graze) bordering the fairways on the early holes. Trouble and more trouble reaches out to grasp the golfer without letup throughout the entire 18 holes. But the man who conquers Cypress returns to the clubhouse feeling he is indeed a golfer of considerable merit.
Which is to say that Ike's very respectable 90 or 91 the first time he ever saw the course (to say nothing of the fact it was the first full round of golf he had played in three months) must have left him with a glow of triumph.
Indeed, he enjoyed himself so much that he went out again the next day and the next for 36 more holes. For a hole-by-hole account, in words and pictures, of Ike's return to the game, see the next five pages.
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF.
First hole 418 yards
Ike was told to hit his drive to the left of the gnarled, runt-sized cypress tree. His drive, into a slight wind, was the best of the foursome, about 215 yards down the sloping fairway. He beamed over the compliments from a dozen bystanders. "Is that the right spot?" he asked, knowing full well it was. His caddy said it was perfect.
The foursome set out, with Hunt and Eisenhower in Ike's electric cart, the others walking. Two Secret Service men walked ahead of the golfers, always a hole ahead. Four other Secret Service men accompanied the players.
Ike's second shot, a three-wood, was short to the right. He had a pitch to the green, about 40 yards. He was told it was longer than it looked and, after pitching short, barely reaching the slanting green, he shook his head and admitted, "I misjudged the distance." His putt sailed three feet past, and on the return which looks like a downhill putt but is actually uphill he was short. Three putts. He took a double bogey 6.
Second hole 532 yards
Ike hit a fair drive, then a four-wood from a hardpan lie, then smothered a three-wood to the left of the green, chipped on, was down in two for a bogey 6.
After sinking his putt Ike was told this was the only hole on the course with an out-of-bounds penalty—which he had just barely missed with his drive. "Well, I don't have to worry about that any more," he said. "That's one consolation."
It was on this hole also that Ike encountered his first peninsula deer strolling across the fairway. Someone shouted "Fore," and the three deer, experienced in the ways of Cypress golfers, hightailed it for the forest.
Third Hole 156 yards
It was at this tee that Ike said, "Let's get some new faces on the tee. How about letting them sit on the bench for a while?" In other words, Eisenhower and Hunt still had to take the honor from the McCone-Morse team.
Turk Archdeacon, Ike's veteran caddy, then suggested a four-iron for the tee shot, and Ike agreed. The ball struck the green two feet short of the pin, then bounced four feet past. It was almost a hole in one. He beamed as someone in the foursome said, "That was almost a champagne shot, Chief." Ike said, "Boy, I hit that one just the way I wanted to hit it."
Ike missed the four-foot putt. "I didn't stroke it," he berated himself as he walked to the next tee.
Fourth Hole 375 yards
After a fair drive, Ike had a downhill lie on the fairway for his second. He hit it farther than he expected, and it caught the trap on the right side of the green. Entering the trap with his wedge, Ike said with some foreboding: "This is my first experience in Monterey sand." Typical of a first-timer on this course, he dug too deeply, the ball catching the top of the bunker and rolling back. "I guess I have something to learn about this stuff," he said and then exploded his next shot 10 feet from the pin. He missed the putt, taking a 6.
Fifth hole 468 yards
Ike's third shot reached the apron of the green, and a six-iron pitch left him three feet from the cup. He sank it for a par 5.
Sixth Hole 503 yards
Here Ike had an uphill lie on his second and used a brassie. It was a terrific shot but just caught the trees and dropped into a fairway trap. "I'd better gamble here," said Ike and took a five-wood from the trap. It was a fine shot, landing 25 feet short of the green. He flubbed his pitch, just reaching the green. Two putts for a bogey 6.
Seventh Hole 155 yards
Ike saw the yardage and reached for a three-iron. Turk shook him off, explaining the hole actually played like 170 yards, since the elevated green is somewhat higher than the tee. Ike took a four-wood but "spared" it a trifle, not believing the shot was that long. The ball was short and to the right. He then wedged a 30-yarder four feet past the cup but allowed too much break on the return putt, missing for a bogey 4.
Eighth Hole 321 yards
This is almost a 90° dogleg to the right with acres of sand dunes bordering the right side of the fairway from tee to green. In short, it is a sheer's nightmare.
"Where is it?" Ike asked, meaning the green. He was told not to cut off too much of the right side, but his ball sliced into the mountain of sand anyway. This time the caddy car could not follow, and Ike walked up the sand. He had a poor lie and hit it only 10 feet. Still in the sand, he had a better lie, but he hit it "fat" and the ball went 20 more feet into a big heelprint. His opponents were already in the vicinity of the green, so Ike said, "I've had it. Pick it up." He trudged over the sand to the green, the only hole he actually walked all day. At the green, Morse and Hunt, who know this hole as the terror of the uninitiated, smiled sympathetically but knowingly. "Have a little trouble?" asked Morse. "Not a little," said Ike, "but a lot." No score here, but Ike might have had a 6 or a 7 if he had played it out.
Ninth hole 295 yards
Sand traps everywhere on this hole. Ike hit a 215-yard drive right down the middle, then a three-quarter wedge 15 feet to right of the pin. He just missed his birdie.
10th hole 475 yards
Good drive, half-topped second and a smothered three-iron on his third left Ike in some loose dirt. He just carried the traps short of the green on his fourth, then pitched an eight-iron that almost dropped for a gimme. Bogey 6.
11th hole 436 yards
Good drive, but a sliced four-wood second shot. It was at this point Ike mentioned for the first time that his muscles were not toned up, that he could play better with more practice. Also he mentioned that this was his first full round since leaving the hospital in June. He said it like Joe Golfer, perhaps forgetting for a moment that his hospital visits were the most publicized in America. Ike, continuing this self-analysis, explained that because he needed "toning" he had a tendency to "punch" at the ball.
Continuing the 11th, he wedged to the left edge of the green, chipped up stony for a bogey 5.
12th hole 402 yards
Good drive, but had a bad, sidehill lie on his second. Ike couldn't reach the green, so on the advice of Turk he played a five-iron short. Still short of the green, after mis-hitting a wedge, he pitched stony again for a bogey 5.
13th hole 353 yards
After another good drive Ike pushed his second, a three-iron, into heavy rough. He wedged to the green and two-putted for a bogey 5.
14th hole 353 yards
Still another good drive, but his three-wood to the green landed 30 feet short. His chip was seven feet short, and he missed his putt. Bogey 5.
15th hole 125 yards
Ike hit a seven-iron off the high tee and across the rocky ravine, stopping 15 feet to right of pin. He putted below the cup and then knocked in a three-footer for a par 3.
16th Hole 222 yards
This is the spectacular par 3 which demands a 200-yard carry over the Pacific to reach the green. The President was reminded that Bing Crosby once scored a hole in one here. Most newcomers will try to reach the green, just for kicks, but the President gazed out to the flag and said: "What a great golf hole. This is one of-the prettiest I've ever seen—and it looks like the hardest." Then he elected to play a five-wood to the shorter carry on the left side. His next was a seven-iron about 10 feet over the pin, and his try for a par 3 just lipped the cup. Bogey 4.
17th hole 371 yards
Hundreds of sea lions on the rocks below the tee keep up an incessant barking. They amused Ike but also disturbed him. "It's hard to hit a shot and listen to those seals at the same time," he said.
He hit his drive well anyway, carrying across a piece of ocean and landing in front of a grove of cypress trees that clutter up the middle of the fairway. He tried a five-wood and hit it fat. The ball stayed up in a tree. The President hit a provisional ball to the left of the pin, then pitched stony from 25 yards for a double bogey 6 (that is, a natural par 4 with a two-stroke penalty for lost ball).
18th hole 334 yards
This is a tricky hole indeed. Lots of low cypress trees make it appear from the tee that there is no fairway at all. On the right side is a stand of pine trees.
"Where do we aim here?" asked Ike. He was told to aim for a certain cypress. "Keep it away from the right," said Hunt. "That's the Iron Curtain. You'll never get through that stuff." At the reference to Iron Curtain, the President did a double take and then laughed heartily. If there was any political reference or significance in this round, that was the closest to it.
Ike hit a perfect drive, and again he beamed. His next was a four-iron. He seemed surprised that the shot called for so much club, but a wind had come up and he was hitting into it. He landed on the green 20 feet short. McCone had a longer putt along the same line, and when McCone left himself short, Ike must have decided not to repeat the error. He jabbed firmly, and the ball ran seven feet past. He didn't take too much time on the next; there was a gallery of seven or eight around the green and Ike had been bantering with them. He missed for a bogey 5.
Par out: 453 455 344—37
Eisenhower: 663 656 4x4
Par in: 544 443 344—35
Eisenhower: 655 553 465—44
STARTING SECOND DAY S ROUND, IKE'S STIFF BACKSWING ON FIRST TEE SHOWS EFFECTS OF LONG LAYOFF. GENERALLY HIS DRIVES WERE GOING WELL, ALTHOUGH HE SKIED THIS ONE ONLY 150 YARDS DOWN THE FAIRWAY. THE PRESS WAS ALLOWED TO PHOTOGRAPH AND ACCOMPANY IKE
THE HAPPY FOURSOME DESCENDS FROM FIRST TEE TO THE FAIRWAY. THEY WERE (L TO R)NORMAN CHANDLER, PUBLISHER OF THE "LOS ANGELES TIMES" AND IKE'SPARTNER; BARRY LEITHEAD, PRESIDENT OF CLUETT PEABODY (ARROW SHIRTS); CHARLESJONES, PRESIDENT OF RICHFIELD OIL
SECOND SHOT, THREE-WOOD, STILL LEFT IKE WELL SHORT OF GREEN¬†
THIRD SHOT, A WEDGE, WAS SHANKED INTO ROUGH BEYOND GREEN
FOURTH SHOT WAS PITCH ACROSS GREEN. IKE CHIPPED BACK FOR SIX
AFTER FIRST HOLE IKE WAS CHAUFFEURED BY SECRET SERVICE MAN