Cypress Point Golf Outing -- August 23, 2005                                                            Home

As a teenager, I played golf often -- first as a caddy, then at the University of Illinois. Was pretty good. During one summer at HBS, I worked with a fellow Research Assistant who was an NCAA champion, captain of the golf team at Purdue, played in the U.S. Open, etc. We went out once, and I decided I'd never be like that and gave up golf. My next game was 20+ years later in Las Vegas (1993) with some U of I buddies. Erratic, but smoked enough drives to scare them.

Recently some friends who are golfers found out that my girlfriend's Dad was a member of the Cypress Point Club. Rated the #2 course in the world and hard to get onto. So, after being nudged a few times, I arranged a Cypress outing with three buddies. This was only my second game in nearly 35 years. No one to play with, so no practice rounds, just the driving range.

Two of the buddies said I should take lessons. Third said don't -- it will just screw you up. He was correct. At the Presidio driving range here in SF, a Stanford pro told me my swing was too vertical. So a week before Cypress, I hit several buckets a day for a few days with the new swing and ended up spraining my chest muscles. On the big day, I felt like a horse had kicked my ribs on both sides.

So at Cypress I used a 6 iron for drives and when more than 160 yards from the hole. Shorter club -- less strain (a modern 6 is pitched like a 5 from my early days -- my old favorite, along with a 7 which is now called an 8). The caddy kept saying: "Which club? How about the 6 iron!" A wise guy. Enough whining. Here is the most famous par 3 hole in the world -- the 16th at Cypress Point -- a 220 yard carry over the Pacific. You have to clear that stone wall.

The photo above was taken with a telephoto lens. In real life, the green looks a lot further away than that. See below. Here is your webmaster on his down stroke at the 16th. Wind was heavy left-to-right. Being a once in a lifetime opportunity, I used a spoon rather than the 6 iron. First ball almost far enough, but into the drink to the right. Second straight but into the stone wall. Then I shot left through the work-around using my trusty 6 iron (35 years ago I could have hit this green).

Here are the buddies on the 16th tee. George put his drive on the green! Then three-putted.

The 15th hole is also over water (an inlet), but shorter than the 16th. Though not as famous as the 16th, it is considered one of the prettiest holes in the world (golf holes that is).
Here's me and the trusty 6 iron. The 15th green is to the left, and the 16th green is in the distant top right. Where's my ball? Somewhere in the abyss behind me. But I was having a good time! The next day, the 6 iron and I actually won a par 4 hole.