My favourite course? It's a tough call between Pebble Beach and Cypress Point. I was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula – my father was a high school principal there ¬– and I spent a great deal of my childhood on both those courses and both are supremely special places. I've always said that if Pebble was the private club and Cypress was the public course then Pebble would come out on top. But because it can take six hours to get round and it's marshals running around the course trying to control the pace of play it's not quite the same atmosphere. Cypress is old money and, unlike Pebble, doesn't have any cart paths. For me, a truly great golfing experience means no cart paths, cool season grasses and a sandy site. Cypress ticks all the boxes and more. Pebble is still wonderful – how could it not be? – but it took a notch down when they introduced continuous curbed cart paths in the mid-seventies. While not a bad thing, it has the look and feel of a resort and doesn’t match the Cypress mystique and ambience.
I must have played Cypress at least a hundred times. I snuck on that golf course more than anyone else in the world. My home was just over the dunes and as a teenager me and the other kids in the neighbourhood used to work at the local courses as cart boys and caddies. When we weren't working we were golfing. Back then it was far more relaxed – even at Cypress, one of the most exclusive courses in the United States – but we still had to keep out of sight from the club's security guys who would occasionally try and kick us off. I learned to play fast that way. It was during this time that I realized I wanted to become a golf course architect.
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