Pebble Beach Company – Clint Eastwood, Dick Ferris, Arnold Palmer and Clint Eastwood
For its second annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held the week of the AT&T National Pro-Am at Spanish Bay, the NCGA honored one of the most iconic golf properties in the world — Pebble Beach Golf Links and the Pebble Beach Company.
One of the magical attributes of Pebble Beach Golf Links is its public accessibility, a rarity among the great golf courses from any era. The course’s lineage includes five classic U.S. Opens, and a sixth in 2019 when the course celebrates its centennial. Pebble Beach has also hosted four U.S. Amateurs, a PGA Championship, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am since 1947 and the Champions Tour Nature Valley First Tee Open among countless other events. As a partner with the Monterey Peninsula Foundation and AT&T, the company has helped raise nearly $100 million for the Foundation and local charitable organizations.
Pebble Beach was also the host site for the California State Amateur and Women’s Amateur for many years, providing an unparalleled platform for the development of the amateur game and a venue that made the tournaments the finest regional amateur championships in the world. Prior to 1919, another Pebble Beach company course, classic Del Monte GC, which dates to 1897, served as the original host of the State Amateur.
The NCGA and Pebble Beach Company partnered in creating Spyglass Hill, which opened in 1966 and immediately added to the luster of the resort. The course also was the location of the first NCGA offices in the Del Monte Forest prior to the 1986 opening of Poppy Hills. The Links at Spanish Bay, co-designed by NCGA Hall of Famer Sandy Tatum, Poppy Hills designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Tom Watson debuted in 1987, rounding out the resort’s courses. The company also oversees the resorts’ world-class hotels: The Lodge, the Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero, and welcomes millions of visitors each year through the gates of 17-Mile Drive, one of the top tourist attractions in the world.
The NCGA honored the leadership of the company at the February ceremony, represented by Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer, Dick Ferris and Peter Ueberroth. These four headed a group of investors who purchased the property in 1999 after several years of foreign ownership.
Clint Eastwood, a Hollywood legend as an actor, producer and director, has long supported golf as chairman of the board of directors of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. The native San Franciscan and former mayor of Carmel’s career in the entertainment business has resulted in more than 65 feature films, making him one of the most prolific filmmakers of his era. “The great thing about Pebble Beach is that when you come back here, it’s always the same,” Eastwood said. “There’s a strong effort to do that. Pebble Beach is a passion because it’s home for me.”
Arnold Palmer is one of the greatest players in the game’s history. The seven-time major champion was inducted as a charter member into the World Golf Hall of Fame and was the first in the modern era to be both a tournament golfer and course architect, with approximately 300 courses to his name worldwide. Palmer was unable to be at the ceremony due to a previous commitment at one of his many charitable endeavors.
Dick Ferris served golf as chairman of the PGA Tour’s Policy Board for 20 years. The Sacramento native is the former president and CEO of United Airlines and now serves as co-chairman of the Pebble Beach Company. “We look at ourselves as stewards, not owners of a national treasure,” Ferris said. “We want the company to be profitable so we can sustain it. We work every day to make it better.”
Peter Ueberroth is one of the true renaissance men of American business. His leadership during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles resulted in a surplus of a quarter million dollars. He served as Major League Baseball Commissioner from 1984-89 followed by a period as chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Ueberroth was Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 1984 and now serves as co-chairman of the Pebble Beach Company. “It benefitted the community, it benefitted golf,” Ueberroth said regarding the purchase of Pebble Beach. “It wasn’t about business or profits, it was about using golf for the betterment of society.”
The Hall of Fame also inducted Marion Hollins posthumously. Hollins was one of greatest sportswomen of her era and the driving force behind the creation of the Cypress Point Club and Pasatiempo.
Hollins was born in 1892, to a socially prominent and wealthy family on Long Island. She was the consummate athlete, proficient in golf, tennis, marksmanship, swimming and car racing. The plus-one handicap was also an expert equestrienne.
In 1917 she was appointed to the first USGA women’s committee later becoming its chairperson. In 1922 Hollins created the Women’s National Golf Club in New York. On the West Coast she then joined with Samuel Morse in making Pebble Beach a premier destination. She established the men and women’s Pebble Beach Golf Championships in 1923 and would later win the event seven times. Besides her golf prowess, Hollins was at her best in golf architecture as illustrated by the story of her dropping a ball and taking a swing that would change the 16th hole at Cypress Point Club from a par 4 to the world’s most famous par 3 against the advice of Alister MacKenzie, who thought the hole would be too difficult. Her architectural judgment at Pasatiempo and Cypress Point laid the groundwork for MacKenzie to become Bobby Jones’ architect at Augusta National.
In 1932 Hollins was selected as captain of the first Curtis Cup team leading the U.S to victory. She died in 1944 at the age of 52.