Poppy Hills, Tom Watson, Legends & Leaders

Categories: Pure Insurance Championship

After two days of go,go,go, the time change and emotions have set in and we are exhausted! Thankfully, today we had plenty of time for our practice round to be able to decompress before the evening’s main event, Legends and Leaders.

Mara’s Perspective: I’m not gonna lie, with all the emotions of the first two days, when I woke up this morning I was in a funk. But, I dug deep, remembered how lucky I am to be here and was ready to go to the first tee for my second practice round. Today, on Poppy Hills.

While Poppy Hills doesn’t run along the ocean line, it’s a beautiful course with very different challenges along the way. The fairways are tight and lined with very tall trees, the greens are much bigger with very udulating greens and the course as a whole has a number of elevation changes.

For today’s practice round I had the opportunity to play with three other participants from The First Tee. They were from The First Tee Contra Costa, Pittsburgh and Greater Tyler.

The 18th Hole, a par 5, was a really neat finishing hole and probably required the most strategy of all 18 holes. Two bunkers are positioned directly in the middle of the fairway, hindering the location of your tee shot, and then the second shot is a blind layup into a fairway that slopes drastically from left to right. When it’s time to hit into the green, you’re left with a very narrow landing area surrounded by hazards and bunkers.

Based on my iphone health tracker, we walked 8 miles today!

Post round, we took the shuttle back to Pebble Beach Lodge and went out to the Hole 18 to watch some of the pros come in during their practice round. I wanted to get a chance to introduce myself and get their autographs on my tournament yardage book!

The highlight for me was watching Tom Watson play the 18th Hole. He hit his third shot about 15 feet from the hole and drained the putt for birdie.

As he came off the 18th green, I was able to introduce myself and tell him I was from Pinehurst, NC. He was thrilled to hear this and said how much he loves coming to Pinehurst and playing the courses. Maybe I will get to see him in Pinehurst one day!

Tonight’s main event was called Legends & Leaders. The event was held at Monterey Peninsula clubhouse and featured CEOs and celebrities from all over the country who had taken the time to come and speak to us about a Core Value that has significance in their life.

Some of the speakers included Chris Harrison, Kevin Sorbo, John Ashworth, Ross Buchmueller, Kira Kazantsev, Sara Diaz, Alfonso Ribeiro and Leon Panetta,

Two of my favorite speakers were Condoleezza Rice and Matt Ginella.

Mrs. Rice spoke on Perseverance. Saying that once you find your goal or dream in life, persevere through to achieve it. She talked about how people told her she wasn’t going to make it through school but she knew she could and proved them wrong. And then how later she became the first female African American Secretary of State. So cool to hear her speak.

My other favorite of the night was Matt Ginella from the Golf Channel. Mr. Ginella spoke on Confidence. He told us about an experience he had when participating in the planning and execution of a Golf Digest Cover photo shoot with Tiger Woods leading up to the Masters, where he was the defending champion. During the planning process he pitched the idea of having Tiger pose with real tigers. Many people botched the idea but he was confident this was the direction to go and continued to push the idea. Instead, they wanted him to pose in front of some azaleas. So they prepped for both ideas and would see how it played out. When Tiger arrived for the shoot, they quickly found out he was allergic to azaleas! He only lasted about two minutes in front of the azaleas for photos and Matt’s idea became a possibility. In fact, Tiger wanted to do the tiger photo shoot! Needless to say, the Golf Digest cover ended up being Tiger with tigers!

While the night’s events were longer than expected, it was truly a life experience to hear from all the speakers, meet many event sponsors and players, while continuing to share the message of The First Tee.

Tomorrow brings Round 1 at Poppy Hills. I tee off at 11:45am PST with Jim Carter and can’t wait to get started.

Thanks for continuing to follow along.

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