Thursday, March 5, 2009

From Free to Prestigious

Samuel Morse turned over 500 acres of Del Monte Forest for $1 to the Monterey Peninsula Country Club membership to build a new golf course. The magnificently-built Dunes course was opened on July 4, 1926, seven years after the Pebble Beach Golf Links. It look less than two years to build, as required by Morse. Membership was on an invitation-only basis and included a free home site! There were initially 500 lots bordering the course. According to a 2008 report by Forbes Magazine, initiation fees now run $175,000 (and definitely do not include a private lot!). The club was one of the three included in the Crosby tournament beginning its first year in Pebble Beach (1947) until it was replaced by Spyglass. When Gerald Ford lost the presidency to Jimmy Carter, Ford spent his first day in private life playing at MPCC with Arnold Palmer and according to news reports, appeared quite contented despite his golf performance. According to the New York Times, Ford "gave his audience little to cheer about as he sliced, hooked and occasionally three-putted his way through 18 holes of golf" during the Crosby tournament that year. Although MPCC is private, the club is generous in allowing members to sponsor functions there for local organizations such as the Peninsula Dance Quadrille and the Pebble Beach Riding & Trail Association.

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