Many names will bandied about next week during the U.S. Open, but only one is genuinely and only the reason we will be enjoying another national championship at Pebble Beach.
Founder Samuel Morse is profiled by Jim Nantz in this excellent Golf Digest piece on the great man’s vision, life and a fun cocktail hour chat with his late daughter.
Oh, and we should remember his lender too, particularly with the Wodehouse name and bank.
In his grandson Charles Osborne’s fabulous 2018 biography, Boss: The Story of S.F.B Morse, the Founder of Pebble Beach, he talks of how Morse in 1918 was riding his horse, Moonlight, around Pebble Beach, imagining what it could become, when he was called to a meeting with Crocker, in which he revealed his desire to have Crocker help with financing so Morse could make the purchase himself. Crocker demurred because he didn’t want to essentially be both seller and buyer. Morse struck out on his own and a short time later obtained the $1.3 million financing through a bond offering arranged by Herbert Fleishhacker of the Anglo California National Bank in San Francisco.
One other important note about Morse: legend says that Jack Neville’s first routing for Pebble Beach featured homes on the clifftops, golf holes inland. He was doing what any sensible real estate man would do, but Morse declared the golf took priority, otherwise the entire development would not succeed. Lewis Lapham explained this for GolfDigest.com back in 2010.
Regarding Morse, you can seem some memorabilia related to his life at Golf Links to the Past (where Nantz details having bought some of Morse’s original paintings).
There is also a new biography of Morse available in the shop and listed at Amazon. I believe author Charles Osborne will be signing at some point during U.S. Open week.