A Better Pebble Beach


I don’t golf. I did beat a professional golfer twice at mini-golf on a first date but I’m completely modest about it. He’s not, and I’m not allowed to reveal his name until he retires.

There’s a joke about how, from bowling to golf, the balls get smaller as the sport becomes more elite. Westportbeach3

This makes perfect sense to me, especially after witnessing the toddler-like tantrum of a “pro” on the sixth hole of the Lilliput Mini Golf Course of Grand Lake, Colorado, in 1995. Lucky putter, my ass. The attraction is closed now and up for sale, not unlike his pride. George Carlin had a stand up bit about turning all golf courses and cemeteries into low income housing. The man was a sage.

Westportbeach1Anyway, whenever I hear the words “pebble beach,” I don’t think of golf, I think of a long, windy strand just south of Westport, Washington. If you follow the Cranberry Coast Loop of WA State Route 105, you’ll see the Beach Access signs.Westportbeach4Every few hundred feet along this beach there are mounds of wave-smoothed pebbles in basalt, jasper, and agate. They make funny little clicking sounds when you walk on them. They’re soft and slippery in traction, almost like a wet winter slush. Skipping stones abound.Westportbeach6I’d trade a day at any private golf country club for this. The admission fee to these natural rock dunes is simply a tank of gas. The dress code is pants with strong enough pockets to hold several pounds of treasure.Westportbeach5There are no sand traps on a beach, the irony would kill a stegosaurus. The “course” never closes, just collect shiny rocks until you drop. The only score is counting them when you get home. Everybody wins.Westportbeach7I have several dozen snowy white quartzites, smooth as ice, strewn over my fireplace mantel as souvenirs. Probably still have that golfer’s balls somewhere, too.

June 27, 2010