Golf Advisor Podcast Ep. 14: George Kelley, Pebble Beach expert and NoCal golf course operator

The NoCal veteran talks Pebble over 50 years, having to close a course you own and the popularity of revamped Chuck Corica Park.

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Imagine Pebble Beach being your boyhood course that you get to play everyday?

That was the experience of George Kelley, who grew up at Pebble Beach and played the course hundreds of times a year thanks to a $450 annual family membership. In celebration of the 2019 U.S Open, Golf Advisor Senior Writer Jason Deegan sat down with him to talk about what's changed at Pebble Beach over 50 years and any highlights he's had. The exposure to one of the game's great golf properties ultimately drew Kelley into the NoCal golf course business.

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Highlights:

Brandon Tucker and Jason Deegan discuss the round they just played at Pebble Beach leading up to the U.S. Open. It was Tucker's first time around the course while Deegan has played it several times. They discuss the rough, greens and all the busting activity going on around the resort.

Kelley describes the feeling as a child moving to Pebble Beach as a young boy and not liking it at first but ultimately getting the golf bug.

How Pebble Beach inspired Kelley to ultimately get into the golf course business.

How being nice to a young Spanish kid on a bus led to a relationship and playing Pebble Beach with Seve Ballesteros.

He also had a chance to caddie in the 1972 U.S. Open and had a pretty embarrassing introduction to his assigned player.

He discussed operating a golf course in NoCal, from his closed Stevinson Ranch course to the revamped Chuck Corica Park, and talks about golf course water use at Corica. In seven years they've reduced their water bill from $600,000 to less than $50,000 annually. He's also bullish on, wait for it, Millennial participation!

The interview ends with some rapid-fire questions including some tips on when to get the most out of your Pebble Beach experience.

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Editor's note: in the interview, the Pebble Beach green fee is said to be $525. It recently went up to $550.

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
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Golf Advisor Podcast Ep. 14: George Kelley, Pebble Beach expert and NoCal golf course operator