News & ToursJanuary 5, 2016

Pebble Beach Golf Links and a good walk unspoiled for former USGA official

The man who begins virtually every day at Pebble Beach Golf Links calls himself “the luckiest guy who ever played left-handed,” though the qualifier is arguably unnecessary.

Four or five times a week, maybe more, Ron Read, a former USGA official, makes the short drive from his Carmel Valley home to South Carmel Beach, with his dog Katrina in tow. They start there, head up a pathway that leads to the ninth fairway, then make the long trek to the Lodge at Pebble Beach, often before sunrise.

Virtually every day he does so, he posts photos or videos on Twitter, often taken from just off the 18th green and looking out at Carmel Bay. “Everyday is a total different experience,” he said. And, as he said on Twitter, “it’s special every time.”

Read was the director of regional affairs for the USGA for more than 30 years and for 23 years was the starter at the U.S. Open. He came to the area in 1967, when “the Army brought me here.” He was stationed at what then was the Army Language School in Monterey.

He served as a marshal at the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am in 1967, when the weather was miserable. “I can remember meeting Bing Crosby in a driving rain storm on the sixth hole,” he said. “He was the only one in the gallery.”

Read, 71, used to play Pebble Beach about 30 times a year, he said. Now he plays most of his golf at Quail Golf Club in Carmel Valley and St. Andrews, the latter as a member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club. He walks and carries his own bag.

Katrina and Read are fixtures around Pebble Beach. “I’ve been around there so long, I know all the maintenance staff, RJ Harper [executive vice president golf and retail], and everybody,” he said.

But it’s Katrina who garners the most attention. “They love her. They all spoil her. Everywhere she goes it’s a celebration.” Katrina is known to waltz straight into the golf shop at Pebble, dragging her leash behind her, where she receives a treat from a supply kept for her by the staff there.

Katrina’s fan base is an impressive one that includes Arnold Palmer, Vijay Singh and Dottie Pepper. “Countdown to Katrina and walking on the beach with her in February!” Pepper, now a CBS Golf on-course reporter, Tweeted in November.

The walk roundtrip is probably six or seven miles, Read estimates, a good walk unspoiled, one that never gets old for either Read or his canine companion.