Jim Nantz Has Charmed Life, Doesn’t Golf Much


I guess maybe it’s just me, but I found it weird that Nantz professed to actually playing golf “very little” these days. He LIVES on Pebble Beach. And yet… “seldom” plays. And he’s fine with it.

Cool. I just don’t get it.

He says here in this clip that he just loves “being around” the game, and surely he’s as “around” the game of golf more than just about anyone on the planet! And at the highest, most amazing and elite ways possible.

Personally, I love golf. Love it beyond reason. Love everything about it. And I most certainly never think I play “enough” for my liking. (Pro Tip: When a guy in your group asks: “So, do you get out to play alot?” Just answer with a straight: “Depends on who you ask.”)

But maybe if you are Jimmy Nantz, with a house on Pebble, a lovely mulligan bride of 20 years younger, a brood of new beautiful babies, your own brand of wine, and a network TV broadcast gig that pays millions a year – well, shoot… actually playing golf and keeping score might just be BORING!

Nantz was – a long time ago – a D1 caliber golfer at the University of Houston with Fred Couples (I’m sure you might have heard that story, just once or twice). And sometimes guys who played at a high level (and I consider D1 golf a high level, no matter if you were the last guy on the roster) end up having their fill of it at some point in adult life.

Perhaps because they simply can’t play as well, hit it as long or straight, or don’t care for the casual hit-and-giggle rounds vs. actual stroke play competition. I don’t know. Or maybe Nantz is pulling a subtle “humble-brag” about playing “very seldom.” Sort of a, yeah yeah, I live here… but I hardly play. So don’t think it’s all wine and roses out here for the Nantz ¬†family, okay!”

I would guess that playing 18 holes at Pebble would actually be somewhat difficult for Nantz, even if he wanted to on a regular basis. The golf course is a gold-smelting mine at $500 a round, with the tee-sheet packed from sun-up to sun-down all year round.

Not only that, but rounds at Pebble tend to be a death march. Easily 5-hours-plus, with people stopping to take a zillion pictures at every vista. And rightfully so. Hard to tell somebody whose paid $500 to “move along, pal!”

If Nantz wanted a regular game while he’s home, certainly he could get onto the ultra-elite Cypress Point, if not become a member. Or another one of the private clubs you never hear about on the Monterey Peninsula.

It’s true that Nantz works a pretty robust schedule. I mean, not like a REAL JOB or anything, but he’s not Bob Costas who just pops up occasionally. Or Al Michaels, who only does football now. And I’m sure he loves to spend time with his new babies. Nothing wrong with that.

But I like Nantz as an announcer, even when he carries on with an unprompted defense of his wonderful life like he did here. It’s fine, man. You’ve earned it. Just say: “You know…. I live here. I still can’t believe how lucky I am.” And leave it at that.

I once plunked down $400 or so back in the early 90’s to play Pebble with a good friend I worked with at the radio station complex in Santa Barbara California. He was an FM DJ who went on to have a nice career as a morning weatherman¬†on television in Las Vegas. Sadly, he passed away far too young, having admitted to me in his final weeks that he essentially drank himself to death with a failing liver.

Pebble is magical. Period. No matter the weather, or the season. My friend and I played Pebble, Spyglass Hill, and Spanish Bay. We got drunk and hooked up with some school teachers who were away on a “girls weekend” of sorts. I was in my early 20’s, he in his early 30’s. Both of us single, and with few obligations. By the time Sunday rolled around, we were so dismayed at the prospect of cutting the weekend short, we both called in “sick” for Monday, and booked the room we shared for one more night, and got back out on Spyglass Hill one more time.

I remember it vividly. And yet, it seems like it was another lifetime ago.


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