Bruno's Blog

Love Pebble . . . . Where's the Clambake? PDF Print E-mail

Bing and The King at "The Clambake"


Back around the time that Bobby Jones started the Augusta National Invitational, now known affectionately as The Masters, an American icon named Bing Crosby started his own invitational in 1937 at The Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in San Diego, California. His original idea was to bring low handicap players from Lakeside GC in Los Angeles (where Crosby was a member) together with 50 or so tour pros. The tournament remained in this form through 1942.

The "Clambake" as it became known, settled in at the geographical jewel known as the Monterey Peninsula in 1947. The "creme de la creme" of the golf world, as well as the top "A list" celebrities from Hollywood were there to celebrate with Bing and compete with the worlds finest. When the great crooner past away in 1977 after finishing a round of Golf in Spain, the "Clambake" remained for nearly a decade. In the mid 80's, there was some issues with Crosby's widow Kathryn as it related to the tournament and it's corporate sponsor. I understand that these issues are legitimate, however the Hope is still the Hope, and The Masters is still Bobby Jones' event. I think it's safe to say that the Memorial will still be Jack's event, and Bay Hill the Arnold Palmer Invitational long after they're gone. Yes, the family has a responsibility to perpetuate the legacy and the event, but doesn't the world of Golf owe something to the man who helped popularize our game and revolutionized professional tournaments as we know them to be today (Pro Am format).

This week on the Peninsula, the field is watered down, the worlds best are in the Middle East playing in the desert of Dubai . . . . just imagine the Masters being a secondary event to the Smurfit European Open. Corporations bring the funding, but the right people bring the buzz and atmosphere. Can we go back in time? Of course not . . . But Bing Crosby and the indelible impression he left on the game should be honored and celebrated each February and anything less by the PGA Tour and The Pebble Beach Company is a double bogey.

A Conversation with Bobby Clampett PDF Print E-mail

Recently caught up with veteran tour pro, CBS golf announcer, & course designer Bobby Clampett . Among the topics covered were: Cypress Point, Bing, The Impact Zone, and The Payne Stewart GC.





LinksNation: You grew up in Monterey, California and played golf at Robert Louis Stevenson High School . . .

Bobby Clampett: Yes, our freshman year We played our home matches at Pebble Beach, sophomore year we were moved to Spyglass. Spyglass separated the men from the boys . . . Guys with scoring averages of 36 (9holes), would leave there shooting 53.What an experience.

LN: The thought of Pebble Beach brings the memory of Bing Crosby for many people, it has been said that he was an admirer of your golf game, did You know Bing ?



BC: Yes, I played some junior golf with Nate (Nathaniel is Mr.Crosby's youngest son, who went on to win the 1981 U.S Amateur at Olympic Club) and since we both grew up in central California we'd play together quite a bit.One time we were at the Junior World qualifier in Northern california (at sunol Golf Course in Pleasanton, Ca) and Nate and I were hangin out, I told him "I don't have a ride" . . . Nate looks over at his Dad and says "Dad can we give Bobby a ride"? Mr.Crosby says "sure".Nate and his Dad picked me up in Carmel and we drove 9 hours to San Diego for the Junior Worlds. Most of the ride Nathaniel and I were talkin, it dawns on me these days that Bing Crosby was my chauffeur that day . . . if I could turn back time, I would've spent alot more time talking to him.

LN: You finished in the top 25 at age 18 at the Masters, what do You remember about that week ?


BC: It was actually a tie for 23rd, top 24 were automatically invited the next year. (Clampett made the cut the next year as well) I played with both Gary Player (defending champion) and 66 year old Sam Snead. There was a 4 hr rain delay and Snead and I talked the whole time.


LN: How did Snead play ?

BC: His swing was as smooth as silk and he could still stripe it

LN: Now a CBS broadcaster at Augusta each year, it must feel like You've traveled full circle.

BC: Yes, definitely it's a magical place . . .  love going back there each year.

LN: You and the family live in North Carolina now right ?

BC: Yes, my wife Marianna is from North Carolina, but we are wintering in Naples, Florida gettin ready for the Champions Tour right now. We also have a place in Carmel. Most of the kids are grown, we have a Brady Bunch scenerio . . . 3 kids from my first marriage and Marianna had 2 of her own. Katelyn (23), my oldest was a finalist on American Idol last year (check out the talented Katelyn Clampett on YouTube and on her own website at

LN: Are You starting off your season down here at the Allianz Championship (Boca Raton) ?


BC: That's right, I'll be there ready to go.

LN: Tell me about your Impact Zone System

BC: Back in 1981 & 1982 I finished 14th & 17th on the money list, and decided that I wanted to try to get to the next level. I sought out the advice of some of the best teachers of that time.I heard things like: You have way too many moving parts, and You'll have to forget everything that You know about your golf swing.Unfortunately, I listened to the gurus and didn't regain my form.

I began studying the best players swings using the CBS Swing VIsion camera that breaks motion down to 70k frames per second, and what I found is that there are many different swings styles and methods, but the one absolute was their position at impact.

LN: So even though Trevino and Furyk have unorthodox moves, they arrive at the identical impact positions of those with the more efficient and classic moves we all try to emulate?

BC: Exactly, that's what the Impact Zone system is about.

LN: How did the Payne Stewart Golf Club (Bobby Clampett is the course designer) in Branson, Missouri come to be?

BC: I was flying the plane (Clampett is an accomplished pilot) back from Payne's funeral, and I was thinking of a way to pay tribute to Payne in a fitting manner.

Payne's favorite charity was the I'm 3rd foundation in Branson, and along with Christian Camp Kanakuk (where both Payne's  and Clampett's children attended during the summer) and "Kids Across America", it became apparent that a course bearing his name should be in Branson.Some local investors in the area wanted to build a golf course, and Richard Brooks the director of the Payne Stewart Memorial (which Clampett founded) had heard that local developers were looking to bulid a course in Branson.Once the site (1,100 acres) was found We (co-designer Chuck smith) got started.

We created the course to have features very reminiscent with Payne's personality. For example, the first tee shot of the day on #1 is very bold. Payne was BOLD, especially before each round . . . he was so talkative before the first tee shot of the day, he literally wouldn't shut up (laughs).

(Other holes are called "Chandelle" and "The Call" but the one that struck me the most was the moniker given to the Halfway house  . . .  "The House of Payne").

LN: Since there are few who I consider in your company when it comes to knowledge of Monterey Peninsula Golf, if You had to chose one is it Pebble Beach or Cypress Point ?

BC: Cypress

LN: Why Cypress ?

BC: I just LOVE Cypress Point . . . hey did You know that Bing is one of only 3 people to ever make a hole in 1 at the famous 16th at cypress

LN: I did know that (but only because Cypress Point is #1 on my bucket list).Kudos to Bing Crosby he deserves the final thought.

To see Bobby Clampett's 2011 playing schedule go to :


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