NCGA Golf

Spring 2019

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T he first time Casey Boyns played Pebble Beach Golf Links, he certainly got his money's worth. As an underage entrant in the Peter Hay Junior Golf Tournament, Boyns, 10 years old at the time, snuck into the event and carded a 154, which was 82-over par, but it was worth it – free golf, and a hot dog, chips and drink afterward at the soda foun- tain. It also was good enough to earn a second round the next day in match play, not to mention another free lunch. Fifty-three years later, the soda fountain has been replaced by a glitzy shop featuring high-priced souvenirs and golf apparel, but Boyns, winner of two California Amateur Championships and more than a dozen Northern California Golf Association events, is still walking Pebble Beach most every day as one of its prized caddies. He and about 300 caddies at Pebble Beach's golf courses can be defined as concierges (Where should we eat tonight?), historians (Yes, lightning did strike that tree on No. 14 the night after Arnold Palmer's ball bounced off it and went OB. Was it divine retribution? Who knows?), tour guides (That's Point Lobos, which some say inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write "Treasure Island" when he walked there in 1879), and photographers (Will you take a photo of us?). Along the way, Boyns and his colleagues read greens, rattle off yardages, and provide moral support and occasional coaching (Do you think I can hit a 5-iron over the barranca on No. 8? "Well . . ." Boyns says before steering his loop to another weapon.) "I try to enhance the experience," says Boyns as he relaxes in an easy chair at Peb- ble Beach's caddie shack. Ranked No. 2 on the seniority list, Boyns can choose his loops, but usually goes out early in the morning for his roughly 180 rounds a year. Once, he logged as many as 260 rounds, but says at age 63, the days of doing two loops a day are behind him. Boyns has navigated the fairways and greens of Pebble Beach about 10,000 times since that first round in that junior tourna- ment. Each time he reaches the sixth green, he looks around and surveys the view – sometimes shrouded by fog – from what he calls "Mount Everest." Carmel Bay and its beach are below, in the distance is Point Lobos, gateway to the Big Sur Coast, and obscured by Pescadero Point is exclusive Cypress Point Club. One might describe Boyns as the "Sherpa" of Pebble Beach after all those climbs. And once the short 7th is com- pleted, the "gauntlet" of Pebble Beach begins – the 8th through 14th holes are the most challenging, and as Boyns foresees, they will determine the U.S. Open cham- pion, June 13-16. Pebble Beach, he says offers seven opportunities for birdies, then seven grinding holes, and four holes to play safe on the way in. Boyns developed into a pretty good stick, still good enough to shoot his age at The Club at Pasadera, where he is a mem- ber, and a local legend who has been inducted into both the California Golf Hall of Fame and NCGA Hall of Fame. He has won four NCGA Public Links titles, perhaps reflecting his public course upbringing at Pacific Grove Golf Links, often called "the poor man's Pebble Beach." Ironically, when Boyns was a kid, his father, Leonard, a barber, tried to become a member at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, but was turned down because his income mainly came from tips. Today, Casey's caddying tips add up, augmenting his wife Sara's salary as an attorney. Their home is in Skyline Forest of Monterey, 46 SPRING 2019 | NCGA.ORG Boyns' NCGA haul includes a record-tying 16 championship titles. He's also won seven NCGA Senior crowns.

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