Good Sports: Meet the Coarsegold native who prepares Pebble Beach

Alec Nolan Image
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Good Sports: Meet the Coarsegold native who prepares Pebble Beach
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Pebble Beach is a bucket list item for any golfer. But managing a course of such prestige requires a lot of hard work. Meet the man who does it.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Preparing for an event like the Pebble Beach Pro-AM is never easy with so many celebrities and players coming together. But, when you get to do it in one of golf's premier destinations -- it's not so bad.

Pebble Beach Golf Links Superintendent Bubba Wright is the man behind the meticulous manicuring and management of the top public course in the world.

"You know, I really started working on a golf course to get free golf," Wright said.

Prior to coming to heaven on earth -- the Coarsegold native would get his start just northeast of the central valley.

"My first job in the world of golf was actually at a 9 hole course in Awhanee called River Creek golf course," Wright said.

Eventually falling in love with course maintenance.

"It happened pretty organically, you know i was very fortunate to work for some great superintendents," wright said. "You know people that really invested a lot of time in me and saw something they could develop."

One of those people, former super at Riverbend -- now known as dragonfly golf course -- Brian Daum.

"And Bubba approached us saying he was looking for a summer job, was looking into getting into turf," Daum said.

Wright would hit the ground running.

"So he was cutting cups doing the regular setup of golf courses. He was mowing greens, tees, fairways, he was kind of jack of all trades," Daum said.

To take his passion to another level - Wright would take his talents to Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Earning a turf management degree, he worked his way up the assistant super ladder from TPC Scottsdale, Spanish Bay, and finally... Pebble Beach.

"You got to pinch yourself you know waking up and getting to see the ocean every day, and more importantly working with a great team," Wright said.

A team Daum is familiar with.

"I've had the pleasure of going down actually volunteering and helping out. Doing some work at the tournaments, It's amazing what they can do at Pebble Beach. It's almost tournament prep 365," Daum said.

And when it comes to events like the Pebble Beach PRO-AM, the pressure is on.

"You gotta go scrub the golf course looking for every single detail you can," Wright said.

A heightened sense of maintenance that will resume this summer when the course plays host to the U.S. Women's Open for the first time.

"We have a team of 30 that maintain the golf course on a daily basis and then I bring in volunteers to help us on tournament days," Wright said.

Days that can blend together for a person trying to manage all the moving parts along the Monterey peninsula.

"I mean during tournaments, I bet you Bubba probably gets 2-3 hours of sleep at night," Daum said. "Herding the cats so to speak. It's the amount of time and effort and lack of sleep that superintendents get during those big tournament weeks."

A lack of sleep Wright is willing to endure working in a golfer's paradise.

"Pretty tough place to leave. You know I love the valley, love the people there. But, there's no place I'd rather be," Wright said.

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