U.S. Open prep: A special tip of the cap to Jack Holt

Pebble Beach’s one-of-a-kind assistant superintendent got a one-of-a-kind gift as his retirement from the course after 39 years draws near.



Jack Holt Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach director of golf course maintenance Chris Dalhamer, CGCS, (left) and assistant superintendent Bubba Wright (center) present Jack Holt with a handcrafted token of appreciation during the crew and volunteer meeting Sunday before the U.S. Open. Photos by Scott Hollister

Pebble Beach Golf Links is a fixture on the U.S. Open rotation, playing host to its sixth championship this week (and its 13th USGA championship overall).

And if there is a fixture at Pebble Beach itself, it is most definitely Jack Holt, the longtime assistant superintendent at the resort who has been a part of preparations for five of those U.S. Opens.

Spend any time at all around maintenance operations at Pebble Beach, and it’s likely that you’ve at least met Holt and the furry friends that are his constant companions (the two true kings of the maintenance area this week at Pebble Beach are border collies Lefty and Charlie).

To many in the business, Holt is “a mentor, a coach and a father figure,” which is how Pebble Beach’s director of golf course maintenance Chris Dalhamer, CGCS, described him to the more than 125 staff members and volunteers who had gathered Sunday afternoon for an orientation meeting that officially launched 2019 U.S. Open week.

But all good things come to an end, and for Holt, that end — at least as it relates to his nearly 40-year career at Pebble Beach — is coming soon. As we featured in our preview coverage to this week’s U.S. Open, Holt will be retiring not long after the final putt drops on this year’s championship.

Spend a morning at Pebble Beach with Holt, Lefty and Charlie, courtesy of Golf Channel:

While the attention from that article and others like it were fitting tributes to Holt, a 19-year GCSAA member, the crew at Pebble Beach wanted to do more. So they chipped in to get Holt, an avid fly fisherman, a special gift, which they presented to him during Sunday’s assembly: a custom-made fly-fishing rod and reel, the handiwork of another member of the golf course management community, Tim Zevotek, superintendent at Roaring Fork Club in Basalt, Colo., and a five-year GCSAA member.

“Jack is loyal, steadfast through the years, and he bleeds Pebble Beach,” Dalhamer says. “He has helped so many through the years, so we just wanted to do a little something to pay him back.”

For his part, Holt was clearly thankful for the gesture, yet stayed true to form when asked to say a few words. “This is an amazing place to work, with amazing people,” he said. “I’m a very, very lucky man.”

As for preparations for this week’s U.S. Open, Dalhamer gave the assembled team a confident “so far, so good” assessment despite Sunday’s unseasonably high temperatures, which rose into the mid-80s and had crew members scrambling to hand-water hot spots around the property.

Pebble Beach Sunday

Pebble Beach US Open

“When the last putt in 2010 dropped, the countdown clock in our maintenance facility was at 3,212 days until this championship,” Dalhamer says. “It’s hard to believe that we’ve been planning and working that long, and it’s finally here.”

Scott Hollister is GCM’s editor-in-chief.