Carmel Magazine

Winter 2014

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38 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 4 LOCALKNOWLEDGE Neal Hotelling Exper t Local Historian, Magazine Editor and Golf Buff M ichigan native Neal Hotelling moved to the Monterey Peninsula with his wife, Bettina, in 1985. "I had the good sense to marr y a California girl," he laughs. After working in magazine publishing, he joined Pebble Beach Company as golf operations manager. Today, Hotelling is director of licensing and special projects and executive edi- tor of Pebble Beach –The Magazine. He also ser ves as the company's historian, writing and speaking about golf legends, local histor y and lit- erar y figures. In addition to researching his own genealogy, Hotelling has recently been reading about early Monterey-area businessman David Jacks. He spent three days combing through Jacks' papers at the Huntington Librar y in Southern California, and uncovered surprising details about the development of the Monterey Peninsula. "As long as I've been at it, I'm still learning new stuff all the time. And that's the joy of histor y," he says. Q: In 1991, you signed on with Pebble Beach Company. Did a love for golf draw you there? A: I'm a good business manager. I didn't have golf management experi- ence, and I didn't take up golf until I moved here. It was really my business background that landed me with the company. I agreed to come on board as a temporary employee, because they were in transition with their first Japanese owner at the time. Twenty-two years later, I'm still here... [Later,] I actually spent a month at trial with our trademark counsel on a trade- mark case. I came back and left the golf division for the legal division as the director of corporate affairs, overseeing the trademarks and the beginnings of a licensing program. It kind of grew from there. Q: You're a recognized authority on the history of Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula. How did that interest begin? A: It star ted with Steinbeck. I moved here and didn't really know anything about the local history. I've always been intrigued by history, especially the lesser-known facts. Shor tly after moving here, my wife and I attended a one-man show on Steinbeck at the Sunset Center. At intermission, they announced there was going to be a class on Steinbeck and King Ar thur at Monterey Peninsula College. We signed up, took the class and came away with more questions than answers. We star ted going out into the real world to find the answers and ended up meeting dozens of inter- esting people, and people who knew Steinbeck. One of our friends in the 1980s, in his final years, was Carlton Sheffield. He was Steinbeck's room- mate back at Stanford in 1918...All of the unknowns about Steinbeck, amazingly, led to digging into the local history. When I came to work at Pebble Beach in golf operations, I thought, "Ok, this is as good as it gets— great company, great golf courses, great history and tradition." I asked who the first golf pro was, and nobody knew. I said, "We've got to fix that. This is Pebble Beach." Q: As you study this region, what surprises you? A: I think it spins back to the small-town feel of the area and how all of the history interrelates. I don't care what aspect of the history you're look- ing at, it's going to link up with other areas. Steinbeck links up with Pebble Beach. Pebble Beach links up with Cannery Row. Cannery Row links up with the development of Monterey... The history of this area is a tapestry. It really weaves together to create what we have today, but it was all those different pieces that made it come together. Q: Are there local historical figures that you wish you had known? A: I think Sam Morse would have been one of the most fascinating peo- ple to know. He was largely responsible for the way the Peninsula devel- oped—not just Pebble Beach but the broader picture—because he was such a strong-willed, powerful man. And John Steinbeck, I would love to speak with him. I had the opportunity to meet both of his sons and his third wife, but he died before I got involved. Similarly, I think Bing Crosby would be fascinating to spend time with...and David Jacks, who was the original land baron of this wonderful place we call Monterey. Q: Which local golf course do you prefer to play? A: This is the one that surprises people. If I had to choose one golf course to play every day, it would be Spanish Bay. I find Spanish Bay to be just a wonderful golf experience. There is nothing that can touch the awe factor of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, but for a pure golf experience without all of the mystique that goes with Pebble Beach, Spanish Bay is pretty hard to beat. — Renee Brincks 038-039 LK Neal Hotelling_Layout 1/24/14 5:06 AM Page 1

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