Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the truly iconic golf courses of the world and surely on every golfer's bucket list!
Located on the Monterey Peninsula, the Pebble Beach Golf Links, and the greater Pebble Beach Resort were the brainchild of developer Samuel Morse who wanted a golf course to foster sales of residential land. Morse ended up acquiring large tracts of land on the peninsula and appointed local amateur Jack Neville ( with some help from Douglas Grant ) to design the course. Pebble Beach Golf Links opened in 1919, but was substantially remodelled by H. Chandler Egan prior to the 1929 U.S. Amateur. Along the way Herbert Fowler made the changes to transform the 18th hole into one of the world's great finishing holes, Dr Alister McKenzie assisted with the 8th & 13th holes, and Jack Nicklaus designed the new par 3 fifth hole when a house on the coast was acquired by the resort.
Pebble Beach is one of the most celebrated tournament venues in the world. In the 1930's Bing Crosby initiated the Crosby pro Am, played over Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and Spyglass Hill. This tournament still continues although it is now known as the AT & T Pebble Beach National Pro Am.
Additionally 5 U.S. Opens have been played at Pebble Beach including some very famous wins: Jack Nicklaus in 1972 when he famously hit the flag on the seventeenth, Tom Watson's win over Nicklaus in 1982 when he chipped in on 17, and Tiger Woods lapping the field in 2000.
The landscape at Pebble Beach is undeniably gorgeous, and Jack Nevill knew from the outset he had to take advantage of that spectacular coastline. And he he did with holes 4 to 10 all played along the coastline to the furthest point of the course. This sequence of holes is undeniably one of the most dramatic in golf.
Holes 7 & 8 are iconic holes.
And then there is the championship finish at Pebble Beach- when the links returns to the coast for the epic par 3 seventeenth hole, and possibly THE best finishing hole in tournament golf- the par 5 eighteenth hole. It's pure theatre, and something you will never forget!
While Pebble Beach is instantly recognisable from the images of the holes along the coast, the inland holes naturally suffer by comparison. But there are some good holes there of which I find the par 5 fourteenth and the par 4 sixteenth (set in it's own ampitheatre ) the most interesting.
Over the years the sandy wastes surrounding the playing areas have grown over, and these days the links is beautifully manicured, more akin to an inland course than a coastal links. The greens are small and unremarkable, but can be an elusive target to hit, even if the wind is not blowing. My advice would be to take a caddy, and strap in for the full experience. The caddies at Pebble are experienced and will save you shots. And some of them are real characters!
And don't forget to smell the roses...Take in the amazing views of Stillwater Cove, look around the course at the travelling caravans of people on each hole with groups of 4 and caddies all moving together. And then there are the zillion dollar mansions along the course boundary. Take photos. Take it all in. And afterward celebrate your round with a refreshment on the balcony at The Lodge overlooking the 18th green.
A round at Pebble Beach is more than a game of golf. It's an experience you will never forget...
Pebble Beach is blessed with some of the famous holes in golf. Images of some of the coastal holes are instantly recognisable...
However some holes stand out:
- the par 3 seventh maybe short but it packs a punch, especially when the wind is blowing. Hitting from an elevated tee to a small green surrounded by bunkers and ocean, the seventh is abolutely spectacular!
- hole 8 continues the drama with a semi blind tee shot up to the top of the cliffs where the coastline breaks into the line of play. An accurate tee shot will leave you with a shot over the bay to a green sitting on the cliff edge. Jack Nicklaus calls it 'his favourite shot in golf'
- hole 17 is a long par 3 with tiny green sitting on a rocky promontory. Who can forget Jack's majestic 1 iron hitting the flag here, or Watson's chip in?
- hole 18 is perhaps THE classic par 5 finishing hole in golf. With the tee set out on a rocky outcrop the drive is diagonal across the ocean to a fairway also protected by trees right. With the fairway tightening nearer the green, beach on the left, and a tree to negotiate, it is a thinking players hole
Pebble Beach is a Travelling Golfer 'must play'
Other Courses in the Area
The Monterey Peninsula is famous for the quality and beauty of it's golf and has a mixture of wonderful private courses and popular resort and public access courses. While the private Cypress Point Club and Monterey Peninsula Country Club are played by the fortunate few, travellers staying in the Pebble Beach Resort can pre book games at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and The Links at Spanish Bay. Also available to the public is the ever popular Poppy Hills designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr.
For further information on Golf Tours to Pebble Beach Resort please enquire here:
Photos are courtesy of Pebble beach Company