Northern California’s golfing jewel in the crown, the Pebble Beach links, is the venue for this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Widely regarded as the No 1 Public Course in America, it is one of the most picturesque courses in the World with some of golf’s most breathtaking views.
Hugging the rugged cliffs and spectacular coastline of the Monterey Peninsula, a little over an hour’s drive south of San Francisco, it has the distinction of having been singled out in 2001 as the USA’s first ‘public’ course to be selected by Golf Digest as the No 1 golf course in America and it today continues to be ranked as America’s No 1 public course.
The word ‘public’ in this case means a privately-owned club that is open to the public and not necessarily a public course owned and operated by a city or municipal authority such as Torrey Pines in San Diego where last week’s Farmer Insurance Open was played.
Pebble Beach has hosted five US Opens, the most recent of them being in 2010 when Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell emerged from the ranks to win.
Along with the nearby Links at Spanish Bay, Spy Glass Hill GC and the Del Monte GC, the Pebble Beach Golf Links is owned and operated privately by the Pebble Beach Company.
In this week’s AT&T championship it will be used in two of the four rounds, including the final round on Sunday, with players also having to play one round each at Spyglass Hill and one at the Monterey Peninsula Golf Club.
At $495 per round plus a R35 cart fee, Pebble Beach’s green fees to non-resort guests are among the steepest in the world and yet getting a tee off time often requires booking it two or three months ahead in the summer months.
EARLY COURSE HISTORY
The course at Pebble Beach was designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant and first opened for on February 22, 1919.
Neville, who never designed any other courses, had one main object and that was to place as many of its holes as possible along the rocky and beautiful Monterey coast line which he felt would be best accomplished by using a “figure 8” layout.
Since the last US Open at Pebble Beach in 2000, Arnold Palmer, a share-holder and member of the Pebble Beach Company, has made numerous changes that have included lengthening the course to more than 7,000 yards, adding trees and new bunkers and taking some of the fairways closer to the sea.
The first professional tournament, the Monterey Peninsula Open, was played at Pebble Beach in 1926 and carried a $5,000 purse.
Harry “Lighthorse” Cooper of Texas won with a 72-hole score of five-over 293.
In 1929, Pebble hosted its first major – the US Amateur.
Then a match-play event, it was won by Harrison R. Johnston of Minnesota.
Starting in 1947, Pebble Beach became the host courses for the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am tournament, sometimes known as the “Clam Bake”, and now called the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
The five US Open’s hosted by the 82-year-old Pebble Beach Golf Links have produced four of the game’s most highly regarded champions including Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tom Watson (1982), Tom Kite (1992) and Tiger Woods (2000).
It is was also the venue of the 1977 PGA Championship, which was won by Lanny Wadkins.
The Pebble Beach Golf Links is an 18-hole, par 72 which was lengthened to 7040 off the back (Black) professional tees for the US Open:
The first two holes are inland, the third runs toward the ocean, and the fourth and fifth holes run along the coast.
This arrangement allowed Neville to make use of a peninsula which juts straight out into the Pacific Ocean, allowing the construction of what, today, are two of the most breathtaking and strategically interesting holes in golf, the par-3 7th and the par-4 8th..
The lower “loop” of the figure 8 layout is formed by holes 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13, which brings much of the inward nine inland.
Unlike virtually all modern courses, Pebble’s 9th and 10th holes do not therefore return to the clubhouse.
Holes 14 and 15 are among the most inland on the course, but the 16th hole runs alongside the 3rd hole to complete the figure 8 and bring the dramatic closing holes back to the Pacific Coast.
These include the long par-3 17th, whose place in golf history was assured when both Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Tom Watson (1982) made key shots there to win their US Open titles.HOLE-BY-HOLE:
1st, 380 yards, par 4: An iron off the tee for many to try to keep the ball on the fairway. A birdie opportunity if that is done successfully.
2nd, 502yds, par 4: Converted from a par five for the 2000 championship and now 18 yards longer. With a narrow green flanked by bunkers, it could be a real brute.
3rd, 404yds, par 4: A dogleg left which usually calls for a draw, not necessarily with a driver, and then an accurate approach to a green which slopes from right to left.
4th, 331yds, par 4: Easily the shortest of the par fours, it has a big fairway bunker on the left awaiting tee shots directed away from the ocean on the right.
5th, 195yds, par 3: The small green is guarded by a bunker in front and a deceptive landing area to the left that looks safe, but will send balls careening into the rough.
6th, 523yds, par 5: The only par five on the front nine is uphill and usually into the wind as it climbs a high peninsula. The hilltop green is protected by bunkers.
7th, 109yds, par 3: The shortest hole in championship golf, America’s equivalent of the Postage Stamp at Troon. From the elevated tee the green looks like it is surrounded by ocean.
8th, 428yds, par 4: The first of three difficult par fours along the water. The drive is uphill and blind and the approach then played across the beach to a green perched on another cliff.
9th, 505yds, par 4: Lengthened nearly 40 yards from 2000. The fairway slopes toward the ocean and right of the green is a sheer drop down to the beach.
10th, 495yds, par 4: Almost 50 yards added to this one and again the fairway slopes down from the left with another green perched perilously close to a high cliff.
11th, 390yds, par 4: A blind tee shot to a very narrow fairway and a partially blind approach to a green that slopes severely from back to front.
12th, 202yds, par 3: Real care is needed on where to try to land the ball. When the green is firm the danger is bounding through into thick rough.
13th, 445yds, par 4: Thirty-nine yards longer. Fairway bunkers were added for the 2000 event, but the main feature remains the sloping green.
14th, 580yds, par 5: A dogleg right and a climb to the green which makes it reachable for very few. Pin placings can greatly add to the degree of difficulty.
15th, 397yds, par 4: With the rough brought in it is often a fairway wood or even iron off the tee, while the green is well-guarded.
16th, 403yds, par 4: Again a driver is not really needed unless it is playing into a strong wind. The green is framed by big Cypress trees left and right.
17th, 208yds, par 3: Remembered for Tom Watson’s chip-in birdie during his 1982 duel with Jack Nicklaus and for the long iron with which Nicklaus hit the flagstick 10 years earlier.
18th, 543yds, par 5: Curling left along the Pacific coastline, the drive is across the rocks, but only the brave and confident think of going for the green in two, especially with the title on the line.
TOUR OF THE COURSE
For a tour of the Pebble Beach Golf Link click here.
OTHER GOLF AMEMITIES:
The Pebble Beach Golf Links includes:
– Chipping and putting greens and the Peter Hay Par-Three Golf Course, practice range and a golf academy.
– It’s superbly stocked Golf Shop which carries some high-quality Pebble Beach clothing and accessories, sits opposite and first tee which is located close to the practice greens and the The Lodge.
Pebble Beach’s group of club’s offers a wide range of accommodation varying in price from $651 to $2800 per night at the Club’s Inn at Spanish Bay. The Lodge at Pebble Beach and Casa Palmera.
Pebble Beach Links
Resort Guests: $495 including cart.
Non-resort Guests: $495
Resort Guests: $360 including cart
No-resort Guests: $360
The Links at Spanish Bay:
Resort Guests: $260 including cart
No-resort Guests: $260
Del Monte Golf Course:
Resort Guests: $110
Non-resort Guests: $110
GOLF CAR RENTALS:
The rental rate at all courses: $35
State of the art Callaway clubs can be rented at all the above courses for $95.
WINING AND DINING:
Whether savoring an award-winning entrée, or catching a refreshing drink and casual bite before or after your round of golf, Pebble Beach Lodge with its wide variety of restaurants, grill rooms, cafes and cocktail bars can probably satisfy all your needs through its:
– Stillwater Bar and Grill (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
– Club XIX (diner)
– The Tap Room (Lunch and dinner)
– The Beach Club (Lunch)
– the Terrace Lounge (full cocktail bar)
– The Gallery Cafe (breakfast and lunch)
– An exclusive enclave with breath taking views, three turfed tennis courts of tournament standard, and an outdoor swimming pool are also offered to private club members and resort guests of the Pebble Beach & Tennis Club at Stillwater Bay
– The 2,000-square-foot, full-service Spa at Pebble Beach, nestled in the heart of the nearby Del Monte Forest offers a variety of massages, body scrubs and wraps, water treatments, skin care, nail care, and hair care.
CONTACT THE CLUB
– Resorts and Golf
Reservations: (800) 654-9300
Reservation Fax: (831) 644-7960
– Sales, Conference Services and Catering
Reservations: (800) 654-9300
Fax: (831) 644-7958
The Lodge at Pebble Beach
1700 17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Phone: (831) 624-3811
Guest Fax: (831) 625-8598
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