I have had the pleasure of playing some great golf courses in my short life, albeit not always playing the best golf at the time. Regardless of my swing on the day, my appreciation for the immensity of the surroundings has always been something that I’ve soaked up – none more than Pebble Beach. I have watched many PGA tournaments at the hallowed course but nothing compares to walking it your self. Every hole at the course delivers perfect postcard scenery as the Monterey coastline lights up for your pleasure.
When you enter the pro shop, expect to be stung, and for good reason, it’s not one of the most exclusive courses for public play in the world for nothing. Luckily with expense comes service (much like the rest of the US) and the friendly staff address you like a tour professional and cater to your every need. You are driven to the driving range to test out any number of sets of clubs you will be hiring to use, and more often than not you are treated to a quick few tips from the course pro. Finally there’s a good chance you’ll bump into some high-ranking individuals, as an unnamed US senator was playing two groups ahead from us on the day.
The Pebble Beach Golf Links is an 18-hole, par 72 which shareholder and member of the course Arnold Palmer has lengthened since the US Open in 2000 adding more trees and bunkers, and taking some of the fairways closer to the sea.
The first two holes are played inland. You tee off up past the exclusive houses that surround the first fairway with the second hole wrapping back with a dogleg left towards the start of the ocean holes. Here the designer Jack Neville fully utilises the peninsula which juts out straight into the Pacific Ocean and sets up the spectacular and strategically placed holes in the Par 3 7th, and the Par 4 8th.
The 7th hole stares straight into the ocean which makes the elevated green appear tiny. Whilst clearing the smile from your face as you approach the tee box, you need to disregard the beauty and fully concentrate in putting your ball high, trusting that a on onshore breeze will hold it up, dropping it onto the beautifully manicured green.
The 8th hole (feature image) is a blind tee shot with a sheer cliff drop to your right. Taking the time again to set yourself for the shot (which is what you tend to do on every hole) is again the key. Pin point accuracy and distance is needed if you don’t want to have your second and approach shot cutting too fine an angle over the water. This is the first of the hard 3 par 4’s with the blind approach then played across the beach to the green on another cliff. Jack Nicklaus has called the 8th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links his favourite par 4 in the world.
The entire course is magical but the 18th Hole heading back towards the clubhouse is a highlight. Water on your left licks even the best players minds. Players know that transfixing on such things as “water or sand” will more often than not direct even the most overcorrected stance and stroke to that very stage. A beautiful finishing hole to a perfect course.
If golf is your passion, then I suggest this course is added to your bucket list. There is nothing missed in course design, management and sheer beauty. A truly remarkable course, and a round that you will never forget.
Feature Image: Joann Dost (Gallery Sur)