- 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, California, United States, 93953
- 1800 877 0597
When it comes to golf resorts, few come with the history and aura of Pebble Beach. The famous links course is laid out on California’s Monterey Peninsula with stunning views of the dramatic coastline and the Pacific Ocean swell rolling into the rocky shoreline below cliff-top fairways and undulating greens. The bunkering is spectacular on this course, from the stunning 106-yard (97-meter) hole seven that sees you hitting directly into the teeth of the wind, to a cliff-top green with five sand traps surrounding it, to hole 15 with six fairway bunkers and three green-side bunkers, to hole 16’s island bunker in the middle of the fairway. You’ll be hitting over the ocean on hole 6 and 8, and putting next to it on holes 4 to 10, 17 and 18. The eighteenth fairway wraps its way around the shoreline as it doglegs to the left, with a long bunker on the left side your last hope to stop a ball headed to the water.
The Pebble Beach Golf Links has been ranked the No.1 public course in the United States by Golf Digest from 2003 until 2016 and No.12 golf course in its list of World’s Greatest Golf Courses – 2016-2017.
What makes the standard of the golf course even more remarkable is that two inexperienced American amateur golfers designed the layout before it opened in 1919. The story goes that local property developer Samuel F.B. Morse decided to build a top course to make the real estate more attractive. He brought in Douglas Grant and Jack Neville, two top amateur Californian golfers, to come up with the layout – it was their first. Neville told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1972:
“It was all there in plain sight. Very little clearing was necessary. The big thing, naturally, was to get as many holes as possible along the bay. It took a little imagination, but not much. Years before it was built, I could see this place as a golf links. Nature had intended it to be nothing else. All we did was cut away a few trees, install a few sprinklers, and sow a little seed.”*
Pebble Beach Golf Links has since become the stomping ground for celebrities and the game’s top professionals. That’s in large part due to crooner and film star Bing Crosby, who hosted the National Pro-Am Golf Championship in 1937 for charity with his celebrity friends. After the war, the first Bing Crosby Pro-Amateur Golf Championship was hosted at Pebble Beach. It eventually turned into the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am after Bing’s death, an event that has seen the likes of Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth raise the trophy, plus everyone from actor Bill Murray, quarterback Tom Brady and singer Justin Timberlake take part. It is the one PGA event that perhaps best shows the reach of golf as a popular sport.
Pebble Beach has also hosted four US Amateur Championships and five US Open Championships (1972, 1982, 1992, 2000 and 2010) and is set to host this major again in 2019.
There are five golf courses at the resort: aside from the Pebble Beach Golf Links, you’ll find the exceptional Spyglass Hill Golf Course (opened 1966, designer: Robert Trent Jones, Sr), The Links at Spanish Bay (opened 1987, designers: Tom Watson Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and Frank Tatum, links by the ocean), Del Monte Golf Course (the oldest course west of the Mississippi River, opened 1897, designer Charles Maud), and the nine-hole, par-27 Peter Hay Golf Course (opened 1957, designers Peter Hay, General Robert McClure and Jack Neville).
The first part of the Pro-Am is also played at Spyglass and nearby Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course. Spyglass, which takes its name and the names of its holes from children’s classic Treasure Island, is the other must-play golf course at Pebble Beach resort. It’s also regarded as one of the toughest challenges in the game, with a course rating of 75.5 and slope of 144. The layout starts with five holes that work their way between dunes with beautiful views of the coastline and nasty bunkers directly in front of greens, before the course heads into the Del Monte Forest with holes that feature a combination of tricky bunkering, narrowing fairways, numerous green-side ponds and elevation changes. Holes 6 (“Israel Hands”, a dogleg to the right with five bunkers), 8 (“Signall Hole”, a 399-yard/365-meter par 4 that goes uphill) and 16 (“Black Dog”, a 456-yard/417-meter par 4 that doglegs to the right but has a tree blocking your tee shot on that side) are particularly tough. Spyglass was ranked No. 11 in Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses in 2015-16.
The challenges: Pebble Beach’s bunkering on fairways and around the green will take its toll on the scorecard. High winds off the Pacific can make it a truly challenging course. Spyglass can be brutal. The first five holes have bunkers in front of the green, then the next 13 have a combination of narrowing fairways, elevation changes and green-side ponds and bunkers.
When to play: You can enjoy the courses year-round, but the best months in terms of weather are the warmer ones, May through to October.
Par / Slope / Rating / Yardage
Pebble Beach Golf Links 72 / 143 / 74.7 / 6828 yards, 6244 meters
Spyglass Hill Golf Course 72 / 144 / 75.5 / 6960 yards, 6364 meters
The Links at Spanish Bay 72 / 140 / 74 / 6821 yards, 6237 meters
Del Monte Golf Course 72 / 125 / 71.6 / 6365 yards, 5820 meters
Best hole: Pebble Beach’s 543-yard eighteenth is a spectacular finish as the fairway wraps around the shoreline as it doglegs left. It has the ocean on the left, two fairway bunkers on the right and then four bunkers surrounding the green.
The golf writer says:
“If I think about all the courses on the Monterey Peninsula in totality, I consider Pebble Beach to have the most number of jaw-dropping shots and backdrops in the region.”
– Fergal O’Leary
The resort experience:
Pebble Beach has three separate resort hotels, including The Lodge at Pebble Beach, the nearby Casa Palmero and The Inn at Spanish Bay, which is about 10 minutes’ drive from Pebble Beach.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach has been operating since 1919. This is a luxury hotel with a grand main building that overlooks the famous golf course and Pacific Ocean at Carmel Bay. Expect five-star service, accommodation, and facilities here. There are 161 stylish guest rooms, spread out across five buildings, on offer. The hotel features a spa, which uses herbs, plants and minerals from the Monterey Peninsula in its body treatments and massages. You can even receive a pre-game warm-up before you hit the links. The spa received the Forbes Five-Star Award between 2014 and 2016.
There are five restaurants at the lodge, too. Guests at the Lodge have access to the members-only Beach & Tennis Club and The Spanish Bay Club. The Lodge is dog friendly, too, and there is a dog day care for when you are out on the course.
Casa Palmero is a Mediterranean-style estate with 24 rooms, which each have fireplaces, king-size beds and giant tubs. The hotel has a library, billiard room and heated outdoor pool as well as a bar and lounge. The Inn at Spanish Bay has rooms with patios or balconies overlooking the pine forest, Pacific Ocean or fairways of the links course there.
Pebble Beach is approximately two hours’ drive south from San Francisco International Airport and less than 20 minutes’ drive from Monterey Regional Airport.
Dine and wine: The Lodge has five restaurants to choose from. Enjoy fresh seafood at the Stillwater Bar & Grill, a steak and beer at the Tap Room, a mix of meals prepared using open-flamed cooking and fine wine at The Bench, fresh coffee at the Gallery Café and a cocktail by the fireplace at the Terrace Lounge (which also has great views of the eighteenth hole).
A short drive to the Inn at Spanish Bay, and you’ll find six restaurants. Try the Pèppoli at Pebble Beach’s Tuscan-style Italian, Traps for a cocktail or Toscana burger, or the Stave Wine Cellar for some fine wine in an intimate setting.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach has rooms that offer views of the Pebble Beach fairways, the garden, or Pacific Ocean. A Garden View (550 square feet, 51 square meters) features a marble bathroom, wood-burning fireplace and patio or balcony. You can opt for two queen-size beds or a single and king-size bed but all come with top-quality Egyptian cotton sheets. If you want to upgrade, try the single-bedroom Deluxe Ocean View Suite. It has a parlor with seating, a marble bathroom with whirlpool tub, an entertainment system and ocean views.
As well as having a hot-stone massage and other such treatments in the spa, you’ll want to check out The Beach and Tennis Club, which has tennis courts, a fitness center and 25-meter heated pool and whirlpool spa. The Spanish Bay offers similar facilities for those staying on that side of the Monterey Peninsula. And for a bit of sightseeing, cruise down 17-Mile Drive take in the dramatic coastline between Cyprus Point and Pebble Beach.
* Source: www.pebblebeach.com/golf/pebble-beach-golf-links/course-history/course-architects
Winter waves on Pebble Beach’s 18th, photo by Tom O’Neal © (tgophoto.com).
Pebble Beach Hole 18, photo by Joann Dost. Pebble Beach Golf Links and its images and individual hole designs are trademarks, service mark and trade dress of Pebble Beach Company. Used with permission.