Jimmy Ferguson

Jimmy Ferguson's Take on Pebble Beach Golf Links


Pebble Beach, California | Pebble Beach Golf Links

Architect: Jack Neville & Douglas Grant
Year: 1919

1700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, California 93953
(831) 622-8795

driving range available
motorized golf carts and caddies available
affiliated resort accommodations

U.S. Open - 1972, 1992, 2000, 2010, 2019


Almost everyone who has ever picked up a golf club has heard of Pebble Beach. Those that haven’t may have been living under a rock. There are many great books available about Pebble Beach, so I’ll just give the very short story here. The course was designed by two first time architects Jack Neville & Douglas Grant – and what a job they did! Since opening in 1919, their maiden course has hosted five U.S. Opens and four U.S. Amateurs which is not too shabby for a couple of first time architects. Every year since 1947 the course also has played host to what was formerly known as the Crosby Clambake (as in Bing Crosby) and is now currently known as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

I was at Pebble Beach on a vacation with my wife. We were in California for a wedding and decided to take the opportunity to turn that occasion into a jaunt across most of the state. The Monterey Peninsula fell right in the middle portion of our trip. I was lucky enough to secure a tee time at Pebble Beach and on the appointed day we got up early and made our way to the course. Don’t want to be late for your Pebble Beach tee time! With a tee time of 8:30 AM I arrived in plenty of time to hit a few practice balls and was shuttle to the off-site range. It was nice to see the new driving range under construction which will be much more expansive than the current offering and a great facility when it is finished.

My wife had decided to walk along with me (and take all these wonderful pictures), so after some warm up we headed to the 1st tee to meet my playing partners. I was grouped with three Japanese men that were in town on business. Since they spoke very little English the resort had an interpreter on the first tee to introduce us. They were very nice throughout the entire round and we managed to communicate very well despite the language barrier.

I decided to play the gold tees which are listed at 6445 yards.

Hole 1 – 346 yards – Par 4
The first hole at Pebble Beach is an understated start to what you about to experience. The hole only requires a 200 yard shot right at the bunker seen here.
 
Pebble Beach Golf Links
 
The photo below is from about 140 yards out on the left side of the fairway
 
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Hole 2 – 460 yards – Par 5
The tee shot on the 2nd hole is seen below. There is not much strategy here, just bomb it up the middle.
 
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In the photo below, you can see the approach shot into the green. A wedge from here will do fine.
 
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The green, as seen below, is small. It fits the time period when it would not have been customary to go for it in two.
 
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Hole 3 – 374 yards – Par 4
The third hole was when I started to recall my experiences playing video games. The tee shot on this hole was tighter than I remembered from the television screen. Something 225 yards at the middle bunker in the distance is the best play.
 
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The approach shot seen below is from about 150 yards. The green is pushed up as illustrated in the photo below.
 
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A look at the green.
 
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Hole 4 – 307 yards – Par 4
The fourth hole is listed as a short par 4, but plays a bit longer with the uphill slope. The best play is to just hit it up the middle.
 
Pebble Beach Golf Links
 
The approach shot, seen below, plays significantly uphill. It was on this hole that I began to realize shots weren’t flying as far as I was accustomed to at home. This photo was taken from about 135 yards.
 
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Hole 5 – 142 yards – Par 3
The fifth hole was the first of the par threes. Pebble has a great collection of one-shot holes and the fifth is a worthy opening act. Note the hazard to the right, this reminded me that I was coming to the great seaside holes!
 
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A closer look at the green, with subtle undulation.
 
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Hole 6 – 487 yards – Par 5
Everyone knows the par 5, 6th hole, but the ocean out to the right was significantly closer than I expected. That probably resulted in my tee shot going way left!
 
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The second shot, seen here, plays up a steep hill. It was much taller than I expected.
 
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For the third shot, the hole flattens out for a stock wedge shot.
 
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The green has more undulation than the camera shows here. The flag was in the bottom of a little bowl.
 
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Hole 7 – 98 yards – Par 3
Anyone that didn’t know about the 6th hole definitely knows about the 7th hole. This is a tantalizing little shot that I was lucky enough to play with only a moderate wind.
 
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A view back up to the tee from the green. This illustrates how steep the drop off from the tee to the green is.
 
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A shot of the green.
 
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Hole 8 – 400 yards – Par 4
The tee shot at the 8th hole plays uphill and should be struck at the yellow house seen here. You only want to go about 230 yards, as I was only a few yards from the cliff!
 
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The shot below is looking back to my approach from about 170 yards.
 
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Hole 9 – 460 yards – Par 4
I didn’t get a shot of 9 tee, but below is the approach to the beastly par 4. There is a lot of elevation change down to the green.
 
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The green, as seen below, has quite a bit of slope from left to right.
 
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Hole 10 – 429 yards – Par 4
The 10th hole is another long hole with a driver down the middle being the best play.
 
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The approach shot into 10, note that you do not want to miss right, unless you want a walk on the beach.
 
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Hole 11 – 349 yards – Par 4
The eleventh hole plays on a line a little right of the telephone pole in the distance.
 
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The approach plays uphill to a green tucked behind large greenside bunkers.
 
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Hole 12 – 187 yards – Par 3
The 12th plays to a shallow green as seen here.
 
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And a closer shot of the green.
 
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Hole 13 – 391 yards – Par 4
The thirteenth hole plays longer than the listed yardage. A good line is just right of the left bunker. It was more of a carry than it looked, driver is recommended.
 
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The approach shot is really uphill as seen below.
 
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The green has quite a bit of slope from back to front as seen below.
 
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Hole 14 – 560 yards – Par 5
The three-shot 14th has a good dogleg to the right. A driver up the middle is the best play.
 
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The photo below shows the second shot. Note that the hole bends quite a bit to the right and is very uphill.
 
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Below is the approach shot with the huge bunker in front of the green. The flag was tucked on the left side.
 
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This first shot of the green really shows the slope from the right to left. It is about five foot rise.
 
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A zoomed in shot of the left side of the green.
 
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Hole 16 – 376 yards – Par 4
I missed taking photos of the 15th hole, but below is the tee shot on the 16th. A drive right over the left side of the bunker will leave you in a good spot.
 
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The approach shot seen below is a little downhill over some large cross bunkers.
 
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Here is a shot of the cross bunkers fronting the green. These pose a real hazard as they are about eight feet deep.
 
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The photo below was something my wife found interesting and I am glad she saw it. This was a tree near the green with a notch full of tees. An interesting spot for those that find it.
 
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Hole 17 – 170 yards – Par 3
And here we are at the seventeenth tee. Just a great hole that I will let the photo tell the story.
 
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And below is a shot of the left side of the green. It is very shallow on this side.
 
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Hole 18 – 532 yards – Par 5
Now I have finally reached the eighteenth tee. I can just picture Jack Nicklaus sitting on the bridge looking into the ocean or Tiger Woods getting ready to complete his massive win in the 2000 US Open. This is another photo that I will let tell the story.
 
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Below is the second shot from the right side of the fairway. The trees come into play if you happen to be on this side of the hole.
 
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Here is a shot of the approach from about 100-110 yards. Note the stiff wind blowing the flag.
 
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The bunkers were a difficult part of the course. As you can see below, they can be pretty deep. The sand was also very fluffy making solid contact imperative.
 
Pebble Beach Golf Links
 
Overall, I loved my experience at Pebble Beach. It was everything I had hoped it would be and I even had the typical Pebble Beach weather with it being overcast and breezy for most of the round. It is certainly a bucket list course that I would recommend to anyone. As a side note, I would also recommend eating at the Tap Room afterwards. You never know who you might see and the food is really good. I had the signature ale and it was a great finish to a wonderful day on a major championship golf course.