There’s not a whole lot I can say about Pebble Beach that has not already been said. The course has been photographed, written about and reviewed at length. Below are a couple of notes and photos from my game here.
I originally had a tee time at 8:20AM, but changed it to 1PM so that I could play with Steve, who I had met when we played Spyglass Hill together on Monday. We were paired up with Scott from Arkansas and Keith from Chicago who were there together for a conference in Monterey. They were both great players with really silky swings and teed it up from the back tees. My caddie extraordinaire, Bob Burke who I had used at Spyglass, was with me again, double bagging it for Steve and me and he proved to be worth is weight in gold for another round.
At 1 o’ clock we teed it up and were off. My swing was a little shaky but Bob guided me around the course and took me out with a great front 9 including 6 one putt greens in a row. Here’s a couple of photos of key points on the course.
Below is the 6th hole. This is a great par 5 that includes a blind 2nd shot. I didn’t get my 2nd shot quite high enough and my ball met a sandy demise down on the beach. For my 4th shot I roped a 5 iron to just off the green where I got up and down to save bogey. The below picture is of the view from the top of the hill back down to where my second shot was played from.
The below view is of the 6th green.
This is the 7th hole, the signature hole at Pebble Beach. I hit a nice sand wedge here to the back fringe and with the help of Bob’s braille drained the 20 foot birdie putt.
Jack Nicklaus has often been quoted as saying that if he had one round left to play in his life that he would want it to be Pebble Beach and that if he had one hole left to play it would be the 8th at Pebble. That’s a pretty good assessment of the hole. It’s that great. I hit a utility club off the tee here and cut it about as close to the cliff as humanly possible. My ball landed conveniently just in front of the “Danger Steep Cliff” sign. That’s a bit of an understatement . . . losing my balance on the follow through of this shot would have resulted in a tumble about 100 or more feet down to the beach. The green I’m playing to is visible in the upper left corner of the photo below. It sure made for an interesting shot. I landed my second shot short of the green (left of the green from this angle) and in the rough behind the bunker. I got up with my 3rd shot and then down with my putt, again with Bob’s great read. Thanks Bob!
I managed to keep a really good round going through the 12th hole, but at the 13th the wheels came off the bus and I finally started getting what I deserved. Outside of a par at the infamous 17th hole, the site of Tom Watson’s chip in at the 1982 U.S. Open, the end to my Pebble Beach round was lackluster to say the least. I went from 3 up in my match with Steve to buying the drinks in the Tap room after he pulled a Tiger Woods on me as I fell apart on the last six holes. I did however have a nice time chatting with Steve Cohen (yes, by the end of the round 50% of our group was named Steve) of the Shivas Irons Society who came out to walk the last 5 holes with me.
One thing that was cool is that I was lucky to be there when they had the paint lines down for where the rough was to be grown in for the 2010 U.S. Open. Lets just say that the course plays A LOT more friendly for us resort players than it does for the Open.
Pebble Beach is a great course and anyone who has any enthusiasm for the game of golf is foolish not to get out there and play it at least once. Sure the greens fees are high and the round is long, but it is an experience every golfer should have. I recommend calling ahead and asking to be paired with a top caddie. I can’t stress enough how much of a help Bob was to both Steve and me that day.
One thing I should note is that in order to guarantee a tee time at Pebble you must stay at one of the Pebble Beach Resort hotels. If you are not staying at one of the hotels you can only book Pebble 24 hours in advance (same with Spyglass, except there is a 30 day window). When I called Spyglass 30 days in advance I was delighted to hear the reservationist said she could book Pebble for me then too. Apparently if the tee sheet is not filling up they will open it to the general public earlier than the standard 24 hour notice. Good to know and a great way to save the two night $1,300 hotel bill on your Pebble Beach golf trip!