The Itinerant Golfer

The Itinerant Golfer's Take on Spyglass Hill Golf Course


Pebble Beach, California | Spyglass Hill Golf Course

Architect: Robert Trent Jones
Year: 1966

Spyglass Hill and Stevenson Drive, Pebble Beach, California 93953
(800) 654-9300

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


This was my first of five rounds this week on the Monterey Peninsula. Spyglass Hill is ranked #52 on the list, but a lot of folks told me I’d like it better than Pebble Beach. Spyglass Hill is a nod to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island. Apparently Mr. Stevenson spent a lot of time in this area and was inspired by the landscape when he wrote the book. The holes at Spyglass Hill are all named after characters in Treasure Island.

Spyglass Hill is one of the Pebble Beach resort courses so players at this course suffer the same indignities at the cash register that they do at Pebble Beach Golf Links. I took my medicine with the cashier and went to the range to warm up. I had called the Pebble Beach caddiemaster the week before and requested a good caddie and they set me up with Bob Burke who is a regular looper for in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am PGA Tour event and has been carrying bags at Pebble and Spyglass for years. He was going to carry for me at Spyglass and at Pebble Beach. I met Bob by the 1st tee and was introduced to my playing partners for the day. There was the father/son team Scott and Carroll who were from Virginia of all places! Scott graduated from VA Tech just a few years after me. Then there was Steve from Boston, MA who was in Pebble on a week long vacation that was a gift from his girlfriend. Nice gift!

Spyglass wastes no time in getting you out to the views. After your tee shot on the 1st hole, a par 5, the first vista comes as you line up your second shot. The photo below is of the 1st green with the water view in the background. You can hear the sea lions barking for the all the holes along the water at this course. Pretty cool.
 
Spyglass Hill Golf Course Hole 1-1
 
The 2nd hole is not long and the tee shot is through a narrow shoot and then the approach to an elevated green. A very cool hole. Below is a photo from the tee box.
 
Spyglass Hill Golf Course Hole 2-1
 
The 3rd hole, pictured below, is still on the seaside and a nasty little downhill par 3. The rough around the green is U.S. Open length and if you get into it all you can do is hope to get out, which I discovered in short order.
 
Spyglass Hill Golf Course Hole 3-1
 
The 4th hole is a cool dogleg to the left with a tee shot over the dunes. In the photo below you can’t really tell if you are in California at Spyglass Hill or on Kiawah Island in South Carolina at the Ocean Course
 
Spyglass Hill Golf Course Hole 4-1
 
The green at the 4th hole is the only goofy thing on the course according to my caddie Bob. It is VERY narrow and long. Bob called it a bowling alley and that’s a pretty good description. The photo below only gives a hint of how long and narrow this green is.
 
Spyglass Hill Golf Course Hole 4-2
 
The 5th hole below is a cool par 3 with a great house in the background. This house is the primary residence for one of the Spyglass members as well as the house used in Clint Eastwood’s film Play Misty For Me. Not a bad little hut with the golf course and ocean views! Again with the long grass around the green. I put this one on the putting surface, but Scott tangled with the long grass.
 
Spyglass Hill Golf Course Hole 5-1
 
Speaking of Spyglass members, apparently they are going to lose their membership in a couple of years. Pebble Beach Resorts owns the course and the memberships lease on the course is just about up. It will be a full on public course once this happens.

With the 6th hole we head inland and the course begins to look a little more recognizable for this East Coaster. Once we’re off the water Spyglass Hill in a nice parkland style course with some good elevation changes. Also, the wind is dramatically reduced which is quite nice! Below is the 6th green with our last view of the water for the day.
 
Spyglass Hill Golf Course Hole 6-1
 
I had a pretty good day on the course once we got inland. Below is the approach at the 11th hole which is a really nice par 5 hole. I love the bunkering on this one. This was the site of my second birdie of the day.
 
Spyglass Hill Golf Course Hole 11-1
 
Below is the 15th hole and the last of the par 3s on this course. Interestingly, three of the four par 3s on this course played downhill to the green. I hit the fringe and two putted for a par on this one.
 
Spyglass Hill Golf Course Hole 15-1
 
Spyglass was a great course and I really enjoyed it, and it was nice to play well to start my week on the Monterey Peninsula off. I actually think I liked the parkland style holes better than the seaside holes. As for Spyglass being better than Pebble Beach, I think I have to disagree with that. There was no competition in my mind. If you want to play great seaside holes there are much better ones elsewhere on the Monterey Peninsula in my humble opinion.