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Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach

Del Monte Forest, California
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Channing Benjamin
Channing Benjamin
Del Monte Forest, California

Cypress Point is the course you can’t play at Pebble Beach, but thankfully Pebble Beach Golf Links is one you can. “If I had only one more round to play, I would choose to play at Pebble Beach. I loved this course from the first time I saw it. It’s possibly the best in the world.” Jack Nicklaus knows a good course when he sees one, who would argue with him?

Dating back to the 1930s and originally known as the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – as it is now called – is a 72-hole PGA Tour event which is typically held on three Californian, Monterey Peninsula courses. Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills have all been among the trio of host courses. The cut is made after Saturday’s play and the 60 leading pros and 25 pro-am teams play Pebble Beach for the tournament and the multi-million $ purse. However, back in 1937, Sam Snead picked up a relatively modest $500 first prize.

GalleryChanning Benjamin
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Channing Benjamin

Pebble Beach is Mecca for so many golfers and it’s such a joy that everyone can play here if they can afford it. At more than $500 per round, it’s not the cheapest green fee on the planet, but where else can you soak up so much history?

The course opened its tees for play in 1919 and Jack Neville laid it out with a little help from Douglas Grant (the first Captain of Canterbury Golf Club in England), but the course we play today is primarily with thanks to Henry Chandler Egan who remodelled the course ahead of the 1929 U.S. Amateur Championship. The culmination of their combined efforts, with a little help from the “Golden Bear”, had probably resulted in the most spectacular and memorable golf course in the world.

“If Pine Valley is the most dramatically beautiful pine-and-lakeland course in this country,” wrote Robert Trent Jones in the Complete Golfer, “Pebble Beach is its unrivalled counterpart among our oceanside courses. I say “oceanside” and not “seaside,” because “seaside has come to imply low-lying linksland, and Pebble Beach is quite the reverse. It is routed along the craggy headlands that drop abruptly into Carmel Bay.

While the architects of Pebble Beach deserve acclaim for the intrepidity with which they seized the opportunities the headlands afforded, it remains an enigma to me why they did not invoke the same shot values for the interior holes. The interior holes could not have been bequeathed the gorgeous excitement of the holes along Carmel Bay, but the same grandeur of design could easily have been sustained.”

Pebble Beach is a classically simple out-and-back affair but it makes the adrenaline pump. If you can ignore the beauty of the surroundings and keep your mind focused on the game, you might card a decent score. If you can’t ignore the thundering Pacific, just take a deep breath and enjoy yourself. With so many great holes to mention we’ll keep it brief. Holes 7 to 10 comprise of probably the greatest sequence of holes on the planet.

Take a deep breath and get your wallet ready for the rollercoaster golfing ride of its life.


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