1700 17 Mile Drive,
California (CA) 93953,
- +1 800 654 9300
Hwy 101 S, take Hwy 156 W, then Hwy 1 S, take Pebble Beach exit.
Welcome book in advance
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, so who could argue with him?
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 $400 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.
Who likes controversy? Ok, I'm just going to say it, Pebble Beach is one of the Top 5 overrated courses ranked in the World Top 50 and arguably #1. That doesn't mean I don't think it's not a great course! Everything in the World Top 100 by definition is a great course so in essence we are always picking at straws when ranking them to a certain extent and then we haven't even touched on the matter of subjectivity.
So let me only speak objectively ha ha...the first 3 holes, really average, I mean they would not be special on a single course in the Top 100. The 4th, ok half the hole is decent. The 5th generally seen as great is highly debatable. Yes it has a beautiful location and it's hard with a narrow green for the length of the shot. Great it is not. 6 splits opinions, I'm going to call it a great hole because it has that rare element of quirk in the US and I really like the approach.
7 and 8 are the best holes on the course and yes all-world holes that deserve most likely to be in the lists of the best holes in the world. 9 is excellent, 10 is very good, then the holes up to 17 while good are not special. 17, I'd argue is considered great largely because of Nicklaus. Not in my book, especially because I'm looking at all courses stripped of their history when trying to rank them. What is special about putting a green that's too small and doesn't have many pin positions at the end of a long shot? Again it makes for a difficult hole but a great hole? No chance.
18 is another great hole, no arguments here. I'm counting 3 great holes, a whole bunch of sleepers and a couple others. An amazing scenic placement which is nearly impossible to think away and tons of glorious history that people can't separate from the course itself.
Doesn't sound like a World Top 20 course to me. Yet still it's ranked in the Top 10.
However, as a publicly accessible course it is most certainly one of the best in the US.
Again, don't get me wrong, it's great and I love the place. What's not to love? 6 hour rounds and a hugely tempting pro shop ala Disneyland to commemorate the experience and one of the best logos in the sport.
Love to hear your thoughts on why I'm wrong or right!
I mean, it’s Pebble Beach! Played here most recently right before the U.S. Open and it was a fantastic walk.
The landscape at Pebble Beach is undeniably gorgeous, and Jack Neville knew from the outset he had to take advantage of that spectacular coastline. And he did with holes 4 to 10 all played along the coastline to the furthest point of the course. This sequence of holes is undeniably one of the most dramatic in golf. Holes 7 & 8 are iconic.
And then there is the championship finish at Pebble Beach, when the links returns to the coast for the epic par 3 seventeenth hole, and possibly THE best finishing hole in tournament golf – the par 5 eighteenth hole. It's pure theatre, and something you will never forget!
While Pebble Beach is instantly recognisable from the images of the holes along the coast, the inland holes naturally suffer by comparison. But there are some good holes there of which I find the par 5 fourteenth and the par 4 sixteenth (set in its own ampitheatre) the most interesting.
Over the years the sandy wastes surrounding the playing areas have grown over, and these days the links is beautifully manicured, more akin to an inland course than a coastal links. The greens are small and unremarkable, but can be an elusive target to hit, even if the wind is not blowing. My advice would be to take a caddy, and strap in for the full experience. The caddies at Pebble are experienced and will save you shots. And some of them are real characters!
And don't forget to smell the roses...Take in the amazing views of Stillwater Cove, look around the course at the travelling caravans of people on each hole with groups of 4 and caddies all moving together. And then there are the zillion dollar mansions along the course boundary. Take photos. Take it all in. And afterward celebrate your round with a refreshment on the balcony at The Lodge overlooking the 18th green.
A round at Pebble Beach is more than a game of golf. It's an experience you will never forget.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
I just had my very first golf trip to California a few weeks ago and had the great opportunity to discover the Monterey Peninsula area and its beautiful courses.
After enjoying rounds at Poppy Hills & Spyglass, we teed up at Pebble at 7.30 on a sunny morning with very little wind & no fog at all. We walked the course and did not have to slow down or hurry up at any time during the round.
The course was absolutely stunning.
From the tee boxes to the green everything was in perfect condition.
We have been very surprised with the nasty rough and the very narrow fairways but a few weeks before the Us Open it is very easy to understand.
Finally, regarding the course, i must say that only holes 13 & 15 were disapointing.
All the rest of the course is as beautiful as you can expect. Holes along the sea are brilliant, beautiful & challenging (for a 3 hcp).
I live in France and have played many famous courses across Europe & GB and i must say that for me Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the greatest golf experience i've ever had.
Growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Pebble Beach was *it* - the pinnacle of public golf in the United States. Thirty of the top fifty public courses on Golf Digest’s 2018 ranking didn’t even exist in 1991 – and many, like Bethpage for example, were still somewhat unknown outside of their local area. That left Pebble Beach as pretty much the singular fantasy course for a young man fueling his obsession with golf. When it finally came to pass that I stepped onto the first tee at the legendary course with a few dozen people watching, the nerves were almost too much to handle, and I hit one of the uglier duck hooks in my career. Fortunately, my ball remained a few feet in bounds, and things got better from there. The Pebble Beach scenery is unparalleled regardless of direction – from the ocean cliffs to the multi-million dollar mansions – and it makes up for some rather mundane holes interspersed throughout the round. We were lucky enough to play it twice on beautifully sunny, nearly calm days which surely made for a different experience than many others.
As the host of many a major amateur or professional championship, Pebble’s layout is well-known, so I won’t go through the “best” holes, but instead I’ll highlight the three most underrated ones. For me, those are: #4, the uphill short par four with a bevy of options for both long and short hitter, #12, the par three with one of the hardest-to-hold greens anywhere, and #14, the boomerang-shaped par five with a crazy elevated and false-fronted green that (unfortunately) was recently replaced because it proved to be too penal under today's green speeds.
Time marches on, however, and Pebble Beach has been criticized by some modern architecture critics of being too much of an example of target golf given its smallish greens and narrow fairways and due to the unpredictable Monterey weather, not often playing firm and fast. It’s a fair criticism and I agree that I’ve had more fun on occasion playing other golf courses, but all in all I don’t care that much about those criticisms. Pebble is a unique, high-end, world-class golf course, and every golfer should try to experience it at least once.
PB is a world class golf course and world class resort. Went there with my wife for our 1 year anniversary and had the privilege of being the first tee shot off the first tee the day of my round. Played through the gorgeous Monterey Peninsula fog for a few holes before the getting to see the spectacular seaside holes I had seen countless times on television. PB is as very deserving of a top 10 ranking as any course.
If you're visiting California and have always dreamt of playing Pebble Beach, what are you waiting for? Perhaps, like me, you balked at the $500+ price tag, and that's even before you've paid to stay in the lodges (required to make any sort of advanced booking).
All is not lost however, non-guests can ring up the day beforehand and book a tee time, which is exactly what I did on New Year's Eve, securing a 1040 slot on New Year's Day. This short notice isn't practical for everyone but does gives the added benefit of an accurate weather forecast, and the weather will play a huge part in your Pebble experience.
Having read so many reviews from people who had regretted not playing on their first visit, I wasnt going to miss out, and I am so glad I bit the bullet and played. The course is a great test, and such an enjoyable walk. I cant wait to see how it plays for the upcoming US Open.
There are not too many phrases that transcend American sports culture, but if you say The Green Monsta, the frozen tundra, The Big House or Pebble Beach just about everyone knows what and where you are referring to. Is Pebble Beach a great golf course? Yes and no. To answer that, great needs to be defined, Pebble Beach is a concept, a brand, an aura, The Promised Land and Shangri-La all rolled into one.
In New England, February is depressing. The holidays have come and gone, football is over and baseball hasn’t started. It’s gray and cold day after day with the monotony being broken up by a snowstorm that forces you to go outside and shovel. You wake up, it is dark outside and it gets dark before dinnertime. The only good thing about February is that it is the shortest month. While T. S. Eliot claims April as the cruelest month, February just sucks.
When we had a TV that actually worked we had three and half channels, ABC, NBC, CBS and Public Television. As a kid growing up I remember watching the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, or as some referred to it as the Crosby Clambake. (On a historical footnote the tournament was originally held in Rancho Santa Fe, California and did not start its run at Pebble Beach until 1947) Prior to that, golf had always seemed kind of boring to me, but this tournament was different; these people seemed to be having fun! Yes, there were real golfers, but celebrities as well. My favorite was always Bob Hope. Watching people play golf in nice weather in a picturesque setting in the middle of winter seemed foreign to me. It could have just as well been taking place on the moon. At caddy golf one summer I still vividly recall George, “Sully”, Sullivan saying, “Here’s Colin Braithwaite from Marshfield, Massachusetts teeing off at Pebble Beach.” Guess what Sully, I actually made it and it is worth it! One of the few courses that I have played that exceeded my expectations.
Ironically, Pebble Beach was also a real estate play. A hundred years ago the SP Railroad owned the property and directed a young man in their employ; named Samuel Morse (a descendant of the Samuel Morse who invented the telegraph) to dispose of what was thought to be an unprofitable piece of property. Morse created his own firm Del Monte Properties Company and bought the 7000 acres which included the Del Monte Hotel and Del Monte Golf Course. The real value in the deal was the seven miles of waterfront property. Morse knew that to attract high net worth he had to have a high end golf course and Del Monte did not foot the bill. Ultimately, Morse contracted with a co-worker from the SP development company named Jack Neville, who had also won the California Amateur Championship five times
Pebble Beach opened in 1919 and has remained pretty true to the original design. One can argue that the first four holes are pretty pedestrian, although I did manage to three putt three of them. This is especially difficult to do as Pebble’s greens are fairly small by today’s standards. The new par 3 5th has been a huge hit. In 1915 Morse had sold off a five acre parcel and it wasn’t until the mid- 1990s that the club was able to reacquire it. The 5th was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in the fall of 1998. The par five sixth is much more intimidating than difficult. My caddy, Paul, with the wisdom of Solomon told me to avoid the ocean on the right. Something I never would have thought of so I hooked it into the bunkers on the left instead.
On to one of the most photographed golf holes in the world, the 106 yard par three seventh hole. I was extremely surprised when my caddy handed me my eight iron. I looked at him, looked at the hole, looked back and he said, “Trust me.” I said, “But it’s downhill.” Paul responded, “Trust me.” I said okay, but I am thinking this is way too much club. I tried to ease off of it, hit it pretty good but with a little hook. It landed on the green and just rolled off. (Of course the green is only 22 yards wide.) Paul looked at me, slowly shook his head and said, “You didn’t trust me.”
Onto eight, I took a deep breath and fired away at the aiming rock. That’s when the real fun started, I had 180 yards to the pin, which sadly was tucked back right. I debated what to hit and ultimately Paul said to hit a four iron to the middle of the green. I looked at him and he said, “You have to go over the chasm regardless. Just play it like a normal 180 yarder and give yourself a shot at making par.” After seven, I figured I had better start listening to him. I took the four and caught it a little chunky. Both Paul and I yelled at it to go, then Paul started saying, “Get in the bunker,” but it landed just short and started rolling down the cliff towards the ocean. Miraculously, it got caught up in some underbrush. I grabbed my sand wedge and started switch backing down the cliff. Paul said, “Are you nuts?” My response was, “The only way I am going to par this hole is if I try to make an up and down.” I should have listened to Paul, because I ended up with a triple bogey. There appears to be a trend here, two holes in a row I had not heeded my caddy’s advice and had paid the price. That almost sounds like a country song, “Heed Caddy’s Advice or Pay the Price.”
We finally made it to nine, a long downhill par four with the ocean to the right. Paul suggested I favor the left side and rolled his eyes. I was already on his do not invite list. I got up on the tee box; convinced myself to listen to my caddy and I hit a good drive. Sure enough it favored the left side, but between my draw and the wind it kept drifting left, landed in the fairway took a big bounce forward and left and came to rest in the bunker. I waded into the bunker and Paul said as he handed me my six iron, “Better to be short and try to make an up and down.” I nodded my head, set myself, made good contact and the ball came out nicely. I was rooting for the ball to stay right so that my pitch would be easier, when it hit a sprinkler head and catapulted forward to the left. Sure enough, I was in the greenside bunker, with a tight pin location and the Pacific Ocean behind that. I scraped it out and barely kept it on the green and made a two put bogey. Paul consoled me by saying that nine is the toughest hole on the course. I was jelly legged and looking for a drink.
Onto the back side. Sadly, the tenth looked like a replay of the ninth. I was in the fairway bunker off of the tee and then a greenside bunker on my approach shot. When I stood on the tee with the ocean right I could not bring myself to aim down the right hand side of the fairway. The par 5 fourteenth is a dogleg right with a kidney shaped green protected by a yawning bunker on the left. This bunker is at least five feet high and the green contours around it with a similar slope. Surprisingly, I did not end up in this bunker and I had a 12 foot birdie putt on the number one handicap hole at Pebble Beach! I was a little past pin high and the pin was in the middle near the crest line. Paul gave me a read and cautioned me not to be too aggressive. I, of course, was thinking I can birdie the number one handicap hole at Pebble Beach. My 12 foot birdie putt was the prelude to my 25 foot par putt. The par putt was predictably short, as the third putt was predictably long. I was petrified of repeating the sequence and mercifully lagged my fourth putt to within two feet for a smooth five putt. Talk about penthouse to outhouse.
Eventually, we got to the seventeenth which is a par three headed right back towards the ocean. This is a narrow figure 8 shaped green. Many of you may remember Tom Watson’s memorable chip shot at the 1982 US Open. I was fortunate to hit the green and had an18 footer for birdie. This one I was able to roll in.
The 18th hole at Pebble Beach, a lyrical and almost mystical phrase; if that doesn’t quicken your pulse, what will? I stand on the tee box take a practice swing, address the ball and let her go. A decent drive, by my standards, dry, findable and at least 198 yards. As we commence one of the top walks in golf I notice a wedding reception taking place at the Lodge. One certainty is that daddy has money, but I cannot help thinking, “That couple is doomed.” Without a doubt a wedding day is a great day, regardless of where it is, but how do you top a reception at Pebble Beach? I am sure that couple also had a heck of a honeymoon, but where do you go from there?
I get to my drive and Paul says keep it left. I sure do, overcook it and just as I think it is headed into the ocean it hits the retaining wall and bounces into the sand trap. I hit a nice 8 iron just short of the green, good chip and sink a three footer for par. As we walk off the green I reflect on my round; it seemed like I spent a lot of quality time in bunkers. After counting them up, it was fourteen in total. No wonder it seemed like a lot, almost one per hole. I was especially proud of the fact that I did not lose a single ball. Now the ball I started with was certainly battle scarred when we finished but it did serve me well. While I did shoot a less than optimal 92, I prefer to remember that I was one under par for the last two holes at Pebble Beach.
There are three courses likely known to most golfers given their regular appearance on television. In that threesome is Augusta National, The Old Course at St. Andrews and the renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links. Before going on -- it's a misnomer to call Pebble Beach a legitimate links course. The layout is located on land overlooking Carmel Bay and it surely doesn't have comparable firm and fast fairways as seen on vintage links courses.
I've had the pleasure in playing the course several times over the last 30 years and the rush you get as you make your way up the 18th hole is still a memorable one. What many may not know is that the existing par-5 was really a non-descript 379-yard par-4 which was changed through the insightful consulting of architect Englishman Herbert Fowler. It was Fowler who wisely recommended in 1922 the hole be extended to a par-5 with the present yardage one sees today at 548 yards.
There have been other key improvements to the course over the years. The most significant change came when the former par-3 5th was abandoned for a new hole created by Jack Nicklaus in 1998. The old hole was simply a concession to the reality at that time in not being able to get a small sliver of land occupied by a homeowner fronting the water who would not budge. When the estate finally came into play the Pebble Beach Company made a generous offer and was able to secure the land and commission Nicklaus to do the work.
The main issue I have always had with Pebble is the inconsistency of the putting surfaces. The greens at Pebble are not large -- roughly in the 5,000 square foot range. They are often tilted and when the wind picks up -- as it usually does -- these surfaces can be vexing to hit consistently with approach shots. The greens consist of poa annua and the inconsistency caused Tiger Woods to skip playing the annual AT&T PGA Tour stop after winning the 2000 US Open by a record 15 strokes. The poa annua causes all sorts of issues -- bounces in and around the cup can happen and pity the poor player who has a twitch in one's stroke because you can be at wit's end by the conclusion of a round.
I also have to echo what's been stated by a few others -- the pace of play at Pebble can be downright comatose. You have people intent on making the most of their day -- ergo taking endless photos at just about every situation. It can be downright maddening to crawl through the day because round are clearly beyond five and sometimes can be closer to six hours in length. When you have a place that does approximately 60,000 rounds per year one would think some sort of sensible pace of play mechanism would be enacted and enforced accordingly.
Pebble is also impacted by the weather pattern throughout the year. During the AT&T event which is played in February it's not uncommon for the course to play especially "slow" -- balls plugging and not rolling much after impact. In the summer months the course can be impacted by the daily ritual of fog enveloping the course. It's just hard to get optimum firm and fast conditions but when they do happen a round at Pebble can be a frightening situation as seen in the final US Open rounds of 1972 and 1992 when heavy wind dried out the greens and players were fighting for their golfing lives just to survive.
Given the charges involved in playing Pebble -- in excess of $500 -- it can be immensely disappointing when the course is not in top form on the day you're there to play. It's also best to take a caddie because if you opt for a power cart you'll be forced to stay on the cart paths and that can mean endless hikes to and from where your ball ends up.
The architecture at Pebble causes a mixed bag of feelings for me. I see the opening three holes as mere window-dressing for what lies ahead. The round really starts to pick up when you reach the under-appreciated short par-4 4th. The hole can be driven by the long tour players -- and several of them did so during the '10 US Open -- which was Pebble's 5th time in hosting America's national championship.
The new par-3 5th is a solid hole and when you reach the par-5 6th you head out to the coastline for what is arguably the finest seaside stretch in golf. The short par-3 7th has been seen countless times -- it can be a mere flip sand wedge or full bore long iron. The green is also devilish -- you can't assume anything is stone dead given the contours present.
The trio of world class par-4's starts at the 8th. It's been said by Nicklaus the approach at the 8th is the finest in all of golf and it's hard to really say otherwise. You see the green sitting below as you scan the scenery from the nearby bluff on the other side. With the surf pounding against the shore it's hard to keep one's mind on the immediate task at-hand. Like so many other greens at Pebble the 8th is a chore to putt. Go too far to either side -- or worse yet go long -- and escaping with no more than a bogey is an achievement.
The long 9th and 10th run alongside the coast and both are stellar long par-4's. If you don't hit the fairway the probability in making par on either is close to slim and none. I really like the 9th -- the key is getting a tee shot down the right side - but that's where the most danger lies. If you reach the fairway bunker on the left side you'll be thrilled to walk away with just a bogey. Being on the left side only adds to the torture because the green is not as receptive to approaches from that side.
The 10th is an interesting hole in that the angle from the tee is different than the 9th. The fairway is much close to the coastline and the green hangs just as near. The best angle is from the right side but the play must be executed flawlessly to secure the reward.
When Pebble turns inward at the 11th you face a letdown in terms of hole quality. The par-3 12th is often undervalued because hitting the green is no easy feat -- especially with the frontal bunker that awaits even the slightest of mishits.
The par-4 13th is not especially scenic but can be deadly if the approach shot is not played smartly. The putting surface is especially banked from right-to-left and should any approach be played indifferently a quick three-putt can happen in a New York minute. I've also heard there are plans to alter the hole somewhat in the near term.
Recently, the folks running Pebble Beach opted to make a bit of a change with the par-5 14th. The hole tempts the strongest of players to cut off the corner of the dog-leg right. Even when doing so -- the 2nd shot must reach an elevated target protected by a solitary bunker in front and bolstered by another putting green that is quite severe. Fortunately, the recent modifications have added other pin locations so that the hole has more elasticity than it did previously. The hole still has its demands but now it plays more fairly.
I have never been a big fan of either the par-4 15th or 16th holes. They are good but just a filler for the final two holes. Both of the aforementioned holes have tilted greens so being precise with the approach shots pays dividends.
The par-3 17th is well known to most golfers. The penultimate hole features an hourglass green and is a demanding no nonsense target to hit at 208 yards -- particularly when the pin is placed in the far left corner. In recent years there's been some slight changes to provide a bit more target area for players to land one's ball. What one cannot fully appreciate when watching on television is how challenging the shot is on the 17th. Players have to have total command of ball flight and distance control. The wind can whip around and the slightest pull can find water to the left of the green or any of the greenside bunkers. I find it amazing to watch previous US Opens at the 17th when Nicklaus almost holed his 1-iron in the final round of the '72 US Open and 10 years later when Tom Watson chipped in from the left rough to edge out the Golden Bear from possibly winning his record setting 5th US Open that year.
The 18th has been seen so many times it's hard to really add much. I like the hole because when you stand on the tee it requires a steady nerve to avoid Carmel Bay on one's left and bailing out right where possible out-of-bounds is located. Getting home in two shots is doable -- but only under proper conditions and when married with adroit execution of the highest caliber.
In 2019 Pebble Beach will host its 6th US Open -- coinciding with the 100th anniversary of its founding. There's no question the highly touted holes deliver in a tour de force manner. However, the course does have key lulls and those situations cannot be so easily dismissed. Pebble is still a special place but when held against the likes of neighboring Cypress Point I'd opt to play the private layout no less than seven (7) times for every ten (10) rounds.
The name Pebble Beach will always be revered by most golfers, however, when assessing the totality of its architecture the course is anchored down by too many mediocre hole. For those with a bucket list the need to play Pebble Beach will be a thirst that must be quenched. I have been able to drink from that bottle and while the taste was truly refreshing it still left me wanting just a bit more.
by M. James Ward
One of the defining characteristics of Pebble Beach is its small greens. They are, along with Inverness and Harbour Town, some of the smallest to be found among the world's great courses. The first three holes at Pebble Beach are inland and serve as a good warm-up for what's ahead. I think the course routing makes sense at the start. That is, start with some less-than-dramatic holes to get the adrenaline under control and allow a golfer to get into a rhythm before tackling the challenge along the cliffs that lie ahead.
Pebble Beach has some very dramatic scenery and some wholly interesting golf holes. In particular, I liked the short (less than 100 yard) par three seventh hole which plays downhill with the majestic vista of Monterey Bay in the background. I would be hard pressed to find someone that doesn't like this hole. I also think that the eighth hole is one of the best in the world. It is a 416-yard par four that is a dogleg to the right and plays along precipitous high cliffs. From the tee you have no real sense of how difficult the hole is going to be. Your view off the tee is blocked by a slight hill. The eighth hole falls off dramatically on the right hand side where the edge of the hole meets the cliffs and produces vertiginous views if you get too close to the edge. A safer tee shot is down the left side. Your second shot has to carry 170 yards over a giant chasm to the tiny green, with a safer play being to the left.
Pebble Beach is such a good course because it offers many of these risk/reward choices during the round. Some of the holes away from the water are good, not great holes (11-16). The finishing hole stands on its own as one of the singular holes in the world of golf. The reason the course is so highly ranked is that the holes along the water are so well designed and strategic, that they over-compensate for the inland holes that are not.
John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs