Played Pebble Beach for the first time a couple of days ago - middle of June. We were not staying at the resort so had expected to have to phone up everyday to see if there were lots for the 2 of us. On the offchance we called reservations on Sunday and were offered a tee time for Wednesday afternoon. A good start. We decided to take caddies to make the most of the experience. One slightly annoying feature was that as there were two of us we had to share a caddy between us for the same price as getting one each. They seemed a bit surprised when we asked if we could have one each and the answer came back no. Fortunately we were both hitting to similar areas and no wild slices and hooks - could have been an even longer round if that had been the case.
The practice putting green was running fast and true so expectations were high on the first tee. The caddy tried to point me (18 handicapper) to the gold tees and my friend (4) to the blues but we decided to both play the back tees. The first hole was a massive disappointment. The fairway was massively sanded - and the first green was a temporary! Bear in mind we had paid $450 each for this. No-one had told us about the condition of the course when booking or before - ludicrous. I would suggest anyone considering playing asks beforehand!
The first few holes are nondescript and really do feel like any American Country Club course. Cart paths, roads and houses making up the most notable features. From there though the holes on the water are clearly special. the par 5 6th is intimidating on the tee but actually quite playable. By the time we got to the signature par 3 7th the wind was up and yardages were not really much use. A punchy knock down was the order of the day which my partner managed. I put a gap wedge in the air and paid the price as the wind brought it back into the sand. 8 is a fantastic hole - the approach shot over a canyon truly spectacular and the par I got there will stay with me for a long time. 9 and 10 both are great holes, mainly because of the setting, before going back inland. This stretch is probably better than the first few inland holes Although the green on the par 5 14th is a bit ridiculous - after coming 572 yards is is pretty small and very angled. 17 and 18 are simply a great finishing 2 holes. The wind was up and 17 was playing a rescue for me. My partner parred it well. 18 is just a great walk up. Spolit for me by a 4 putt to shoot 92. Still, 2 over handicap from the back tees at Pebble was satisfactory!
Overall we didn't have problems with the staff that others have indicated. Everyone was friendly and the caddy pretty good. The day was slightly spolit by the sanded fairways and very inconsistent greens. Some were slow, some were fast and it was a question of having a guess when you got there. Overall though glad we did it, enjoyed the views and the history but there may not be a next time.
Date: June 22, 2007