Can’t believe anyone would give this less than top marks purely from a golf perspective. There’s a magic about this place and a history that to me places it above any of the ‘Members only’ institutions rated above it. I fear that some wallets have had more than quite a bit of influence on the more negative reviews. Having said that it is outrageously expensive but that does NOT and should not detract from it’s appeal. It is the only course in the US top 10 generally open to the public so it’s not surprising they can charge a premium and get away with it. If the other top courses opened their doors, Pebble would perhaps have to price itself more competitively although I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Contrast the U.S. top 10 with the U.K. top 10. In the UK, all of the top 10 are open to the public so even the very top courses are priced significantly more competitively.
Anyway, to the course... I was lucky enough to experience it on a benign and sunny day in December. I had been playing and scoring well before travelling to the States and I played well for the rest of the vacation too after I left Pebble. Even at Pebble I was striking the ball well but somehow I never even got close to my handicap. The course ever so subtely beat me to pieces and I’m still working out what happened (shot 91 off 9). It seemed like the slightest mistake resulted in double bogey. Managed to birdie 7 after stiffing it close off the tee which pleased me greatly although par at the 8th after pulling my approach back left and leaving the downhill chip from hell was probably the better achievement. I then proceeded to double the 9th out of nowhere. As others have said the stretch from 6 thru 10 (I would say 4 thru 10) is awesome. I’m trying to think of a 7 hole stretch anywhere to match it... possibly the seaside stretch at Turnberry of 4 thru 10. The 17th/18th are also awesome golf holes. Like St Andrews the 18th quite often has an impromptu gallery as busloads of Japanese & Korean tourists pass through.
To be honest if I was asked to name the weak holes, I’d struggle... 1,11,12,13 possibly, even so I’d be happy playing those holes every day. The pick of the inland holes from a difficulty point of view would have to be 14, after 570 dogleg yards a green to make even the best look completely foolish. The pro’s however might say 2 as they play it as a Par 4 rather than a 5 As I write it’s 3 weeks since I played it and I can still recall for each hole whether I hit the fairway and whether I hit the green in regulation. I can replay the vast majority of the round in my head. I don’t get that everywhere I play so that to me is my signal that I’d played a very memorable course. Alas, I cant remember every drink I had in the Tap Room afterwards. All in all I think it’s an awesome place that every golfer should experience at least once.
Date: January 09, 2010