Pebble Beach – The two most famous words in golf
No two words in all of golf elicit such praise and reverence as these…..Pebble Beach.
Ask anyone who has played there, or even anyone who has watched glued to their television, and to a person this is the Holy Grail of golf. Heaven on earth for those who play the game. A once in a lifetime experience for those lucky enough to have walked its hallowed grounds. And a dream yet to come true for the majority who someday hope to tread these seaside links on the Pacific shores of the Monterey Peninsula.
From the moment you arrive, hopefully via the famous 17 Mile Drive, the suspense builds. The gleaming white clubhouse and the small gathering of shops, cafes and the Pro Shop nearly envelop the practice putting green and first tee. You smell the salt water, stare at the Rolex starter clock, and if you are lucky, try to settle your nerves as you greet your caddy and fellow players.
The first hole is a short 377 yard dogleg right Par 4 but the tee shot may be the most nerve wracking you will ever have on any golf course. People in the shops, cafes and Pro Shop stand in silence and watch as you attempt to put a swing on the beginning of what may be the most memorable round of golf in your life.
If you survive the first few inland holes intact be prepared for what lies ahead. The fifth through tenth holes all front the Pacific and Monterey Bay and contain some of the most iconic holes in all of golf.
The postcard 7th hole is a downhill Par 3 of only 106 yards from the tips. It plays to a tiny green set on a peninsula jutting out into the bay. Many call this the most beautiful hole in all of golf. With no wind it is an easy wedge. If the ocean breezes are blowing this can play three or four clubs longer!
The 8th hole tee shot features a wide flat fairway that ends precipitously at the edge of a towering chasm. Another small green beckons from far below you and across a gaping watery grave for golf balls. This is one of the most heroic and intimidating shots on the course (or any course for that matter).
And on it goes. Holes nine and ten continue along the ocean which swallows any wayward shots to the right. Now the course turns inland again and back towards the safety of the clubhouse. Holes gently rise and fall amongst tree lined fairways and the 17 Mile mansions of the rich and famous.
Finally you’ve reach the famed 18th tee box, seemingly perched out in the water, overlooking perhaps the most well recognized golf hole on the planet. The ocean lines the entire left side. A large tree sits menacingly in what seems to be the middle of the fairway exactly where you need to hit your drive. Take some time to admire the view from the tee as it may be the last opportunity to relish one of the most incredible finishes of any golf course you will ever set foot on. Then thank the golf gods that the comforts of the clubhouse await your return. When your last putt drops, wave to the imaginary crowds, shake hands with your caddy and playing partners and take one last glance back at the famed finishing hole. Then go inside and have your beverage of choice in The Tap Room and reminisce over what was or could have been.