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Course Spotlight: Pebble Beach Indoor Golf Course Profile
For the past two decades, Golf Digest has consistently voted for Pebble Beach as the greatest American public golf course. The property is worthy of its accolades. It’s sweeping and epic – legendary for its unparalleled seaside views and iconic shots and holes.
X-Golf Fort Collins hosts three different indoor courses from this stunning California property: The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill, and The Pebble Beach Golf Links. It’s a joy to practice on any of these courses at X-Golf, but let’s take a deep dive into the most famous of the bunch – The Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Pebble Beach Golf Links reached its storied centennial in 2019. The figure-eight layout of the course was originated by Douglas Grant and Jack Neville, who were inexperienced as designers beforehand. Although they had no experience designing courses, the two were experienced amateur golfers, however, with multiple championship medals under their belts. Grant and Neville came to the Pebble Beach property with the basic idea to get in as many holes as possible alongside the Carmel Bay.
The layout at Pebble Beach Golf Links was originally called “Del Monte’s Second Course.” It was preceded elsewhere by “Del Monte’s First Course” (of course). Del Monte’s First Course opened in the late 1800s, and it was the centerpiece of California golf at the time. Both of these Del Monte courses were adjuncts to the well-known Hotel Del Monte.
Opening day at Pebble Beach Golf Links was marked by 50 players gathering around a cherry tree to honor George Washington’s birthday. With their wide smiles posted on the front page of the local paper, these players made their public pledge to turn in honest scorecards – honest as George Washington.
The course saw many refinements throughout its first decade. Sheep were originally part of the low-budget maintenance, but they were the first to go. Later on, the 18th hole was changed from a sad 379-yard par 4, to a stellar 555-yard par 5. Additionally, bunkers were added to holes 8 and 13. Soon, Pebble Beach became the first course to host a USGA event west of St. Louis.
Tournaments and Winners on the Course
The very first pro tournament at the Pebble Beach Golf Links was the Monterey Peninsula Open in 1926. The winner was a Texan: “Lighthorse” Harry Cooper. He had a 72-hole score of 293 (+5).
Later on, in 1947, Pebble Beach became a host course for the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am tournament. Bing was an avid golfer who came up with the idea for the tournament, which was popular with Hollywood stars and pro golfers. It was called “the clambake” as Bing enjoyed hosting a fun after party at the time.
In 1986, nine years after Bing Crosby passed away, the AT & T Corporation took up title sponsorship. The televised AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am has seen the winner’s share go up throughout the years, with the first sum breaking $1 million in 2008 earned by Steve Lowery. Some standout players earned the champion title on more than one occasion at Pebble Beach, including Marc O’Meara (’89, ’90, ’92, ’97), Phil Mickelson (’98, ’05, ’07, ’12, ’19), Dustin Johnson (’09, ’10), and Brandt Snedeker (’13, ’15).
Pebble Beach has also hosted a few U.S. Opens. Back in 1972, it was actually the first public course to host an Open.
Exciting and Noteworthy Holes at Pebble Beach
The holes at Pebble Beach bring loads of fun and glory to the game. One of the most exciting of the bunch might be the 6th, with its par 5 climb that spans a nice 506 yards. The climb is a dramatic four stories, and at the top, you’ll find a stunning second fairway. This fairway is on a small, unattached cliff that looks out onto the bay, so you’ll feel the intensity of each rush of breeze.
The 7th hole is a fun little jaunt – not particularly challenging at par 3 – but it’s a quick 106 yards where aces can be (and have been) achieved.
Skipping down a bit later to the 14th hole, you’ll discover a rare beast. Amazingly, this hole played over par at the 2019 US Open. The hole might look deceptively smooth from a quick 2-D photo overview, but once you experience it in 3-D at X-Golf, you’ll discover a challenging elevated green.
Finally, the 18th hole awaits at the end of the game – one of the most well-known holes in golf. A broad-based tree down the fairway adds to the thrill of the unknown as you attempt to send your tee shot to the left. Or, you can stay to the right of the tree and the craggy cliffs and try your best to deal with the sand.
Geography, Grass, and Weather
Many of the holes at Pebble Beach slope down to Carmel Bay – but even if they’re not going down to the water, they’re sloping off in one direction or the next. The wind whips around at a sometimes serious pace, providing an interesting visual contrast with the smooth slopes of the course.
White-capped waves dash at the slopes of the many cliffs, and the sound of the ocean is both lulling and invigorating. Don’t let the water put you in a trance, though, because you need deep focus on this course.
Most golfers know about the poa annua grass used on the putting greens at Pebble Beach. Interestingly, poa annua is technically a grassy weed with a shallow root system. This low-growing turfgrass makes for a satisfying feel out on the green.
Cost to play Pebble Beach
For the real-life Pebble Beach, rates vary throughout the year, but the typical price usually hovers around the $600 mark (not including cart fees, caddie fees, and club rentals, which can easily add a couple of hundred more). Before making that sort of one-day investment – not to mention the cost of lodging and the trip out to the coast – you can consider honing your gameplay at one of X-Golf’s indoor simulators. You’ll enjoy the same strokes and realistic challenges at a fraction of the cost. Get ready for the experience at X-Golf.