Thursday, 10 February 2011

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Best feel shot in golf

I have had the good fortune of playing Pebble Beach three times. The first round was with my father in 1989 on a windy summer day. The second round was in high winds at my first ASGCA meeting in 2005. The last time was on a beautiful spring day recently with very little wind.

The golf course is one of the ten or twenty best the game has to offer and certainly a course that is worth paying the excessive green fee at least once in your life. I agree with many people’s contention that the interior holes are sometimes disappointing, but I’ll also point out that the greatest holes have no peers.

Some feel the openers are far too ordinary but I don’t. I think the first green is excellent, the second hole is very good long four and the third is a very strategic hole with the ways it’s designed. I certainly struggle with the recent bunker work on the outside of the hole which makes no sense and removes the subtlety. I personally think the recent bunker work is damaging the quality of the course. Which is too bad since I thought the work before it was an improvement from when I first saw the course.

Best Finish in Golf
The course really takes off at the 4th tee, a brilliant short four and highlight of the round for me. The 5th is stunning setting even if the new hole feels slightly out of character from the others. The 6th through to the 10th is flawless with the 7th being the greatest feel shot in golf. Even the 8th’s odd tee shot is easily overlooked because the next shot is so spectacular. My favourite hole of the set is the 9th a super dominant four that only accepts two exceptional shots.

The back nine suffers partially from the quality of golf that precedes it. We play the 11th feeling let down that the best run of golf is now behind us. The truth is the11th, 13th, 14th and 15th all have good green sites, with the 14th being a fascinating study in slopes. Interestingly for me the pin was set low right in 1989 and was a fun shot, which is now lost to the current green speeds. The 16th is an excellent hole set up by a canny and clever green slope.

The weakness in my opinion is the threes. The 12th is a plain Jane with little aesthetic appeal and very limited options from the tee. The 17th is the most overrated hole in golf where the green does not fit the shot and you quickly find out the aerials deceives you since nothing is visible from the tee. Fortunately the round finishes with the greatest final hole in golf. The slow curve around the bay makes the 18th strategically interesting and flat out beautiful.

I would pay to play there again. It’s very expensive … but it’s worth it!

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