The Links at Pebble Beach

After more than ten years away from golf, with work, and life in general getting in the way, there came the opportunity to play the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links, and my life has never been the same.

This article attempts to capture some of the magic of my time at this special place, and will be the first writing of my online journal Taking the Loop.

I hope you enjoy the words and pictures I’ve put together. This is the beginning of golf’s second chapter in my life, and I welcome you to join me for the walk.

The Lodge & Village are a warm welcome to Players and Guests

Pebble Beach operates as a 5-Star golf resort complex, consisting of four golf courses and twelve dining venues across three full-service hotels, complete with gym, tennis and spa facilities.

Opened for play in 1919, and hosting its first USGA US Amateur tournament in 1929, the Lodge at Pebble Beach dates back to 1909, having served the earliest travelers of the trans-continental railroad. 

Golf history can be found throughout the Shops at Pebble Beach

Stopping in for a breakfast burrito and coffee along with all other players who were there to be challenged on this championship course, excitement surpassed nerves. 

For me, stepping onto the first tee-box at Pebble Beach had been a childhood dream. Seldom breaking 100 throughout my younger years, today’s round was going to be a celebrated ‘bucket-list’ experience regardless of my quality of play. That being said, I hoped I was at least able to keep up with my group.

Hole #6

After hitting the #1 fairway with a slow-and-easy cut just up the right hand side, any tension that had built with anticipation began to fade as the beauty of my surroundings washed over me. 

With the foggy, coastal marine-layer of Monterey heavy above the trees, our foursome including a fleet of caddies and fore-caddies were off.

…And for the rest of that afternoon, I had a chance to experience playing Pebble Beach for the very first time.

Legendary Hole #7 and the Gang

One of the most televised as well as simulated golf courses in the world, walking the fairways of this immaculate routing with a caddie-team that had a combined +40 years of residency, brought its rich past and historic surroundings to life.

Hole #9

Apart of the certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries Program, an enthusiastic flock of seagulls joined our group at the oceanfront, bringing with them a swirling wind that added complexity to both club and shot selection. I recall this moment as one of several times I thanked Greg, my caddie, for keeping me out of harm’s way.

As a word of caution, watch out for Hole #9. Playing as the hardest hole on the course during the 2019 US Open, I made two decent swings and still came short of reaching the green in 3. 

Hole #10

The walk along this scenic strip of coastline was one of the most enjoyable parts of the round. Whether I was assessing the next shot, admiring some of the oceanfront estates along the course, or just ‘breathing in the fresh air’, I found myself constantly pointing out something to anyone that would listen.

The wide left-to-right sloping fairway of Hole #10 is inviting. Try to shorten your second shot by any means available. This fast green sits on a cliff, and with bunkers guarding all sides, missing left, right or long here is not without penalty.

Hole #17

Hole #17 has hosted two of the most famous shots in U.S. Open history — Jack Nicklaus clinching the 1972 championship by hitting the pin with a 1-iron, and Tom Watson chipping in for birdie to take the title 10 years later.

It was incredible to me how narrow the middle of the green complex is on this hole. Avoid the sand at all costs unless you have a bunker game you can count on. This little beauty added +3 to my card.

Hole #18

There is a unavoidable appreciation for the elements converging as you stand on the tee at #18. The whipping onshore wind and crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean against the rock-scape that runs the length of this finishing hole evoke a reverence for that very time and place.

Gratitude to God and those that have allowed me to be here now… and to my caddie, who will make sure I can make it home safely!

Hole #18

Play it safe and miss to the right on this long par-5. Avoid the water, and remember that the green on #18 slopes from right to left. 

With the lively energy of 19th green set just off the course at ‘The Bench’, it is easy to get distracted while approaching the green. I stay locked-in and finished strong making par and shaking hands with my fellow travelers. 

Make sure to finish the round ‘green-side’ at The Bench

Overall I played better than expected, finishing with a 92. Both satisfied and ready to relax, it was time for some R&R. What a day on the course it had been!

Get out early and say hello to the Locals

Golf, as a sport, embodies the principles of conservation. The profound respect for wildlife, nature, and the interactions within sanctuary environments, like Pebble Beach, serves as a continuous reminder for golfers about the critical significance of our stewardship towards Earth’s natural habitats.

If staying at the Lodge, warm up in the gym on StillWater Cove

Until Next Time

The entire experience of Pebble Beach is over the top, and one that should not be missed.

Embark on a journey to experience premium golf amidst the renowned 17-Mile Drive. Complemented by exquisite dining, vibrant club-house camaraderie, and luxurious lodging options, this is a destination for golf enthusiasts, nature lovers, food connoisseurs, or anyone seeking laid-back, service-forward resort living.

Thank you to VP and Director of Golf John Sawin for the opportunity to play your gorgeous course, and thank you to everyone on property who took such great care of us during our stay. Your service was truly world-class. 

I look forward to returning for years to come.

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