The Monterey Peninsula is home to some of the best golf in the entire world, with Pebble Beach sitting right at its epicenter. It is arguably the worlds’ most famous golf course, and one that people from all over the globe travel to not only play, but to enjoy the scenery and views at the infamous stop along 17-Mile drive. With one of the richest histories in all of golf, Pebble Beach makes a name for itself as more than just a course with views, but one of the best courses in the nation.
To me, Pebble Beach’s layout is a perfect example of championship golf. A course that can be set up difficult, but requires mother nature to show its teeth to gain its full effect. Pebble requires few changes or upgrades to host championship golf. Grow the rough up and get the greens rolling to a 14, and that’s about it. Sometimes mother nature will come into play and scores will be closer to par, and other times mother nature won’t show up for a week and scores will be lower. That’s the beauty of Pebble Beach in my opinion. The course doesn’t need to take manipulation from the USGA, or other governing bodies, in order to compete with today’s players. Sure, we all want those U.S. Open scores to be around par, but sometimes it’s just not in our control to keep them there. Pebble creates a challenging set up and scene for championship golf. Set up the course the best you can, and let the players and weather decide the rest.
In the past year or so, there has been a lot of golf talk about what Pebble Beach could be in terms of its layout and design. The course itself is fortunate enough to be located on one of the greatest landscapes in the world, where it runs along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Images resurfaced of Pebble Beach in the roaring 20’s, with the sandy dunes that encapsulated the property, instead of the neatly mown green grass areas of today. The sandy-dunes look, seems to offer a more natural view to its on goers, and while some of the other courses along Monterey Peninsula include these features, Pebble Beach does not, anymore. For sure, the sandy look at Pebble would be incredible, and would probably bring shades of comparison to its neighbor courses of Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Cypress Point Club, but would Pebble lose its current luster with that big of a change? Pebble Beach is one of the most popular courses in the world and a lot of people know the course for what it currently is. Everyone thinks restoring Pebble Beach to its original look would be great, but would the change create a loss of interest, or boost it even more? It’s hard to be all-in for a change to a course that is already one of the best in the world.
I may be in the minority here, but I love Pebble Beach for what it currently is. I realize that it might not have the most “natural” look, but I love the manicured green grass on the oceanside course. I think Pebble Beach is beautiful layout, and a challenge at that. It may not have the sand dunes or natural layout that most people are adoring in today’s architecture, but I always tell friends and family that even if it weren’t for the views, I still think Pebble would be a great golf course. If you took the Pebble Beach landscape, without the ocean, and put it in the middle of Indiana, then I still believe it would be one of the best courses in the state. Even without the ocean views, Pebble still has all the amenities of a great golf course. There is challenge, diversity in holes, length at times, and requirement for precision and accuracy. Yes, we all get it, Pebble might not be the most challenging spot on a day to day basis, but it still a demanding golf course. I doubt many people go to Pebble, play the right set of tees, and shoot under par their very first time out. Those small greens will hold up anywhere, with anyone.
I have been lucky enough to play Pebble Beach a couple of times now, (yes, humble brag I know), and each time I go back there still seems to be the same excitement and fascination as there was each time before. Anyone who is anybody in the game of golf has played Pebble Beach. When you’re there playing, you’re not just playing the course, but you’re taking a walk through history and time. All the major championships, amateur championships, and Crosby Clambakes, they are all bottled up into one round of golf at one of the most historic golf courses in the world. Some of the greatest moments in the game of golf have happened there. While some think that Pebble is not all that it could be, the aura around Pebble Beach lives up to all that it can be.