No. 8 at Pebble Beach, one of America's best -- and toughest -- holes.
Pebble Beach Company
Friday, December 26, 2008

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, Calif.
6,828 yards, par 72
Green fees: $495
800-654-9300
pebblebeach.com

\nService
Considering the price, you might expect champagne and caviar at every tee. What you actually get are smiling staffers at the bag drop and savvy caddies on the course. Pebble's got that going for it, which is nice. Now, about that Dom Perignon ...

\nPace of Play
Crammed behind groups of camera-clickers, we crawled around in five and a half hours — without encountering a marshal. The resort's indifference to this problem is an insult to any golfer who takes the game as seriously as Pebble takes itself.

\nQuality
There are holes you'll never forget (5-10, and the closing duo) and others (1, 3 and 11) you'll struggle to remember. Given the crowds, we can't demand pristine conditions, but it would've been nice if they'd mentioned that they'd just punched the greens.

\nValue
Sure, it's pretty. But the glacial pace and midtier conditions detract from what should be a storybook experience. Is a round of golf ever really worth $495? Maybe — if you don't mind skipping your monthly payment on the Mercedes-Benz.

\nVerdict
Pebble looms so large in every golfer's imagination that the place can actually have a hard time living up to the expectations. Still, if at all possible, you've got to try to play it once. Or even twice — especially if you have all day to spare.

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