Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach earned Platinum status in Golf Magazine's 2012 Premier Resort rankings

Whether treated as a group or as separate entities, the Lodge at Pebble Beach, the Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero are all unquestionably Platinum quality. Of course, the Top 3 Golf is why most make the pilgrimage, with fabled Pebble Beach having hosted the 2010 U.S. Open and more than holding its own against the world’s best. Food & Drink took a hit when upscale Club XIX closed its doors in October after 47 years, but golf’s most storied 19th hole, the Tap Room, still welcomes post-round tippling, and Stillwater at the Lodge continues to serve up fine food and unforgettable ocean views.

Pebble Beach is consistently ranked as one of the top courses in the U.S. and the World by Golf Magazine's panel of experts.

To step onto the first tee is to risk an anticlimax. Like Augusta National, golfers know the course so intimately from television that it can seem less dramatic in person. After all, as an annual stop on the PGA Tour, this isn't a course that only steps into the major spotlight every decade or so. Telecasts often lavish attention on Pebble's closing holes, but the real magic is to be found on the front nine. The most spectacular series of holes you'll find anywhere are Nos. 5 through 8, which are on the promontory between Stillwater Cove and the Pacific Ocean.

The truth is that Pebble Beach is bland off the tee -- this is entirely a second-shot golf course. You can survive misses with your driver, but misfiring on your approach shots will make it a very long day. (It will be a long day regardless -- a round will take upwards of five hours.) You won't be writing about the opening few holes in your postcards home, but beware the deep cross bunker in the fairway on the second. Caddies call it the Yao Ming bunker after the 7-foot-6 Rockets center entered it and disappeared from view.

For most golfers, Pebble is all about the final two holes. Who doesn't want to try recreating Tom Watson's chip-in from the 1982 U.S. Open or Jack Nicklaus' 1-iron that clattered against the flagstick a decade earlier? That's the charm of Pebble: a mixture of familiarity, history and superb golf. Is it worth the pricey greens fee? Sure. At least once.

-- Eamon Lynch, from The Road to Pebble Beach


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