U.S. Open 2019: Pebble Beach has a secret entryway from the public beach below it

June 13, 2019

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. — David Sansing, a retiree from Dallas in a TaylorMade hat, was out for a stroll with his wife on Carmel Beach Wednesday morning when he noticed a bluff to his right. Sidestepping the PRIVATE PROPERTY signs, Sansing scaled the rugged slope to get a glimpse of the greatest meeting of land and sea: Pebble Beach Golf Links, which this week is playing host to the 119th U.S. Open Championship.

“This is different,” Sansing said with a laugh when he arrived near the summit of the cliff, upon which the 10th green sits. He motioned back down toward the beach. “They’ll probably make you watch from down there tomorrow.”

Among the many charms of Pebble Beach is that it’s actually accessible from a public beach. It’s a simple process: Park your car on Scenic Road, which abuts the white sands of Carmel Beach, walk north about a quarter of a mile and you’ll come across a grassy, rocky, sandy bluff with the top of a flagstick just barely visible atop it. That’s the southernmost point of Pebble Beach, the green on the bruising 495-yard par-4 10th hole.

The base of the mini-hike to the 10th hole.
Alan Bastable

David Sansing takes in a different view of Pebble Beach.
Alan Bastable

Beachgoers aren’t exactly welcome to scamper up the bluff — three signs at the base of it make that clear — but if you don’t loiter too long, the PB security crew is unlikely to descend upon you.

Sansing didn’t seem concerned as he took in the action on a foggy windblown morning. Not long after he mounted the dune, a couple of British pros, Tyrrell Hatton and Lee Slattery, and their caddies were looking for a ball that had disappeared into the gnarly grass short and right of the green. Sansing joined the search party.

You can't see much of Pebble Beach from Carmel Beach.
Alan Bastable

Few others down on Carmel Beach appeared interested in the practice round unfolding above them. Sansing’s wife stared out at the bay. A youngster played with a remote-control car. A father and son with boogieboards braved the surf and chilly water. One man from Chino, Calif., was peering up at the course through a set of binoculars, but when asked if he’d spotted anything interesting, he said, “Marine fog.”

Sansing will have a different view of Pebble Beach on Thursday. He has a grounds pass for the first round and plans to arrive at 6:30 a.m. with the goal of walking the whole course. Wherever his itinerary takes him, he’s unlikely to have a view quite like the one he enjoyed Wednesday morning.