Pebble Beach: A Masterwork in Progress

1 of 7 Robyn Twomey
If a cypress tree falls at Pebble Beach, the chances are good that Casey Boyns will hear it. When a bunker is added, he notices too. A Monterey native, Boyns, 54, has walked the fabled course thousands of times, both as an accomplished amateur and a caddie. We asked Boyns to assess the changes that have been made to the routing since the Open last visited in 2000 and how he suspects the renovations — overseen by Pebble's A-list managing partner, Arnold Palmer — will affect the pros. "The course is much harder and much longer than ever, although it's still vulnerable for the first seven holes," Boyns says. "Nos. 8 through 12 are the meat of the course — whoever plays that stretch best will be your champion."
2 of 7 Evan Schiller
No.4 Par 4, 331 yards What's New Two bunkers along the upper left of the fairway Why It Matters Depending on the wind and the tee placement, this green could be driveable. But those bunkers will make guys think twice. In the past, I've see some of the big hitters in the practice rounds just bomb it up the left knowing they could just gouge a soft wedge to the green. Birdie. Now, if you bail left, you've got an awkward 50- or 60-yard bunker shot in.
3 of 7 Joann Dost
No. 6 Par 5, 523 yards What's New The old large bunker on the lower fairway has been removed and replaced by five fairway bunkers Why It Matters Those new bunkers really pinch the fairway and force you to aim your tee shot farther right. But if you go too far right, especially on shaved-down fairways, you're over a cliff into the ocean. I've played the hole twice since they made the change. One time, I drove it right into the ocean. The other time I put it left into one of the new bunkers. From there, it's no guaranteed par.
4 of 7 Joann Dost
No. 10 Par 4, 495 yards What's New A new championship tee, 50 yards behind the old one Why It Matters It makes the hole a monster. A lot of guys are going to have 200 or 210 in from a fairway that has the steepest sidehill lie on the course. The risk on the approach is that you lose it right toward the ocean, or you overcorrect and pull it left. Then you're faced with a delicate shot to a green that slopes away from you.
5 of 7 Joann Dost
No. 13 Par 4, 445 yards What's New Another new championship tee, 50 yards farther back Why It Matters This hole used to be a bit of a breather. You'd think, Phew, I'm through the gauntlet of 8 through 12. I can relax a bit. Now, with that back tee, if the wind's against, some guys will struggle to make the fairway. It's 268 just to clear the fairway bunker. Then you've got a long uphill approach that guys always underestimate anyway. I sat there watching them this year at the AT&T, and nobody got it to the hole. Everyone is always short.
6 of 7 Joann Dost
No. 14 Par 5, 580 yards What's New A shaved slope guarding the left side of the green Why It Matters At the 2010 AT&T, the bank left of the green was shaved down to the bottom of the hill, and you saw what happened to Paul Goydos (he made a 9 after some futile chips). The USGA requested that only the top half of the slope be shaved, so balls will stop sooner, giving guys more options. They can hit it higher, without worrying about the branches that come into play farther down the hill, or they can play a little bump-and-check. Then again, the green is going to be firmer, so balls not struck crisply can still run through the green, and you're back to square one.
7 of 7 Evan Schiller
No. 18 Par 5, 543 yards What's New Two trees in the fairway were replaced and moved farther down the fairway. A new fairway bunker was added on the right. Why It Matters Now you can bomb a drive right down the middle and be behind those trees, which to me is kind of gimmicky. I'm not a big fan of trees in the middle of a fairway. I think the bunker is more important than the trees. It really frames the hole. Aesthetically, it looks great. But it also prevents you from bailing out to the right. People always ask me, Do the pros reach 18 in two? It all depends on the wind. In the winter, the prevailing wind's behind you. That's why you see a lot of guys reaching in the AT&T. But in the summer, it's against you. Different story entirely.