Golf Courses - Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill — Pebble Beach golf



by Michael Castello

Two of golf's greatest courses, Pebble Beach and Spyglass, abut 17-Mile Drive - one of the most beautiful stretches of oceanfront in California.

The resort placed us in the Sloath Suite at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, with stunning views of the 18th hole and Pacific Coast.  And what living this is. Since Pebble Beach Golf Links officially opened in 1919, it has been one of the world's most prestigious spots to swing a club.

Second only to St. Andrews, Pebble Beach has the history and pageantry to match the world-class qualities. With a greens fee of $495, it is pricey, but we feel the experience is well worth it.

The Pebble Beach we know today was the dream of Samuel Finley Brown Morse, a distant cousin of telegraph-inventor Samuel Morse. Until his death in 1969, he worked tirelessly to preserve the area's natural beauty by ensuring that easements would protect forest and coastline along 17-Mile Drive for future generations.

The 1st tee is possibly the most intimidating in the world. Your play is watched from the restaurant seats and townhouse suites and will be met with silence unless you hit a sweet drive. We had intermittent drizzle and sunshine, which only made the game more interesting, and several areas are downright hazardous with sheer drops to the ocean below.

The tempo of play is good, and friendly marshals will gently help you along if you get too distracted by the multi-million dollar houses and picture-perfect scenery. Our favorite holes were the notorious par three 7th on the ocean and the challenging par five 18th.

At the end of the round, you're rewarded with a Pebble Beach / Spyglass medallion for your golf bag. And this is a good time to hit the 19th hole to reminisce the day's achievements. Take a walk or absorb the history within The Lodge. There are several good restaurants and boutiques on the premises, and we suggest the sports bar Sticks for a quick drink, which also has a wonderful ice-cream sundae that put the calories back on for our next day's venture to Spyglass.

Spyglass is the "diamond in the rough" of 17-Mile Drive, and we were rewarded with wide fairways and an eight point deer running down the middle of the 1st green as we approached it. With its large pine tree forest spilling onto windswept beaches, and several holes mingled within, the layout at Spyglass is spectacular.

The morning shadows and light make for some interesting perspectives when drawing near the greens. One needs to walk several feet around the ball to get a good feel of the angles, and this course is famous for its perilous bunkers. If you do not pitch out away from these traps, you will cascade into another. Water surrounds many of the inner course holes and there are several elevated tees to enjoy.

Spyglass was the perfect "bookend" to our Pebble Beach adventure.