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Here’s the deal. Money’s no object and you’ve got one whole week to invest in the golf holiday of a lifetime. Where are you going to go?

For golfers outside of the UK, the answer is usually pretty straightforward: St Andrews, right?

However, for those of us fortunate enough to live either in or on the
doorstep of the game’s birthplace, the world is our oyster and the
choice is considerable. Even so, there’s typically one place right at
the top of most people’s lists – Pebble Beach.

Situated on the Monterey Peninsula in California, Pebble Beach
is golfing paradise – it’s as simple as that. Bordered by Carmel to the
south, Pacific Grove to the north, Monterey to the east and the Pacific
Ocean to the west, it is home to not only a huge collection of courses
but some of the world’s best, too.

READ MORE -> PGA Tour pros show brutal Pebble Beach conditions


There’s the eponymous Pebble Beach Golf Links itself – a five-time
host of the US Open – as well as the likes of The Links at Spanish Bay,
Cypress Point, Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills. And that’s just for

Any visit to Pebble Beach typically starts on 17-Mile Drive, a
picturesque road that largely hugs the Pacific coastline and passes most
of the top courses and attractions, including the Lone Cypress tree,
Bird Rick and the Del Monte Forest. It’s a stunning introduction to the
area and perfectly sets the tone for the treats that lie in wait.

Naturally, Pebble Beach Golf Links is the main attraction. It’s a
public course, so anybody can play. It’s not particularly cheap – a
round there will cost you around £340 in British money – but it is
absolutely worth every penny.

Also, if you’re booking more than two days in advance, the best way
to guarantee your tee time is to stay in one of the three Pebble Beach
properties: The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa
Palmero. Guests enjoy special booking privileges for golf reservations
when arranging accommodations.

READ MORE -> Pebble Beach just got *even more* pricey

Pebble Beach7

Iconic holes at Pebble Beach Golf Links roll off the tongue: the short seventh (above)
that plays down a hill towards a tiny green sitting in front of the
lapping waves of the ocean; the mesmerising sixth and eighth holes; the
devilishly tricky par-3 17th with its sliver of a green; and, of course,
the dramatic closing hole (below), which hugs the rocky shoreline and is protected by one of the longest bunkers in golf.

It is the St Andrews of America and, as such, a ‘must play’ for any golfer visiting California.

I don’t think you can get a better venue any place in the world

Pebble Beach18

The aforementioned Tom Watson collaborated with Sandy Tatum and Robert Trent Jones Jnr on the creation of Spanish Bay (below), which is a Californian homage to the best of Scottish links golf.

It even goes to the extreme of having a lone piper play by the side
of the golf course every evening. It, too, is a simply wonderful

Spyglass Hill is another of the four Pebble Beach properties that is
truly unmissable. Originally called Pebble Beach Pines Golf Club, it was
renamed by Samuel Morse after a place in Scottish author Robert Louis
Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island.

Indeed, ‘Treasure Island’ is the name of the opening hole, with the
following 17 all taking their names from characters and places in the
book. Just wait until you get to the par-4 fourth hole. Course designer
Robert Trent Jones Jnr says it’s his favourite – and it’s not hard to
see why.

READ MORE -> This $27m Pebble Beach mansion will blow your mind

Pebble Beach Links At Spanish Bay

Del Monte, meanwhile, is the oldest course in continuous operation
west of the Mississippi. Opened in 1897, it is characterised by wide
fairways, lined with oak, pine and cypress trees, and its 13th hole,
appropriately enough for those who believe in superstitions, is
incredibly tough. A 512-yard par-5, it is best described as
‘treacherous’. If you can get past it without dropping a shot, you’ll be
doing very well indeed.

These are the four courses operated by Pebble Beach Resorts. There
are, naturally, others which you might be interested in playing, such as
Cypress Point. It’s a private golf course and, therefore, a little
harder to get on but it can be done.

Its 16th is arguably the toughest par-3 in golf, playing around 200
yards directly over water and into the prevailing wind. Never mind
making par, simply hitting the green is considered a boast-worthy

READ MORE -> The best Scottish golf course you’ve never played

Pebble Beach Inn At Spanish Bay

Poppy Hills, meanwhile, is the newest golf course in Pebble Beach (it
opened in 1986) and has undergone an extensive renovation in recent
years. Unlike its neighbouring courses, it plays completely within a
forest and has no rough. It’s a gem.

As mentioned earlier, staying on-site in one of the three Pebble
Beach properties is the best and easiest way to guarantee your tee
times. With great restaurants and bars included as standard, there’s
plenty for you to enjoy when the sun has gone down without the need to
leave the resort. We recommend the Calamari and a glass of the Arnold
Palmer red wine.

If you are keen on a little exploring and sightseeing, there is
plenty to do, ranging from whale-watching, to cycling, to boutique
shopping. That’s another part of the appeal of Pebble Beach: you don’t
need to be a golfer to enjoy it.

Pay it a visit – it never disappoints.


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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