I've always wanted to go the ATT Pro-Am (formerly the Clambake) and this year I decided to get myself to Monterey. This is part 2 of my adventure up there, enjoy!
Pebble Beach is often ranked in the top 10 courses in the US and often the top 25 in the world. It has hosted multiple major championships and the ongoing Clambake nee ATT Pro-Am for decades. It is world famous and I have played it countless times on WGT.
Still, this familiarity from a distance does not prepare you for how good the course actually is when you see it in person. Whether it is good enough to costs the $525 green fee is a judgment call only you can make but I will say that after walking all 18 there, I wanna play it!
The first three holes are often maligned because of their parkland nature, wending their way through expensive housing. While there is some merit to that, each hole offers its own tricks on routing, none moreso than the second hole which features a great risk/reward choice on the second shot and a devilish green to navigate once you get there.
The fourth hole might just be my favorite on the course. You are nestled in trees for the tee shot but once you gain the fairy, blammo ocean all to your left!
The hole is a short par 4 with tee placement and second shots key to a narrow throated green. Also from this perch, you can see holes 5-7 looming to your right which is just a fantastic way to open up this stretch of the course.
That leads to the wild and wooly 5th hole, a very long par 3 with yet another narrow green.
The sixth hole is just as outrageous as you would expect. Standing on the tee box you have a tremendous downhill shot and then are faced with a huge blind and uphill second shot.
The scale of this hole and the elevation gains and losses are something to see in person and TV cannot do it justice.
The seventh hole is the seventh hole, what more can be said? There is a movement afoot to remove the turf you see around the green and take it back to its 1919 roots by making this all sand. This would be a dramatic makeover from the image of the 7th that we are all used to but it would make a dramatic hole even more dramatic.
The slopes of Pebble are really something to behold and while you could get lost in the views of Carmel Bay, the golf course is giving you all you want and more on the ground.
The back nine is surprisingly hilly. Sure it is not right on the water but the golf and the choices it forces you to make is just as good.
The course asks a lot of questions of your game on the back, especially your bunker game. If you ever find yourself in one of these, let me know how it works out for ya...
but still the general beauty of the hole was there.
Finally you make your way to the iconic 18th hole and it is everything in person that you think it will be. The tee shot is just as challenging as you think it is and that tree in the middle of the fairway looms large.
Then you hit your second and third shots towards the green but definitely watch out for that massive tree to the right of the green. All of which makes for a fantastic finishing hole.
Before I attended the Pro-Am, I knew that Pebble was a top notch course but now having walked all 18, I can attest to how good it actually is. What also was great is how the folks run the tournament.
The volunteers were friendly, the Pebble Beach Resort staff were top notch and super accommodating and the course had the right mix of amenities and chill out spots. This is a first class operation on a first class piece of property. I can't say enough good things about my time in Monterey and I can't wait to go back and maybe one day play that sucka!
For more info on the tourney, check out this link: http://www.attpbgolf.com/