Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #115

I’ve talked about this before, but my favorite PGA Tournament next to the Majors is the AT&T Pebble Beach. On second thought, I might even like it better than the PGA Championship.

Pebble Beach is a public course, an expensive public course, but a public course. When I was fortunate enough to play it in 1990 it cost $175. Now it’s $575, well worth every penny. The television doesn’t do it justice. It is so beautiful and to think almost every famous golfer and golfing celebrity has played the links course. It’s not long. It’s not the most difficult course I’ve ever played, but if the wind blows it’s a different animal. I caught it on a 70 degree relatively calm day and had the time of my life. By far the favorite course I’ve ever played.

The PGA is making a stop at Pebble this weekend so once again let’s take a look at a few of the holes the pros will encounter. You’ve got to attack it early. I’m talking about the Pebble Beach golf links. Two other courses are in the rotation, one is Spyglass. Almost as spectacular and more difficult, and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club shore course.

Pebble Beach, which the pros that make the cut all play on Sunday, is roughly 68-hundred yards, par 72. It starts off like a typical resort course. The first and second holes are definitely birdie holes… A short par 4 dogleg right and a short par 5. I remember having trouble with the third hole because I tried to cut too much of the corner. It’s about 380 yards and dogleg left.

The fourth is the first time you see the ocean on your right, and it’s my favorite hole, about 290 yards, par 4 from the member tees. It features a very small green, but with a wedge in your hands it could be a birdie hole.

The 5th has been redesigned so I can’t comment on that par 3. The 6th is a beautiful par 5. Downhill then sweeping right uphill. I think it’s less than 500 yards from the regular tees. I did birdie that one with a long putt.

The 7th is one of the signature holes on the course, barely 100 yards downhill with the ocean as a backdrop.

The pros say the 8th is the most difficult hole. Uphill to a cliff, then the second shot is over a cliff downhill to the green, and the hole has some length too, about 420 as I recall. Not long at all for the pros though.

In typical links course fashion, the 9th does not return to the clubhouse, but is a downhill shot away from civilization with the ocean on the right. Same for #10 which extends to the far reaches of the property. Both holes are around 400.

The 11th and 12th are nothing special. The green on the 13th of the short uphill par 4 used to be tiny. I think it has been rebuilt since I played it, but it still has a lot of back to front slope so you don’t want to be above the hole.

The 14th is a long par 5 which the pros have trouble reaching in two. It’s 570 and uphill from the tips and the green is on a plateau. It’s difficult for a par 5.

The 15th is a picturesque par 4 through a shoot of trees. The 16th I thought was a birdie hole until I bogeyed it. It’s downhill, about 380. The green is guarded by trees on both sides and the green again has a lot of undulation. I believe I three-putted that one.

That last two holes are two of the most famous in golf. I thought about how I was going to play them the moment I stepped on the hallowed ground. And it didn’t go according to plan.

The 17th is a long par 3 that usually plays right into the ocean breeze. The green is different from any other on the course. It’s wide but not deep and guarded by bunkers. A par is definitely a good score. I think even the pros would take it.

I could hardly swing on the 18th. A 540 yard par 5 dogleg left along the ocean the whole way. There’s OB right if you play it too safe. I saw not one but two of my tee shots hook into the Pacific, otherwise I played the hole well, making an 8. I’d like one more crack at it. It’s a birdie hole for the pros.

Enjoy the tournament this weekend and the next time you get out, hit ’em straight!

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