Pebble, Spyglass, Spanish Bay: My Trip - Page 2
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Just wanted to thank Clambake again for his excellent original post in this thread, which encouraged me to finally play Pebble and Spyglass during Thanksgiving week. I didn't have his luck with the weather at Pebble (it was pretty good the day before on Spyglass), a cold front came through just as we were standing on the 1st tee at Pebble but what-the-hey - the pros have to handle this sort of thing and so should the likes of us. I learned a lot about how to deal with very wet, heavy conditions - stuff you don't learn much here in sunny San Diego.
Anyway, attached is a shot of yours truly hitting a 3W rather than driver to stay out of the pine trees at Spyglass (uphill par 4 6th, I think), a course well endowed with deer as Clambake said. Note the (rare) balance and reasonable weight-shift - but still hanging back a bit. I'm working on that, and "Erik's hip bump", in 2011 for more control and power on the tee ....
Thanks to one of my partners-of-the-day (I was a solo) for the excellent photo. Stupidly I had left the camera battery in the charger back in the hotel room but fortunately the other players all had cameras. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE.
CH Spyglass driving cropped.jpg 785k .jpg file
wonder of selection bias!
Thanks for the thanks, Chas. I'm so delighted you were able to enjoy SG and PB, and it sounds like your whole experience there was fantastic, including getting to speak with Utley. Overall, it sounds like a great golf excursion! I keep getting special offer emails from Pebble, and make the mistake of reading them at the office which sets me off daydreaming again.
And thanks for posting the picture. Pretty good looking swing!
For the user looking for cheaper courses in the area, I would recommend Del Monte. It's owned my Pebble Beach Golf Links (the same group that owns Spyglass Spanish and Pebble). And my home course is Torrey Pines, and I felt it had a very similar feel too it. It did not "wow" me but the trees on the back nine were very very cool. Ive got the scorecard right in front of me and its not a long course, playing 6365 from blues, 6052 from whites and 5429 from reds. I shot 42-37 from the whites during August, not too shabby for a 13 year old either. The one hole that I remember is the 15th. Huge twisted trees on both sides of the fairway. I think the cost for a prime tee time during the week was something around $125, so I will stick to my Torrey Pines for now. Heard great things from the guy I played with about all the courses in the area. I bet youre hardpressed to find one you don't like.
When I went up there I visited Pebble, Spyglass and Spanish, all in one day. Pebble felt spiritual, and just rolling putts on the practice green was enough for me! Spyglass was my absolute favorite. It was a gloomy, foggy day and the mossy trees that hung over the first tee were calling my name. I got some great pictures and a towel that I use, and maybe I will make it up there with my dad when I turn 16. Either that or I will be driving myself up! ;) Spanish bay looked pretty similar to Pebble in my eye. I walked the first hole and I found all the undulations and ditches in the fairway very strange, probably due to the fact that Torrey is flat for the most part. Spanish had a nice practice facility, made me wish I brought my wedge.
Can't wait to make my trip up there someday. I love hearing all the stories.
Just played Pebble on Xmas eve this year on the NCGA Winter golf special - $395 + 50 gift card to the U.S. Open Shop. Check out my review and selected pictures here:
Please feel free to comment and bookmark! We also have a good thread on club painting!
Will be playing Spanish Bay and Del Monte next week (12/14 - 12/15). Spanish Bay looks tough and I am trying to figure out how many sleeves I need to bring with me. Del Monte looks easy enough. On both courses, everyone will be playing from white tee. I hope to break 90 from Del Monte, and just enjoy Spanish Bay outing. Any tip on how to play the course will be much appreciated.
Sounds like a nice trip. Del Monte is a fine course and while it is no pushover, you will have a good chance of shooting your handicap there. I found the Links at Spanish Bay to be relentlessly difficult. Lots of forced carries and wayward shots will be eaten by the long native grasses bordering the course. The greens can be very difficult depending on the pin placements. If I had to do it over again, I would have played the "White" tees and not the somewhat longer "Gold". Figure a dozen balls will get you around the Links. You will probably find some of mine while looking for yours.
My Spanish Bay experience was great.
The view is just awesome from every hole. I've been to 17 mile drive many times and wondered about the course as I drove by. To be inside the course and watch the cars go by was something else.
The course was extremely well taken care of.
Course design was very interesting, with number of blind shots, bunkers everywhere, undulating fairway & greens, sharp dog legs, slopes, elevations, .... Greens were very fast and, on this day, pin locations were just impossible. Most pins were on green's edge. 3 putts were the norm. There were number of 4 putts and worse. Number of putts went off green. There were 80 of us who played on this day. Average score far exceeded our handicap index. I was +6 over my handicap. Most others were even worse. I'd guess the course must have played 5 - 7 strokes more difficult than its rating on this day.
I don't play $200+ course very often. In fact, Pasatiempo was the only other one. IMO, there is no comparison between the two. Spanish Bay was a cut above Pasa in every which way.
That begs the question ...did someone screw up on assessing the course rating? 80 of us played Del Monte & Spanish Bay whose white tee ratings were just about the same. But, the results from Spanish Bay was 5 - 7 strokes higher on the average. There were no external factors like weather as we played the two courses back to back. The only variance I can think of is that Spanish Bay pin locations were just impossibly placed. Does that explain the high scores? Maybe. But after my experience with Spanish Bay, I had much better appreciation of pro golfers who deal with tough greens & pin locations all the time.
I just returned from a trip to Pebble Beach, and here’s my quick travelogue. This was the first time I’ve played any of the courses there, so we stayed at the Lodge at Pebble. Our room overlooked the first tee, and was very large with a fireplace, nice sitting area, very large bath – all done very nicely. The resort has a bit of an old look from the outside (architecturally, not condition), but inside is pretty much understated elegance everywhere you look.
Day 1: Spanish Bay
Played Spanish Bay for free as part of our Lodge package (see below about it being empty). Since Spanish Bay doesn’t have a driving range, I warmed up at Pebble’s range and then took the shuttle to Spanish Bay. Weather was cloudy at the start with wisps of fog through the trees, clearing to mostly sunny around the 12th hole. Took a cart, with a 90 degree cart rule. The course was almost empty – the only other players we saw were a twosome a few holes behind us, and playing leisurely it took 4 hours for the round. Talking with the starter, it sounded like demand was way off for Spanish Bay. The course was in good condition, and the greens were pretty fast and rolled very true.
Overall, Spanish Bay was nice but just didn't feel that special and I don't know if I'd play it again. It seems kind of tricked up in places it doesn’t need to be, and just didn’t really feel like it had a good flow and didn’t feel very memorable. While I remember most of the holes at Spyglass and every one at Pebble, it seems like I can barely remember any at Spanish Bay – they just didn’t stand out. I struck the ball well on the front nine, but somewhat lost my swing on the back and ended up shooting a 90 from the gold tees.
Day 2: Spyglass Hill
A little chilly at the start but a gorgeous sunny day with a variable light breeze. Beautiful course that was in great condition, with a lot of deer wandering the course. Like Spanish Bay, the course was pretty uncrowded and our round took about 4 ½ hours. We played as a 3-some and took carts, but it is cart path only at Spyglass so the fairways were pristine, better than most courses’ greens. The greens were in great shape, although a bit slower than Spanish Bay. The first 5 holes play down towards the water and along the dunes, all requiring good shot placement. Hole #4 was a blast, requiring a well placed tee shot to avoid a blind shot to the narrowest green I’ve ever seen (I got lucky and nailed the tee shot, stuck a wedge, and made birdie). Starting on #6, the holes come up into the forest, giving a very different feel. Although a tough course, I felt it played very fair – it punished you for bad shots, but gave an opportunity to make it up if you’re feeling heroic. On #11 I had my personal gallery of a doe and two fawns standing not more than 30 feet away while I hit my 4 iron approach shot to the green on the par 5 eleventh (I made the green, and could swear I heard them say "Nice shot!"). Every hole was memorable with the exception of #13 and #14; to me they felt a bit ordinary, with average homes lining one side of the fairway and not a lot of visual interest (although once you get to the green on 14 it is much more attractive).
My biggest impression of Spyglass is it is a very sensual course, not just visual but a course that appeals to all the senses. The sounds of a tee shot reverberating through the trees (the sound, not the shot!). The scents of the ocean mixed in with the forest. The feel of the terrain under foot, the smoothness of the fairway grass. I felt the course overall more than any other course I've played. Overall, I loved the course very much, and shot an 82 from the gold tees. I played it pretty well, so I can see how it could be brutal from the tips if the winds are up.
Day 3: Pebble Beach
A perfect weather day, with sunny skies, about 70 degrees, and very little wind. Took a caddie and walked, which I highly recommend. There is always a small crowd milling around the first tee, so it almost felt like a tour event – I was waiting for the announcer to say “On the first tee, from San Diego California,………”. Fortunately I nailed a perfect hybrid for the first shot so I was spared any first tee embarrassment. Pebble was overall in very good shape. The fairways were mostly plush, with occasional areas where they were a little brown and harder. I’ve heard the greens can be a bit bumpy due to all the play, but I didn’t find this to be the case. While not as perfect as Spyglass, they seemed really good and just slightly faster than Spyglass (although not as quick as Spanish Bay). The course was pretty busy, but we finished in about 4 3/4 hours.
I was surprised how forgiving Pebble was, and I got away with a lot of shots that would have cost me at Spyglass. The rough was not too high so offline tee shots were findable and sometimes still yielded a good shot to the green. I won’t go into any hole-by-hole details as probably most of you have seen Pebble enough in tourneys to know the course fairly well. What you don’t see on TV is that the course is a bit hillier than it shows, and the mounding around the greens and contours on the green are much more pronounced. Also, I felt the tee shot on 18 was much more intimidating to look at in person – the fairway seems a lot more narrow with the ocean beckoning on the left and OB staring at you on the right. I can’t imagine stepping up to that tee knowing you need birdie to win. The course plays very fair though, and I ended up beating all my hopes by shooting a 79 in spite of not making a single birdie (but I had a lot of good birdie putts that just wouldn't go in).
While Spyglass is probably a better course, Pebble is so unique and beautiful, and with each step one could feel the great players of the past and feel the crowds. I got lucky and hit a solid drive on 18 just past the big tree, and while walking down the fairway I was literally feeling the bumps on my arms – it was just the greatest feeling to be making that stroll.
Summary: A Perfect Vacation
I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful golf getaway. Following the 4 days at Pebble, we headed to Napa Valley for a few days of decadent eating and wine tasting, and while it was absolutely wonderful as well, the days on the Monterey peninsula were the more enjoyable and memorable parts of the trip. The weather was wonderful, service at the resort was superb, the golf courses were in great shape, and my game held together. Yes, Pebble is ridiculously expensive, and at $495 green fee (plus $75 caddie fee plus tip) it isn’t a course I’d play every day, but it was a course I could play every day and never be bored. Spyglass is probably the better course, but there was just something about all the history at Pebble that made it unique and special in ways that words can't describe. I can’t wait to go back there next summer for the Open.
@~~Clambake: That was an inspiring description of a lifetime event. For one, and I'm sure I'm not alone, I appreciate that you shared it with the forum.
And make sure you look at Golf Now's website prior to booking your tee-time. Most of the time they have "hot deals" up to 40% of the typical tee time rate.
No, this is not a plug for Golf Now.