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foulmouthedleon

Pebble vs. Spyglass - what to do?

25 posts in this topic

Howdy all, new here and I've done a search and have seen no shortage on this subject, but figured I'd throw my .02 in...

Heading out to California in a couple of weeks. My wife and brother told me that, as an early 40th birthday present, I can play a round at either Pebble or Spyglass (or Spanish Bay too, I suppose).

I'm kind of torn as to which one to play - I've never played any of them and my Dad played Spyglass last Fall. He said it was difficult, more so than Pebble (so he heard, he's never played it).

So since this is a gift, money isn't the issue for me.  That's taken care of.

A bit about me as a golfer...

Not sure of my official handicap, I shoot in the high 80's, low 80's on a good day.  I'm long and straight off the tee and my approach shots are usually fairly good. My short game sucks.  I can't chip or putt worth a damn.

I realize Pebble is the course with all the allure, so I'm really leaning towards it, though I have to call the day before to get a reservation.  Then again I'll be a single, so I'm assuming that it'll be easier to get in by myself as opposed to being a two or foursome.  I could get a time at Spyglass right now. Spahish Bay too, I presume.

Also, what's the best way to do it - walk or ride?  I wanted to bring my camera and really soak up the experience (so to speak).  Is that allowed so long as it doesn't hinder play?  Are caddies worth it?  I've never had one.

Thanks in advance for any and all help/advice.

Cheers!

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Here's a writeup I did following my trip to Pebble and Spyglass a few years ago: http://thesandtrap.com/t/26785/pebble-spyglass-spanish-bay-my-trip

I'd highly recommend you make sure you play both PB and SH.   You're already there, and a month later you'll be kicking yourself for not taking advantage of it.    A wise person once said that it isn't the things we do in our life that we regret, it's the things we didn't do.    And you'll regret it for skipping one or the other.

As a single you probably won't have much trouble getting onto Pebble.   And although they say you can only call 24 hours in advance, if you're really polite on the phone, play up the trip of a lifetime, celebrating your 40th, etc. you will likely find they'll be accommodating and let you make a reservation a few days earlier, especially if they aren't too busy then.    The economy has taken a toll even there.

I'd highly recommend walking the courses there, especially if you're going to try a caddy (another thing I'd recommend).    A caddy at Pebble is just really kind of a magical experience - strolling down the fairways and taking in the sights and history while your faithful caddy carries your clubs is a taste of what Nicklaus, Watson, Woods, etc. must feel.    As a benefit, your caddy will also fill you in with lots of trivia about the area, the houses you're walking past, where famous shots were hit from, etc.        I didn't take a caddy at Spyglass, and although the historical part was missing I can see how a good caddy could help save quite a few strokes there.

If you don't bring a camera, you'd be probably one of only 2 or 3 golfers on the course that day without one.    Snapping the occasional memory is just part of being there.

Have a fantastic time....just typing this makes me remember my wonderful week there and I can't wait to go back!

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HI there Clambake, yes I actually did read your writeup earlier this afternoon.  A very good read and articulately worded.  I don't know that me playing both SH and PB is an option.  I could possibly pull off SB and SH seeing that it wouldn't be that much more, but logistically my option is one day of golf.  We'll only be in Monterey/Carmel for two days so I think the other day will be going to a few wineries, etc.

I'm leaning towards Pebble and using some of "my" own money for a caddy.  I'm pondering shipping my clubs out and then back as well.  Though I do know they'll rent me a set (for a pretty penny,I'm sure).

At any rate, thanks for the suggestions - I'm sure this will be a day of golf I'll never forget regardless of my choice.

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This is like choosing between chocolate and strawberry ice cream. You can't lose either way. I played Spyglass, never PB because I was there just before the US Open, but I would go with PB, most definitely. The history, the 8th hole, the short par 3, the 18th, etc... I think if you polled this Q, you'd get a majority going with PB.

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A MILLION times Pebble. The first 6 holes of Spyglass are really really good, but after that it is not all that magical. Pebble on the other hand has all the history of the US Opens and has many more memorable holes. Easy decision in my book.
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Think of your choice this way.   When you come back from your trip and tell people that you went to the Monterrey peninsula to play golf for your 40th, they'll say "Wow, that's fantastic.   Did you play Pebble?".     If you say yes, they'll say "Great!   Did you get the chance to play Spyglass too?".       But if you say no, they'll say "Ah, that's too bad." and then probably change the subject.

By the way, if you take your clubs and choose to have a caddy (highly recommended), they'll appreciate it if you have a light bag and the pockets aren't jammed with two dozen balls and a bunch of stuff.   They'll swap out your bag to a light carry bag unless you have something light already.

Spyglass is a great course, but Pebble is just, well....it's friggin' Pebble!    Go there early and wander the grounds, give yourself extra time to shop at the stores and get some souvenirs, see some of the interesting memorabilia at Golf Links to the Past store beside the practice green, have lunch at the Tap Room, and enjoy drinks on the Lodge terrace overlooking the 18th.   Enjoy the whole experience!

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I'll just piggy-back onto what the others have said. Spyglass is a great second round, but there's nothing like Pebble. Absolutely nothing.

Carts are cart path only so forget that.

Walking with a caddy is best, you'll need the advice, AND the course is more hilly than it looks on TV.

If you're playing on the weekend, (sometimes weekdays too) it can be a slow round. Gawking, photo ops, lost balls, etc etc can really bog it down. Deep breath, look at where you are, drink it all in, now the pace doesn't seem so bad.

Be generous with your caddy . . . it's good Karma!

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Pebble Beach.  Absolutely no question about it.  The first 5 holes are really spectacular, but once you get to 6 the course could be any parkland course in America.  Its still a great course, but the holes don't have the seaside vibe.  There is no question in my mind that you want to play Pebble.

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You'll find that Pebble is more fun since you've seen all of the holes time and time again. The caddie suggestion absolutely on the mark. Spyglass is more challenging but, for me, less memorable.
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Thanks for the input, all.  I pretty much decided last night that I'd go for Pebble.  As someone said "It's Pebble!" Being there and having a literal free pass to play and not taking advantage of it is like going to New York and not seeing the Empire State Building.

I am going to get a caddy, and as I mentioned I've never had one.  I don't want to sound like a jerk but do they try and correct your game or just kind of give you the lay of the land in regard to where to hit the shot?  I just don't want a caddy that's trying to be my Butch Harmon instead of enhancing the experience for me.

I would like to take my own clubs as I'm sure the cost associated with bringing them out there would be equal to what they'll charge me for a rental set.  Plus, from that point forward, I could always say to myself "These clubs have played at Pebble!" Ha!

At any rate, thanks again for the input. I plan to take plenty of pictures and I'll do a hole by hole writeup when I get back.

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It's hard for me to be fair in comparing Pebble with Spyglass because a cold front came through just as I stepped onto the first tee at Pebble (hard, driving rain for most of the round) whereas it only sprinkled a bit when I played Spyglass the day before, mostly it was sunny.  So Pebble was pretty brutal for me and I shot a high number, yet it was also one of the most memorable rounds I've ever played and I don't regret a minute of it.  I had a caddy, without whom I would never have made a certain nasty downhill 5 ft left-breaker, I mean not even close.  I hit a few sweet approach shots and a reasonable number of fairways - that's what I took away.  Besides, the sun did come out for the photos on the 18th green.  Spyglass is a very beautiful, serene and immaculate course that demands accuracy - just not quite as spectacular.  I played one of my better rounds there for some reason.

I plan to play Poppy Hills in a couple of weeks.  If the experience is anything like Pebble or Spyglass I'll be happy.  My game has improved in the last two years - hopefully it will show in the numbers.

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Originally Posted by foulmouthedleon

Thanks for the input, all.  I pretty much decided last night that I'd go for Pebble.  As someone said "It's Pebble!" Being there and having a literal free pass to play and not taking advantage of it is like going to New York and not seeing the Empire State Building.

I am going to get a caddy, and as I mentioned I've never had one.  I don't want to sound like a jerk but do they try and correct your game or just kind of give you the lay of the land in regard to where to hit the shot?  I just don't want a caddy that's trying to be my Butch Harmon instead of enhancing the experience for me.

I would like to take my own clubs as I'm sure the cost associated with bringing them out there would be equal to what they'll charge me for a rental set.  Plus, from that point forward, I could always say to myself "These clubs have played at Pebble!" Ha!

At any rate, thanks again for the input. I plan to take plenty of pictures and I'll do a hole by hole writeup when I get back.

No they will not give swing advice, but you can tell them about your game so they will have an idea of what your capable of so they can help with strategy and what.I agree with everyone else and would do the same Spyglass is an awesome course and it's a shame you can't play both but Pebble is the one with the history and remember when they have the ATand T you can say "I remember standing right there". Plus Pebble is a bit easier especially if the wind is down.

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Well, this keeps getting better!  My Mother-in-Law found out about this and she threw in the money for the caddy! How about that?  Words really can't describe how excited I am to play Pebble!

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Originally Posted by foulmouthedleon

Well, this keeps getting better!  My Mother-in-Law found out about this and she threw in the money for the caddy! How about that?  Words really can't describe how excited I am to play Pebble!

Then you should take the money you were going to have to pay for a caddy and put it towards Spyglass!!

Good luck!

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Agree that the caddy won't be giving unsolicited swing advice at Pebble.  But likely he/she will be observing your play closely in the first couple of holes and then may make suggestions about which shots to attempt/mistakes to avoid.  My caddy had been doing it for a long time and knew every square foot of the place.  The assistance on the greens alone might be worth a few strokes.

p.s. anyone have advice on how to play Poppy Hills?  Some of those dogleg par 4's look pretty challenging and I doubt I'll be cutting any corners ....

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Originally Posted by foulmouthedleon

HI there Clambake, yes I actually did read your writeup earlier this afternoon.  A very good read and articulately worded.  I don't know that me playing both SH and PB is an option.  I could possibly pull off SB and SH seeing that it wouldn't be that much more, but logistically my option is one day of golf.  We'll only be in Monterey/Carmel for two days so I think the other day will be going to a few wineries, etc.

I'm leaning towards Pebble and using some of "my" own money for a caddy.  I'm pondering shipping my clubs out and then back as well.  Though I do know they'll rent me a set (for a pretty penny,I'm sure).

At any rate, thanks for the suggestions - I'm sure this will be a day of golf I'll never forget regardless of my choice.

Play with your own clubs. If you play good/bad at least you know it wasnt the equipment

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Originally Posted by Chas

I plan to play Poppy Hills in a couple of weeks.  If the experience is anything like Pebble or Spyglass I'll be happy.  My game has improved in the last two years - hopefully it will show in the numbers.

Chas, you may want to pick up one of these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Strackaline-2000-Poppy-Hills-Yardage-Book-/320935812792 Strackaline also has the Tour yardage books for your favorite local courses (Torrey) as well - I've picked up a couple and they're very detailed and interesting.

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