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First time at Pebble

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Played Pebble Beach for the first time this weekend.  I have been fortunate enough to play Spyglass before and Spanish Bay twice but this was the first time at the Big Kahuna.

I have seen some other threads debating the relative "value" or "worth" of the green fee so I'll skip that and just say that while, absurdly expensive by any measure, I value experiences above all else you can acquire with money, and I will forever remember the day.  Speaking only for me (and everyone is entitled to their opinion!), it was absolutely worth it.

As for the round, I can honestly say I've never been so amped up on the first tee.  You're at Pebble, there are ten other people milling about in front of the pro shop and you're there with your foursome, the caddies and the starter all watching.  I was the second to go in my group and hit one of the best shots of my life!  If you're familiar with #1 at Pebble it's  slight dog leg right.  I dropped my drive in the middle of the fairway between the bunker that is straight out from the tee box and past the last of the trees on the right.  The starter turns to everyone else and says - "Follow that ball; that's where you want it."  Perfect for a second shot of about 120 into the green.  Naturally I chunked the second about 40 yards as my heart rate was still pumping at 2X normal all the way through the first two holes.

I won't bore you with all the details but I will say that going par, par, double bogey, par, par on 4-8 was the best 5 holes I've ever had in my life.  On #7, I was the first to go and when the wedge shot went out straight at the pin with all that ocean surrounding the green and the rocks and the surf I seriously almost wet myself.  Had a long lag put from the low end of the green up to the hole and a tap in for par.  On #8, the caddie said to hit hybrid or 3 wood to about the left edge before where the chasm opens up.  Two of us dropped our shots right where he told us to.  The second shot was 185 to the green, across that massive chasm with the ocean on your right.  I was so dialed into the shot I didn't even look up.  Stroked a 4 iron to the bottom edge of the green and was able to two put for par.  As we walked up to the green I noticed for the first time that we'd carried over the edge of that chasm and I'm CERTAIN that had I focused on that before the swing I would have never made the shot.  No question the best par of my golf life.

Anyway, ended up with a 45 on the front which - for me - was as good as it gets (haven't broken 90 yet).  The back I kind of ran out of gas.  I think the walking, the hot sun, the excitement, the getting up early, the tension of concentrating on these incredible holes and trying to take it all in kind of caught up with all of us as everyone had a worst back by a good margin.  Nonetheless it was a great round and I was super happy to have played some of my best golf on such a big day.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have played the other courses in the area and Torrey Pines South and some other really nice ones, but it really was something extra special to play Pebble.  Thinking about Watson chipping in on 17 or Tiger shooting a three wood on 18 out over the ocean and bending it back to stuff it 12 feet from the green, etc. etc. while you're walking around was just amazing.  I can't wait to watch a tournament there on TV now and be able to say "I got par on that hole".

If you can swing it without hurting yourself financially and you get the opportunity, it's definitely a bucket list experience.

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Awesome. I have not played PB, but am local here and have walked the course a ton (I try to go to non-tour events where you can walk the fairways during the rounds). Anyways, your round sounds great. Double bogey on 6? Where did you land on your second shot up the hill? Par on 8 is great. GIR? How was the new range? I have not spent any time on it, but want to soon.

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Six was just a train wreck.  Yanked my drive left on the hillside by those traps on the left of the fairway.   Got too excited on the second shot with a hybrid trying to get it all back in one swing and topped it twenty yards.   Then hit the hybrid well to about a third of the way up the hill.  Had a completely blind shot for the 4th on which I hit a 5 iron up and over the hill and landed about twenty yards left of the green.  Chipped on and two putted for 7.  Not my finest hour.  Happily the only time I had one of those awful topped long iron shots which used to be a staple for me.  The hill just intimidated the hell out of me and I over swung like a mad man on that second shot.

On 8 I was in perfect position on the left edge by the car path and inside of the red stake.  My second shot was a pure 4 straight at the pin but didn't quite get there, I landed about 5 feet off the green on the bottom edge and in a direct line to the pin.  Had a really good lag put that ended up a foot to the right of the hole and made the par.

The practice facility was really nice, hitting off of grass and lots of well marked pins with the distances to aim at.   Buckets of nice balls to practice with. Two really nice greens where you could pitch up on to them and a third green just for putting and no chipping.  They take you on a little shuttle from the pro shop to the practice facility and then drive you back for your tee time.  All pretty slick.  The only negative was that they had a good half the hitting stations reserved for the academy even though no one was in session and I guess a bunch of people playing the course that day wanted to get A LOT of practice in because we had to wait about ten minutes to get a spot and there was someone waiting on me while I warmed up which made me feel a little rushed.  We were also there at prime time on a Saturday.

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Six was just a train wreck.  Yanked my drive left on the hillside by those traps on the left of the fairway.   Got too excited on the second shot with a hybrid trying to get it all back in one swing and topped it twenty yards.   Then hit the hybrid well to about a third of the way up the hill.  Had a completely blind shot for the 4th on which I hit a 5 iron up and over the hill and landed about twenty yards left of the green.  Chipped on and two putted for 7.  Not my finest hour.  Happily the only time I had one of those awful topped long iron shots which used to be a staple for me.  The hill just intimidated the hell out of me and I over swung like a mad man on that second shot.

A few of my caddie friends have said that they often advise players to hit their second up the hill (towards the eight fairway, but not all the way up) when around the left side of the fairway - just so that they can see the green for a then third shot. Again, I have not played it, but it seems that without the Cyprus tree as a reference point the second shot is a lot harder.

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