For an American golfer like me, just the name Pebble Beach conjures up images of some of the best (and most beautiful) golf courses in the entire country. Located along the rugged Northern California coast, the area has grown into an international golf destination. All the famous courses, including the Pebble Beach Golf Links, home to five U.S. Opens, are open to the public.
The Pebble Beach Resorts area is about two hours south of San Francisco and about four hours north of Los Angeles in the Monterey County area. The San Francisco International Airport is the largest, closest airport, about two hours away, and the San Jose International Airport is about an hour away. The Monterey Regional Airport is about 15 minutes away and does offer commercial service. Driving along the coast in this area is staggeringly beautiful. I suggest leaving some extra time for sightseeing.
Where to Stay
The area is not lacking for places to stay. From small inns and motels to lavish five-star resorts, golfers have a range of options. The Pebble Beach area is also close enough to San Francisco to allow travelers to stay in the city and drive out for some great golf. The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay, and Casa Palmero are the official hotels associated with the main courses, and guests of these properties receive special booking privileges and priority on the courses. These resorts are very high-end luxury properties, with prices to match. Rooms at The Lodge at Pebble Beach start at $715 per night, prices at The Inn at Spanish Bay start at $615 per night, and a night at Casa Palmero will set you back at least $875.
Pebble Beach now describes the entire golf community and includes five main golf courses.
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Opened in 1919, the Pebble Beach Golf Links is home to the annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and has hosted five Open championships, most recently in 2010. The U.S. Open will be held there again in 2019. Pebble Beach is one of the world’s greatest courses, and every golfer should play there at least once in his or her lifetime. It costs $495 to play the legendary Pebble Beach course — resort guests get a cart for free, non-guests must pay extra.
Spyglass Hill Golf Course
Truly one of the great American golf courses, the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed Spyglass Hill opened in 1966 and features two totally different environments. Holes 1 through 5 are sandy, oceanside holes. Then, it’s like moving to a different world for the last 13 holes, which are within groves of huge pine trees and sprinkled with lakes. The cost is $360 to play Spyglass Hill, and resort guests get the cart for free, while non-guests must pay extra.
The Links at Spanish Bay
The Links at Spanish Bay course is my favorite. It’s a rough, windy, wild place, designed like the original Scottish links where the game began. Greens fees on this course are $260. Resort guests get the cart for free, and non-guests must pay extra.
Del Monte Golf Course
This old course has been challenging players since 1897 and maintains that historic elegance. I think Del Monte is a bit more traditional and a bit easier than the other Pebble Beach courses. Greens fees are $110, and as with the other courses, resort guests get a cart for free, while non-guests must pay extra.
Peter Hay Golf Course
This is a fun, yet challenging executive (nine-hole), par-3 course, the only one open to the public in the area. The Peter Hay Golf Course was opened in 1957. It’s right across the street from the Pebble Beach Golf Links. The course offers an all-you-can-golf package for $30 per player for unlimited play. Kids 13-17 are $10, and kids under 12 are free.
Aside from recreational golf, Pebble Beach offers many opportunities to compete for golfers of all skill levels. Throughout the year, many events and participant tournaments are held at Pebble Beach that allow golfers of all skill levels to participate and compete.
Freddy Sherman is a golfer, world traveler, and editor of the travel blog travel4people.com. You can follow him on Twitter @thefredsherman.