This past weekend, my SS (special someone) surprised me with a round at the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Course in Monterey, CA. It was a pleasant surprise, and I will admit that I was intimidated going in, as I assumed that like any other TPC course, if I was not a 13 handicap or better, I would be outed as an imposter and stopped from playing just short of the 9th tee. Nothing could be father from the truth, as all levels of play were welcome. Here are some of my observations.
1. It is NOT cheap to play here. SS and I were paired with a twosome of friends that had played the course last year, and decided to make it an annual trip, noting that the course and setting was too beautiful to not come back (a sentiment that I too share). It was definitely a bucket list item that I am so stoked to check off, and I would definitely make it an annual thing. I just have to make sure to budget VERY well for it.
2. The course is very playable for a newbie like myself. After having officially picked up the game of golf in June 2013, I am pleased to announce that I had not one, but TWO back-to-back pars! Of course, I hit from the ladies’ tees (which only made it easier compared to the other tees), but these are the same ladies’ tees that the LPGA players would hit from and I was able to have some really good holes (relatively speaking, of course). My score was in the high 120s, which consistent with my current score (and impressive to me since the course was significantly harder than any course I have ever played), but the fact that I was able to par and even bogey was major. I won’t lie, I left feeling like I could definitely go pro if I dedicated more time to the game. It might just be all in my head, but I don’t mind it!
3. This is one of THE most beautiful settings to play in. The views from each hole are breathtaking at a minimum. I had no idea that such a beautiful white sand covered beach with crystal blue water existed in this part of California. I lived in the Bay Area and Central Coast on separate occasions, and had determined that both areas were just too breezy for beach adventures. Boy, was I wrong! Every hole on the front nine was worthy of a magazine cover, and the beach views are still available on the back nine, culminating in the picturesque Hole 18. Seeing the tree that dons the Pebble Beach logo in the flesh (or bark) was like a dream come true.
4. Pebble Beach is cart-path only. SS and I chose to take a cart, while our other golf companions had opted for a caddy. Their caddy, Eddy, was an older man with a snippy sense of humor, but who provided great advice on how to hit each shot, even offering spot-on reads of the putting greens. I think it makes the experience feel more like being a pro. As for riding the cart, other than having my sunflower seeds stolen and annihilated by the many varieties of birds that actively preyed on any visible food, it was nice to be able to ride from hole to hole and have a cup holder, as I had never walked a full 18 holes prior to this week (which just happened Thursday on a significantly shorter course). One negative was that I had to bring more than one club with me whenever I took a post-tee shot on most par 4s or 5s, which upped the likelihood of losing a club (which I rented and did NOT want to pay $150+ per club to replace). The caddy carried the bags and even provided the appropriate clubs needed for each shot, and would walk ahead to meet you wherever your ball landed. It was pretty cool. SS wants to go again next year, and I definitely think we’ll use a caddy the next time.
5. Pebble Beach is a stop on the 17 Mile Drive. Prior to coming to Pebble Beach, despite living so close to this area for months, I had never heard of the 17 Mile Drive. It is a tourist attraction along the northern coast that includes Pebble Beach, which is why there are so many people everywhere, even running across the fairway as you are playing! It was a bit off-putting at first, as I think golfers have the tendency to expect no one outside of their group, besides the marshall or a player who hit a wayward ball from another hole, to be anywhere near the fairway or greens while we are on a hole. After a while you just realize it is Pebble Beach, you glance over that the breathtaking ocean view, and forgive the eager tourists. You can’t blame them for really wanting to soak this all in.
BONUS: You might see a celebrity there. We did! SS and I had finished our round and were picking up PB swag for souvenirs, and happened to see Adam Levine, formerly of Maroon 5 and currently co-host of The Voice, shopping in the Pro-Shop as well as the other shops along the way. I wanted to snap a picture with him, since the motto is “pics or it didn’t happen”, but SS, being the not-getting-excited-over-a-celebrity-sighting type, refused to take the pic for me. And I had not been successful figuring out how to take the sound off my phone, despite having it for over 2 years (pathetic, I know), so no pics. Going to have to let his Instagram account corroborate my story. Oddly enough, it was the only celebrity sighting I had in the whole week I was there, even after spending a few days in SoCal. Either way, it was pretty cool! I think it was his first time playing there as well. We’ll always share that moment that he doesn’t know we’re sharing, lol.
I am definitely looking forward to playing Pebble Beach again. I think next time, I’ll do one of the package deals with hotel and golf included, so I can also play one of the other courses like Spanish Bay or Spy Hill. I am sure SS is up for it.