PEBBLE BEACH GOLF LINKS – Pebble Beach, CA
A – Playability & Challenge
A – Quality of Course
A+ – Memorability
A – Service Levels
A+ – Pro Shop
A+ – 19th Hole Experience
A+ – OVERALL EXPERIENCE
SPYGLASS HILL GOLF COURSE – Pebble Beach, CA
A – Playability & Challenge
A- – Quality of Course
A – Memorability
A – Service Levels
B – Pro Shop
N/A – 19th Hole Experience
A – OVERALL EXPERIENCE
THE LINKS AT SPANISH LINKS – Pebble Beach, CA
B – Playability & Challenge
A – Quality of Course
A – Memorability
A – Service Levels
A – Pro Shop
A – 19th Hole Experience
A – OVERALL EXPERIENCE
PEBBLE BEACH FLY-BY 2012
(8/11/12 – By Jim Allen) … If there truly is a golf heaven, it’s hard to imagine that it would look much different than the Pebble Beach Golf Resort. There are few places on the planet that are capable of dishing up a delectable menu of golf history, tradition, and spectacular views and packaging it up nice and pretty into a stellar five-star resort experience. Eight Golfestians got the chance to experience a little piece of this golf heaven on July 22-24th during a quick 54-hole, 54-hour Golfest Fly-By. For six of them, it represented an official check-mark on their bucket list. The other two agreed that some bucket list items should be checked off more than once.
As with most Golfest trips to Pebble, we played the traditional trifecta of 18-hole gems, including the Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and the storybook Pebble Beach Golf Links. We took advantage of one of their standard “stay-and-play” packages that included a couple of nights at the plush Inn at Spanish Bay. For those of you at home wondering how much this trip might cost, it worked out to $35.87 for every 60-minutes we spent on the property. And that doesn’t include the $30 breakfasts, the $20 Grey Goose & Cranberries off the golf cart, or the obligatory souvenir purchases of PB logo apparel in the pro shop. But then again, this is Pebble Beach and we wouldn’t expect anything less. We were hoping it would cost less, but we weren’t expecting anything less.
The Links of Spanish Bay served up the first challenge on Sunday afternoon. Among those teeing off for the first time at Spanish Bay were Jake Adkins, Tom Gudvangen, Mike Barbone, Pat Calahan, Mike Rittner, and Ed Lande. Along with Jim Allen and Jeffrey Adkins, they were greeted with a two-club wind on the first tee box, but it wasn’t really much of an issue once both foursomes turned inland. The standard Monterrey Bay marine layer blocked out anything resembling sun on this afternoon, but the temperature came in at a perfect 65-degrees.
Even though this is regarded as a “resort” course, possibly implying that it’s easy for resort guests, it’s probably the toughest of the three courses. It’s rolls up, down, and around the hotel and flat lies are pretty much non-existent. The other thing about Spanish Bay is that there is absolutely no forgiveness for wayward shots. If your ball doesn’t land on something green, it’s gone, either into dense brush or environmentally protected sand dunes. Can you say … “dropping two, hitting three?” Most of us can!
One of the “I wish I had a video camera” moments came on the front nine when some of us witnessed Tom Gudvangen chasing a seagull down one of the fairways. That might not seem so unusual until you consider he was howling and chanting like Mel Gibson in attack mode in Braveheart. That same seagull had raided his golf cart and escaped down the fairway with his eight-dollar chocolate chip cookie. Tom won this battle because the seagull took too long on the ground trying to gnaw its way through the plastic wrap. Final score … Tom – 1, Seagull – Still Starving. Mike Rittner had the low round of the day. Dinner was served up at Roy’s in Spanish Bay, to the tune of about $100 per head – but worth every penny.
We had a 11:30 and 11:40 a.m. tee times on Monday at Pebble Beach and most of us were antsy as the tee time grew closer – even though nobody would actually admit it. This round would be done in traditional fashion, walking with a caddy, making it easy to burn off any pent up energy. As expected, there were a few wayward drives off the first tee, something that happens when there are 50-60 touristy-types watching you tee off at one of the most famous golf courses in the world.
Most everyone was looking forward to matching wits with the famous seventh-hole, the short 120-yard par-3 signature hole that faces out towards the Pacific Ocean. Like the 17th hole island green at Sawgrass, it should be a very simple short iron and a par … but something strange happens when one stands on the tee box here. Rather than a simple shot, it tends to make a head case out of most and a simple par a real hard thing to pull off. Either way, it was entertaining. Overall, all eight Golfestian’s got their money’s worth walking in the same footsteps as some of golfing greats like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods. All want another shot at this 18-holes. Jim Allen had low round of the day, not a testament to his golf skills as much as he got into less trouble than the others.
Spyglass Hill is still the hidden hero in the Pebble Beach Resort rotation. It’s a mixture of strangely shaped and scenic holes. The first five holes take you out along the ocean for a series of elevation-changing holes that require excellent shot making just to write down a bogey on the card. The green on the par-4 fourth hole is the strangest. It measures approximately 10-yards wide by 50-yards deep and is completely encircled in penalizing ice-plant. Beginning on the sixth hole, you turn inland and play a series of scenic tree-lined holes that resemble a Pinehurst Resort golf course. If you keep it in play, one can score well here. If you hit it in the trees, a good low punch out can salvage a hole, assuming you know how to hit off of pine straw and pine cones. In a nutshell, it’s impossible to get bored playing Spyglass because it has a lot of unpredictable personality. In my book, a low score at Spyglass was harder earned and more valuable than the same score at Pebble.
And just like that, this trip was over just about as quick as it started. It was time to go back to that thing we refer to as reality … family, career, and bills. Speaking of which, it’s time to start saving up for the next Pebble Beach fly-by in 2016.
PEBBLE BEACH FLY-BY 2009
February 26 – Spyglass Hill Golf Course
(2/26/09) … A dozen Golfest members, representing six different states, converged on the Pebble Beach Resort for the much-hyped PB FLY-BY. Although the weather forecast and the constant thumping of windshield wipers on the drive in didn’t look promising, mother nature cooperated and dished up some commendable weather for our opening event at Spyglass.
After an early check-in at the spacious rooms at the Inn at Spanish Bay, we converged on the Spyglass Grill for some grub and a bucket of balls on the range. Today’s golf featured all ends of the spectrum. Everybody seemed a little bit rusty, but as the sun peeked through, so did some great golf shots. Probably the most unusual shots came courtesy of Steve Adams, who is recovering from ruptured Achilles tendon surgery. He wore a knee high medical boot and “sasquatched” his way around the course with a respectable 92. Mike Werner had low score of the day with an 86, followed by Bob Potts with an 88. Jeffrey Adkins, who was bedridden with pneumonia for the past five days, had a score that represented a summer temperature in Phoenix.
The course was in great shape, and because of the wet weather, iron shots were sticking on the greens, so everyone was shooting at the pins — some more successful than others! The course was basically empty as our groups began teeing off at noon. We had the run of the joint, because we didn’t run into any other groups the rest of the day. Because of the lack of golf in recent months, the Advil is already being consumed in anticipation of tomorrows walk at Pebble Beach. The forecast looks good, so all systems are go. … Dinner is at 7:30 p.m.
February 27 – Pebble Beach Golf Links
(2/27/09 – 6:08 p.m.) … I am not sure what it is about Pebble Beach that makes it the ultimate golf experience. Could it be the awesome front nine that overlooks the Pacific Ocean? Or the fact the place has an aura of rich golf history? Maybe it’s the caddy experience, wear you walk 18-holes and feel like Tiger Woods for a day? Or the comradery that gets stepped up a notch or two when playing the place just known as Pebble?
The weather was absolutely beautiful as the Golfest dozen tackled the most famous 18-holes in the United States. A slight breeze about midway through the round made some of the par-5’s challenging, but it was a great day. Low round of the day went to Spanky Hayes and Bob Potts who worked their way around with 87’s.
The contest of the day took place between the team Jim’s (Allen & Dee) against Mike Werner and Jeffrey Adkins.
Yesterday’s scores made this a straight up contest. However, the Jim’s ham and egged our way around to rout the Adkins-Werner team for six Ben Franklins. I shot a 43-48, and Dee chalked up a pair of 46’s in an entertaining “trash-talking” event that had our caddy’s in stitches.
High score honors went to Tony Lopez. While Jeffrey Adkins high score yesterday mirrored the high summer temperatures in Arizona … Mr. Lopez had swing-plane issues that made his scorecard resemble the summer temperatures in … Dubai. Those are estimated to be in the 129-degree range. Either way, Tony admitted to having the time of his life on the famous course.
Our group dropped $1200 for dinner last night at Roy’s. The service was good, but unless you ordered seafood, the rest of the menu was average at best. Considering Roy’s great reputation, it must have been an off night.
We took a bunch of great photos. If you ever have the chance to play Pebble Beach, my advice is to do it. Forget about the $420 price tag. Bottom line — it’s worth every penny!
February 28 – The Links at Spanish Bay
(3/28/09 – 3:37 p.m. – sitting at the airport) … Man …, it’s amazing how fast 48-hours flashes by when you’re having fun. Throw in some great courses, some unique personalities, a short two-day window, a Golfest-twist, and it’s always a guarantee that a great trip will break out. Luckily we brought cameras to capture our Kodak moments, because just as quickly as this FLY-BY started, it was time to repack our bags. Of course our bags include some additional PB logo gear as our group continued to support the local economy by way of the Pro Shop.
Today’s 7:00 a.m. tee times at Spanish Bay came way too early for our group. While some hotel rooms were heard rustling around at 5:00 a.m., many others had to skip breakfast to get their clubs loaded up in the cart. Warm-ups? Our brisk heart-pumping warm ups consisted of bending over and tying our golf shoes. On this morning, the foursome of Jim Allen, Jim Dee, Spanky Hayes and Danny Young were the first group out on the damp course on a crisp morning.
After an entertaining Italian dinner last night at the Inn at Spanish Bay, many were somewhat surprised that Jeffrey Adkins made the call. But then again …, maybe not …, because Jeffrey always makes the call, no matter what solar system the bar tab reaches. Mr. Adkins was feeling no pain at a dinner that had all of us in stitches. Man, if there is one thing this group can do well … it’s laugh at stupid stuff.
As far as the golf was concerned, Spanish Bay threw most of us a change-up. After enjoying the nice wide fairways at Spyglass and Pebble, Spanish Bay dished up a target-style golf links experience. If your ball wasn’t on target, you were typically searching for your ball in a deep bunker, a sand dune, or some heavy foliage. Ask me how I know that? About five holes into the event, the sun came blaring through in a great finishing event to our PB FLY-BY. A perfect ending to a perfect fly-by. Unfortunately, …, now it’s time to get back to reality.
Here are few remaining notes and quotes from the Pebble Beach Fly-By … Our alleged premise for scheduling the trip was to support the local economy during these trying times. Okay … , I agree …, that is a little farfetched, but it sure looked good on paper. But if one thing is true, if you plan to visit the Pebble Beach Resort, you better bring your VISA card — and be prepared to use it.
While the PB U.S. Open Preview package was affordable ($1280 per person – double occupancy) and included three rounds of golf and a couple of nights at Spanish Bay, the rest of the experience adds up quickly. Especially if one wants to do the basics, like eating or drinking. If you need an example, Jim Dee offered to buy a couple of vodka-cranberries at the Spanish Bay lounge. That gracious act set him back $31.50, plus a tip. No …, that’s not a misprint; no …, it wasn’t a tall; and no …, it wasn’t a double. However, I think that is a new Golfest record of some sort. … Included as part of the PB package was a gift box that featured a commemorative 2010 U.S. Open desk clock. It didn’t make up for the $15 cocktails, but It’s pretty cool. … Upon our return, I received many inquiries on how much the PB experience actually costs these days. Green fees continue to be among the highest in the world, racking up $495 worth of frequent flyer miles on your credit card. The caddy will add another $75, plus another $50 for a tip. That works out to just over $34 per hole — or in my case, about $6.81 per stroke. Gives a whole new meaning to the words money shot. Just in case you are wondering, it’s a great investment at any price. … Many of the caddy’s do a good job of enhancing the experience. They definitely help in the putting department, knowing all of the little nuances of the greens. And it seems like they will never let you lose a ball, unless you dump it in the ocean. They find everything. … By the way, few of us escaped the resort without scoring some PB logo apparel and/or merchandise — which reminds me, I need to pay my VISA card. …