Pebble Beach Golf Links: Images and Facts You Need

A general view of the No. 5 hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Pebble Beach Golf Links is an open-to-the-public, 18-hole golf course on California's Monterey Peninsula, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It's one of the most famous — and highly regarded — golf courses in the world. (For instance, Jack Nicklaus once said, "If I only had one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach. I've loved this course from the first time I saw it. It's possibly the best in the world.")

Every year, Pebble Beach is the site of the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tournament, and the course regularly hosts other major tournaments including the U.S. Open.

Pebble Beach Golf Links is the jewel of Pebble Beach Resorts, which includes several other well-known golf courses (such as Spyglass Hill) on the peninsula.

How Much Does It Cost to Play Pebble Beach?

A general view of Hole No. 4 at Pebble Beach.
Looking across the fourth hole at Pebble Beach. Robert Laberge/Getty Images

At least once in its biannual rankings, Golf Digest has rated Pebble Beach the best course in America — the first public course so honored. So like Nicklaus, you, too, can play Pebble Beach, since it's a public course. But two things to keep in mind if you want to play:

  1. Bring plenty of money. Green fees at Pebble Beach Golf Links are measured in the several hundreds of dollars. Pebble Beach's are among the highest green fees of any golf course in the world.
  2. Make arrangements early. Your best bet is to arrange your rounds through a stay-and-play package (guests at The Lodge at Pebble Beach and The Inn at Spanish Bay get priority). That, however, requires even more money than just paying for green fees. (Note that there are times when a hotel stay is required in order to get a tee time.)

The green fees at Pebble Beach top out around $500. Per person. And that only includes a cart fee for resort guests; non-guests pay extra for a riding cart. If you prefer a caddie, that's around $100 more.

Don't want to book a stay-and-play package? Call the pro shop (phone number listed below the following photo) for a tee time, just like at any other public golf course. But call very far in advance.

You can also try your luck showing up as a single — the starters will try to work you in, but there are no guarantees.

Getting to Pebble Beach (with Contact Info)

Martin Kaymer of Germany plays from a bunker while caddie Craig Connelly looks on during a practice round prior to the start of the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2010
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

As noted at the top, Pebble Beach Golf Links is located on the Monterey Peninsula, which is south of San Francisco and San Jose; well north of Los Angeles; and due west of Fresno.

Contact info for Pebble Beach:

  • Address: 1700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
  • Phone: (877) 852-4520 for the pro shop, (800) 877‑0597 for resort reservations
  • Web site: pebblebeach.com

Most people who travel to play Pebble Beach will fly into the San Franciso or San Jose airports; some will fly into the Monterey Peninsula airport. The resort website has driving directions from each.

Pebble Beach Golf Links Origins and Architects

Three deer graze by the third fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Links
Deer grazing by the third fairway at Pebble Beach. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Pebble Beach Golf Links opened in 1919. It was designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, a pair of amateur golfers doing their first course design.

A few other architects have made changes to the Neville/Grant design over the years. Those touch-up artists include Arthur "Bunker" Vincent, William Fowler, H. Chandler Egan, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

The impetus for building a golf course at Pebble Beach came from Samuel Morse (whose distant cousin of the same name was the inventor of the telegraph and Morse code). Morse, known as the "Duke of Del Monte," started a development company that built Pebble Beach Resorts, and ran that company until his death in 1969.

Yardages and Ratings at Pebble Beach

Golfers on the 7th green at Pebble Beach as waves crash behind.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Pebble Beach Golf Links is a par-72, 6,828 yard layout from the Blue tees, which are the back tees for resort play. (Additional tees known as the Black tees, or U.S. Open tees, are in play during pro tour events, and stretch slightly more than 7,000 yards).

The course rating from the Blue tees is 74.7, with a slope rating of 143.

Yardages from the Blue tees:

No. 1 — Par 4 — 377 yards
No. 2 — Par 5 — 511 yards
No. 3 — Par 4 — 390 yards
No. 4 — Par 4 — 326 yards
No. 5 — Par 3 — 192 yards
No. 6 — Par 5 — 506 yards
No. 7 — Par 3 — 106 yards
No. 8 — Par 4 — 427 yards
No. 9 — Par 4 — 481 yards
Out — Par 36 — 3,316 yards
No. 10 — Par 4 — 446 yards
No. 11 — Par 4 — 373 yards
No. 12 — Par 3 — 201 yards
No. 13 — Par 4 — 403 yards
No. 14 — Par 5 — 572 yards
No. 15 — Par 4 — 396 yards
No. 16 — Par 4 — 401 yards
No. 17 — Par 3 — 177 yards
No. 18 — Par 5 — 543 yards
In — Par 36 — 3,512 yards

Turfgrasses and Hazards at Pebble Beach Golf Links

Looking at the No. 8 green at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Looking across the eighth green at Pebble Beach. Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

The greens are grassed in poa annua, which is also in the fairways and tees along with perennial ryegrass. The rough, typically cut to two inches, is perennial ryegrass.

There are 117 sand bunkers on the Pebble Beach layout, but there are no water hazards — other than the Pacific Ocean, which menaces multiple holes.

The greens average 3,500 square feet in size and are cut to roll at 10.5 on the Stimpmeter for tournament play.

Significant Tournaments Played at Pebble Beach

Dustin Johnson hits from Pebble Beach's 9th fairway during the 2010 US Open
Golfer Dustin Johnson plays his approach shot from the ninth fairway at Pebble Beach. Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Pebble Beach Golf Links has been the site of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am — originally called the Bing Crosby Pro-Am — every year since 1947. And it has been the site of the California State Amateur every year since 1920. And Pebble Beach has also hosted these tournaments (with their winners):

  • 1929 U.S. Amateur: Harrison R. Johnson
  • 1947 U.S. Amateur: Skee Riegel
  • 1961 U.S. Amateur: Jack Nicklaus
  • 1972 U.S. Open: Jack Nicklaus
  • 1977 PGA Championship: Lanny Wadkins
  • 1982 U.S. Open: Tom Watson
  • 1992 U.S. Open: Tom Kite
  • 1999 U.S. Amateur: David Gossett
  • 2000 U.S. Open: Tiger Woods
  • 2010 U.S. Open: Graeme McDowell

The U.S. Amateur returns to Pebble Beach in 2018 and another U.S. Open is scheduled in 2019.

Trivia About Pebble Beach Golf Links

A general view of the 17th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
The 17th green at Pebble Beach. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
  • When Bobby Jones came to Pebble Beach Golf Links for the 1929 U.S. Amateur, he was trying to become the first person to win three straight Amateur championships. But he was knocked out in the first round by Johnny Goodman.
  • Odd but true: At the Bing Crosby Pro-Am in 1967, Arnold Palmer trailed Jack Nicklaus by a stroke in the final round. On No. 14, Palmer's approach shot struck a tree and bounced out of bounds. He hit another shot, and the same thing happened. He wound up taking 9 and falling out of contention. That night, a storm hit the area and strong winds ripped "Palmer's tree" right out of the ground.
  • Two of the most famous shots in golf history occurred at Pebble Beach, and both involved Jack Nicklaus. In 1972, on the par-3 17th of the final round of the U.S. Open, Nicklaus hit a 1-iron into the teeth of the wind that hit the flagstick. He birdied and won the tournament. In 1982, also on No. 17 in the final round, Tom Watson holed out a seemingly impossible chip shot to beat Nicklaus for the Open title.
  • The final round of the Crosby in 1962 was delayed a day by snow. It was the first snowfall at Pebble Beach in 40 years, and it hasn't snowed there since.
  • At the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 1984, Hale Irwin reached the 18th tee in the final round trailing by one. His tee shot was well left, heading out-of-bounds. It hit the rocks on the shoreline ... and bounced back into the fairway. Irwin wound up birdying the hole, then winning the title in a playoff.

More About What Makes Pebble Beach Special

Looking back down the 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
The 18th hole at Pebble Beach from behind the green. Donald Miralle/Getty Images

What makes Pebble Beach so special? The setting has a lot to do with it. Situated on the Monterrey Peninsula on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, there's not a bad view on the course. Marine mammals (cute otters!) frolic in the waters; the surf hits the beaches and rocky shorelines down below; sea breezes blow across the course.

Then there are those small, sloping — and fast — greens, and the challenging tee shots to narrow fairways bordered by plenty of rough. First-time visitors to Pebble Beach are often unprepared for how small and difficult the greens are.

There are sidehill lies, holes playing uphill, and deep bunkers. And the ocean waters loom for wayward shots on some holes. Plus, breezy conditions are common, and when the wind kicks up, watch out.

And if your golf isn't up to par when you play Pebble Beach? Just focus on that spectacular scenery.

The challenging conditions are mitigated somewhat by the fact that Pebble Beach is not a long golf course. It's actually short by modern standards, tipping out at just over 6,800 yards for daily players.

Holes 4-10 play alongside the water, with No. 7 — a downhill par-3 whose green seems to float on water, bounded on three sides by ocean — the most famous hole in that stretch. It is also said to be one of the most-photographed holes in golf.

The course goes back up into stands of Monterrey cypress trees on No. 11. No. 17, another par-3 whose green is backed by ocean, returns the golfer to the water's edge.

And No. 18, one of the most famous finishing holes in golf, is a 543-yard par-5 with rocky coastline and ocean down its entire left side.