My girlfriend Beth and I got into San Francisco the eve of playing Pebble Beach Golf Links (click for their website) for the first time. It was December 29th, and our 9:15am tee time the following day felt surreal. We took the coastal highway down to Santa Cruz during sunset, stopped for some delicious Mexican food and then carried on and arrived at Borg’s motel in Pacific Grove by 9pm. We were lucky enough to make an advance tee time without staying at the resort. It just wasn’t quite in the budget for that trip. We took a short walk around Lover’s Point and in anticipation of the day ahead, hit the pillow early.
Naturally I woke up well before our alarm with butterflies in my stomach. It’s not often we get to the course 2 hours before a tee time, but that’s exactly what we did. We enjoyed a walk around the grounds and then had a leisurely breakfast at the Gallery where we met our other friend Brett who was teeing it up with us that day. After a shuttle ride to and from the range and a great warmup, we were almost ready to go. Well, except for Brett whose driver head flew off at the driving range. But a quick stop at the pro shop and he was locked and loaded with a demo in his bag for the day. Several minutes on the putting green and a photo shoot in front of the Rolex clock, we were ready to roll.
Being our first round since early October in Canada, in addition to our first round at Pebble, the first tee was a bit nerve racking but I enjoyed every minute of it. Even when I somehow blocked my tee shot so far left it ended up out of bounds, I was not phased. Something about being at Pebble Beach made me feel thankful to just be out there and I kept everything in perspective. In typical fashion, Beth hit her first tee shot right down the fairway. I made an 8 on the first, but after a birdie at the second and a solid par at the third, I was back into the swing of things. The course was very wet and playing long after heavy rains in the area the previous week, but we were lucky enough to have a blue bird day. It was warm enough that I almost considered taking my cardigan off a couple of times, but I feared it would mess with my mojo.
It felt amazing to make pars on all of my most favorite holes: 7, 8, 17, and 18. I gave myself good birdie chances at 7, 17, and 18 but they didn’t quite fall. My playing partners on the other hand got their moneys worth on the 18th, both donating a ball to the sea otters. Our caddy told us that you haven’t played 18 at Pebble until you’ve hit a tee shot in the water…I guess that just means I’ll have to go back. Hopefully I’ll hit the fairway so I have an excuse to go back yet again.
We capped off our day with beers and eats on the patio at The Bench, what a great feeling after a great day. I recommend the spicy fennel flatbread pizza, wow! The experience was worth every penny and I hope to do it again some day. A lot of people critique Pebble Beach for having some “blah” holes in between the breathtaking holes, but I don’t choose to over analyze it or compare it hole for hole to other courses. It is what it is. Pebble Beach. One of the greatest in the world, with history that you can feel through your feet as you walk the course. Whether it’s one of your favorites or not, you can’t deny Pebble Beach Golf Links a must for any golfer in their lifetime.