Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., Spyglass Hill Golf Course is located in Pebble Beach, California, and is one of the four courses operated by Pebble Beach Resorts. The other three being Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Links at Spanish Bay, and Del Monte Golf Course.
RTJ Sr. golf courses may not be as trendy in golf architecture circles right now due to the typical penal nature of his courses but, I’ll be honest, I am hot for Spyglass. I’ve been fortunate enough to have played it four times now, and they have all been memorable experiences.
If golf courses were brands of ketchup, Spyglass would be Heinz. Not a single thing I would change about it. Brilliant in it’s simplicity. Timeless. No frills. Satisfying yet leaves you wanting more. There is something very elegant about Spyglass. The holes flow naturally with the terrain, and the transition from ocean holes to the Del Monte forest seems perfectly fitting. You get a bit of everything.
It’s an amazing feeling standing on that first tee knowing you’re about to embark on one of the more challenging and beautiful courses in North America. The course plays a few hundred yards longer than the scorecard indicates, so take that into consideration when selecting your tee box. The first hole is a blind, downhill, dogleg left tee shot. When you crest the hill around the corner of the demanding par 5, it takes your breath away.
The approach to the par-5 1st hole:
The view from the par-4 2nd green:
My wife and I on the par-3 3rd hole:
Approach to the narrow green of the par-4 4th hole:
The par-3 5th hole:
After the sweeping ocean views and rugged sand dunes of the first five holes take your breath away, you’d better gather yourself as you head into the second part of the golf course carved through the Del Monte forest. Tree lined fairways, demanding tee shots, challenging approach shots, grazing deer, and some sneaky water hazards await.
The approach to the par-5 11th hole:
Looking back on the long par-5 14th hole:
Although Spyglass is a firm challenge, I have always found it to play fair and very fun. Good shots are rewarded, and poorly placed shots will leave you struggling to score.
The rack rate to play Spyglass doesn’t come cheap at $395. However, they do have a twilight rate of $210, and it is possible to get times that will give you very good odds of finishing all 18 holes before dark. You can also play the course with a Duke’s Membership (or as a guest of a Duke’s member) for $210. Carts are extra, but I highly recommend walking.
Spyglass Hill is a high-end course with a down to earth feel. The staff have treated us extremely well during every visit, and each time I’ve walked off the 18th green, all I wanted to do was play it again.
My wife and I have both had our moments of glory finishing off our rounds at Spyglass. The first go around, I hacked it out of the right rough with a wedge to 15 feet on the 18th and rolled it in for birdie to finish in style. The second go around, Beth got sweet revenge and after we both hit the fairway and green in regulation, she rolled hers in for birdie to clinch the match. The most recent time we played it was the day after our wedding, which in itself was glorious.
It’s as if Spyglass keeps begging us to come back — I think we’ll listen.
If you haven’t experienced Spyglass Hill Golf Course yet, you are missing out on one of the gems of the west coast.