Pacific Grove Golf Links is located in the charming town of Pacific Grove, California, along the northern portion of the stunning Monterey Peninsula coastline. Located less than 10 minutes down the road from giants such as Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill, Pacific Grove Golf Links provides a much more affordable — but not to be overlooked — experience.
My wife and I have stayed in the town of Pacific Grove on numerous occasions now, and I can speak for both of us when I say that Pacific Grove Golf Links has added to each experience. We always make sure we set aside time to play here, often several times. Locally referred to as “Poor Man’s Pebble”, the course provides stunning ocean views while maintaining very reasonable green fees. At peak times on weekends, you can play for $68 including a cart. During the week, you can get on for less than $50 walking.
The course starts off with a fun front 9 which meanders through the community and amongst gorgeous cypress trees. It’s a local hangout for many friendly deer, so having a gallery is a normal occurrence.
The front 9 is often overshadowed by the ocean views of the back 9, but it is still a fun and playable collection of holes. It has three par-3’s ranging from 140 yards to over 200 yards, a couple of reachable par 4’s and some longer ones, and two solid par 5’s. Although the front isn’t overly long, there is a premium on accuracy due to the narrow, tree-lined fairways.
Looking back on the par-4 3rd hole:
The approach to the par-5 7th hole:
On several occasions, we played early in the morning and temptation got the both of us with the Point Pinos Grill menu posted on the 9th tee. With one simple phone call, we discovered one of the best breakfast sandwiches we’ve ever had. You’ll have to trust me and grab one for yourself, as you’ll need the extra energy to take in the back 9 views. I wish more courses would provide players the option to order their food on the 9th tee. It helps speed up play at the turn and gives you more options than just a hot dog or pre-packaged sandwich.
The short par-3 10th hole gives you just enough time to eat your breakfast sandwich before heading to the 11th tee and getting your first good glimpse of the Pacific and the beautiful coastal dunes.
The par-4 11th hole, where you can see Beth going for the early tee pick-up after piping one:
The 11th hole is a fun start to the links portion of the course, which is reachable for longer hitters. The fairway is a mile-wide, but with the green down on the left side where all the trouble is, it requires a lot of commitment to hold that line with a driver. I’ve approached this green from the right side on several occasions and, thankfully, can’t personally attest to the extent of the trouble down the left.
The tee shot on the par-5 12th hole:
If you’re lucky enough, you may be able to fit in some whale watching while you play this portion of the course. We’ve been fortunate enough to observe whales off in the distance while walking down the 12th fairway. I’m all about keeping play moving, but whale watching is a good reason to pause for a moment and take it all in.
Looking back on the 12th green:
The course continues to give you plenty of fun risk-reward options, from the reachable par-5 12th hole, to shorter par 4’s which offer both conservative and aggressive options off the tee. It appears open and inviting off the tee, but believe you me, the beautiful coastal dunes can draw up some nasty lies and make you think twice about being too aggressive.
Beth looking to carry the dunes down the left on the dogleg left, par-4 13th hole:
A view from above the par-4 13th green with the 12th fairway in the background:
Yours truly standing in the 14th fairway with Point Pinos Lighthouse in the background:
The approach to the par-4 16th hole:
After the round, I highly recommend popping into Point Pinos Grill for a bite to eat and a drink. The food is awesome, very reasonably priced, and you can enjoy it in a cozy, down-to-earth atmosphere. We’ve saddled up on their patio on multiple occasions and have had great experiences. With a view of golfers coming up the 18th fairway and the ocean off in the background, it’s a perfect way to cap off a fun day on the links.
With new management recently taking over, the course conditions, particularly the greens, have improved significantly since the first time we played the course a few years back. The greens were in beautiful shape and rolling nicely, while the fairways and tee boxes have remained in good shape. It was a great experience a few years back, and the experience and value has only enhanced since the changes.
Pacific Grove Golf Links will forever be part of our itinerary during trips to the Monterey Peninsula. You get to enjoy golf that is fun for all skill levels while taking in breathtaking ocean views, without paying the big ocean view prices. Although it has been coined as “Poor Man’s Pebble”, it deserves to be more than a consolation for those who don’t want to pay the big bucks. It can and does stand strong on its own. The name is Pacific Grove Golf Links, it’s the best value in golf, and a must-play when visiting the Monterey Peninsula.
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