The most immediate memory of Pebble Beach Golf Links that comes to mind is peace, the stillness and harmony of the sunsets are unsurpassed. If you are reading this, it is because, like me, you are more than just a golf fan. If so, there are four things you must do in your golfing life before you make your last birdie:
– Set foot in Augusta National (preferably during the Masters de Augusta).
– Teeing off from the first tee and arriving at the 18th of the Old Course de St Andrews.
– Experience the tee of a Ryder Cup hole one.
– Play Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Jack Nicklaus’ last lap
There is no logical or recommended order, I leave it up to your possibilities and availability, if there is one thing I agree with the legendary Jack Nicklaus, it is his famous sentence: ‘if I only had one round left in my life, it would be Pebble Beach without hesitation’. Amen, Golden Bear. I remember very well that morning of nerves and cool Pacific humidity. There are trips that you keep for life, and I assure you that every second of my Pebble Beach experience lives on in my mind. My caddie, the previous minutes on the putting green, the arrival at holes 6, 7, 8 and 9, one of those few moments in your life where a landscape can overwhelm you.
One of my favourite places
The tee shot on the 6th hole, an imposing par five, where the course begins to flirt with the Pacific Ocean, the tee shot on the 7th hole, barely 100 metres of downhill par 3, where I have seen the best professionals tee off with the 5 iron on the windiest days on the Monterrey Peninsula or the second shot on the 8th hole, for me the most spectacular shot you can find on a golf course.
The combination of holes is perfect. Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of those courses that, as soon as you finish playing, you will be able to remember every single one of the 18 holes. The course ends with a complicated par 3 and the 18th hole, a par 5 where the waves break on your feet at the very tee.
The attention to the visitor also borders on excellence, from the welcome at the clubhouse or the stay at the hotels (if you are lucky enough to stay at the resort), the caddies who accompany you, or at the end of the round, before a well-deserved beer with a view, they receive your clubs to leave them immaculate before the next round, while they clean your shoes and even refresh your feet with jets of fresh air. The temperature changes from day to night are abrupt in this area; imagine how, after playing and commenting on the experience, they have prepared a hot bath in your room and lit the fireplace for you.
I don’t think you need many more arguments to live this experience, but I assure you that there are: the natural wonder of the Monterey Peninsula, playing Spanish Bay or Spyglass, visiting a fairytale town like Carmel, doing the 17-mile Route, San Francisco, etc…,….
One last memory at Pebble Beach Golf Links
On another of my visits, this time without clubs, at the US Open in 2010, I remember an American journalist who had played the course a couple of months earlier. “I walked off the 1st tee as an agnostic and on the 8th green I can assure you that I believed in God”, he commented seriously and still overwhelmed. To really enjoy them, you have to play the courses in silence, the very wise man told me, “it is a gift to hear your footsteps crunching the grass”. I recently found out that the Covid also took him by surprise, and it comforts me to think, as the great Nicklaus sensed, that he left with his dream fulfilled.