Arguably the most famous course on the Pacific West coast of America, Pebble Beach Golf Links this month hosts the US Open for the sixth time.
Situated roughly 80 miles south of San Jose, the facility is open to the public – but a casual knock will set you back over $500 + extras if you want to tick it off your bucket list, and booking a tee-time is notoriously difficult. The layout, which features a number of holes which wind their way along the rugged stretch of coastline, was designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant and opened in 1919.
Holes 1 to 3 all play inland and it’s not until the approach shot to the fourth green that the shimmering ocean comes into view. From there the holes snake along the coast, famously creeping around Arrowhead Point, a peninsula which is the setting for the spectacular par-3 seventh hole. Played to just over 100 yards from an elevated tee, this famous short hole often features the choppy waters crashing against the rocks below the green, adding to the drama of a breathtaking backdrop.
From the 11th tee the course turns inland again and it’s not until another famous par-3 – the 17th – that the beautiful blue Pacific opens up. It is this hole that played a pivotal role in wins for Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Tom Watson (1982) as they both delivered clutch birdies in hugely differing circumstances. Nicklaus fired the most famous 1-iron ever hit, which soared through the wind, pitched on the green, struck the pin and came to rest inches away from the cup. Watson memorably chipped in from a thick lie after short-siding himself, to defeat Nicklaus and win his first and only US Open title.
— Matt Wallace (@mattsjwallace) June 9, 2019
The most recent winner of a Major at Pebble Beach was Graeme McDowell at the 2010 US Open and the venue also hosted the PGA Championship of 1977, won by Lanny Wadkins. The PGA Tour’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am spans three courses in the area and is held every year, early in the season. Brooks Koepka, fast becoming the dominant force in the Majors, is looking to complete a hat-trick of US Open titles, having won the past two encounters at Erin Hills and Shinnecock Hills.