Golf Course Review - Pebble Beach Golf Links

By Phil SokolFebruary 6, 2008, 5:00 pm
HISTORY: Pebble Beach founder Samuel F.B. Morse had a vision to create a one- of-a-kind course with unsurpassed scenic beauty and an element of difficulty that would always be challenged but never conquered. To do so, Morse hired two amateurs who had never before designed a golf course, Jack Neville and Douglas Grant. It was Morse's intention to create a seaside course to salvage a failing real estate development. For roughly $100,000 in construction costs, the amateur duo routed the famed seaside links, which features nine holes along the water.
 
Pebble Beach has been host to some amazing events, including four U.S. Opens and four U.S. Amateurs, and since 1947 has been the main venue for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, formerly called the Crosby Pro-Am (Named after legendary entertainer Bing Crosby). When people talk about the U.S. Opens at Pebble, 1972 comes to mind and Jack Nicklaus' one-iron on the 17th hole that rattled the pin as he defeated Bruce Crampton by three shots. Or, how about the 1982 Open, when Tom Watson denied Nicklaus a fifth Open title when he chipped in on 17 from a somewhat impossible lie after telling his caddie 'I'm going to sink it.' Let's not forget the record performance from Tiger Woods in 2000 when he demolished the field by 15 shots as he equaled the lowest score ever at the 100th edition of the U.S. Open Championship.
 
Pebble Beach
The fifth opened in 1999 for play after Nicklaus designed the hole to flank the bluffs of Stillwater Cove.
REVIEW: Beautiful and breathtaking scenery comes into play when battling Pebble Beach, especially holes seven through 10 and 17 and 18, as they skirt the Pacific. However, Pebble has some holes sprinkled throughout the layout that are 'nice' holes, not great. The first hole is a dogleg right par-4, just 381 yards leading up to a tightly-bunkered green. The second is a straightaway five-par (played as a par-4 for the 2000 Open) that leaves you thinking, what's so special about this course? The third hole is also a short four, featuring a sliver of a fairway as it bends almost 90-degrees to the left to a small green surrounded by three bunkers and your first glimpse of the ocean.
 
Another somewhat average hole is the fourth at 331 yards. A carry of just 196 yards is needed from the tips, as the ocean skirting the entire right side is played as a lateral hazard. The fifth hole opened in 1999 for play after Nicklaus designed the hole to flank the bluffs of Stillwater Cove. Originally, the fifth played uphill and inland, but Nicklaus did himself proud with his re-routing of this gem. The sixth is an exacting par-5 with the Cove all along the right. After your tee shot down into the valley of the fairway, your second shot must travel up over a steep slope and must be accurately placed to the right of the bunkers, thus leaving yourself with a short approach to this small green that runs from back to front.
 
The par-3 seventh is where the wind really comes into play. On a calm day, sand wedge is the norm. However, when conditions are blustery, a knock down five-iron could be the call. This hole is one of the most photographed holes in golf. As you move to the eighth, don't forget to check out where the aiming rock is, otherwise you will end up in the ocean. After your drive reaches the top of the plateau, hold your breath, as the view and the shot you need to produce are awe inspiring.
Pebble Beach
On a calm day, sand wedge is the norm on the seventh hole. However, when conditions are blustery, a knock down five-iron could be the call.
The final hole on the front side features an ocean view all along the right side of the fairway. Your drive needs to be long and left, as the fairway slopes towards the water. A deep bunkered gully fronts this windswept green.
 
Another waterside hole, the 10th at 446 yards, is no pushover, as this fairway also slopes to the right, as does the green, so a properly placed approach is a must. The course returns to average with the uphill, par-4 11th. The oblong green slopes from back to front and tends to be very quick. The 12th is an exacting par-3 with club selection a must to a wide, but shallow green. The uphill, par-4 13th plays longer than the 399 yardage would indicate. A wide fairway target helps off the tee, but don't stray, as a long bunker left and three bunkers right will snare plenty of errant shots. The par-5 14th is virtually a three-shotter for most mortals (Tiger and Daly excluded). The dogleg right, 573-yard monster must be played with an accurate second shot or your approach will be next to impossible, as the green slopes from left to right and sits behind a menacing bunker.
 
A medium or short iron will set up a birdie possibility on the par-4 15th. Just remember, all putts will move towards the ocean. A ho-hum 3-wood or long iron off the 16th tee will set up medium or short iron approach to a green guarded by bunkers and trees. Putting on this green is the most challenging part of the hole. Back to the ocean for the 17th, as the wind condition will dictate your course of action. A par on this devilish par-3 with an hourglass green will make your day. Chip-in like Watson and who knows, you might be buying drinks at the bar, usually reserved for people making an ace. The 18th hole is a perfect way to end your round. Hopefully, you'll have to wait on the tee, so you'll be able to absorb the surroundings and what transpired during your round. Sitting on the fence, remembering your birdies, bogeys, Nicklaus pondering his future, this is what golf is all about. With water looming all along the left side, the tee shot must be placed left of the fairway trees some 265 from the box. Your second shot would be ideally located on the left side of the fairway, leaving a nine- iron or less to a green that features putts that tend to fall ocean side. Parring 18 makes everything else seem sublime.
 
OVERALL: As good as Pine Valley, no way, but a somewhat close runner-up. Course conditioning is always a factor and it affects this course in particular due to the amount of rounds played each year. When playing a seaside venue, you'd love to include rugged elements in the mix. However, a benign sunny day takes the cake. Don't let the price tag ($350 per round) bother you. Pebble Beach is a must!
 
Phil Sokol writes for the Sports Network, and periodically contributes to GolfChannel.com. Send your thoughts on this article to Phil Sokol at psokol@sportsnetwork.com.
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'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

He had previously teased his involvement back in May:

Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

A 25-year media veteran from Australia, Elvy now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

Elvy participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship.

Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," he lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy said. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”