Plan the perfect Monterey golf vacation for you

By Travel ArticlesJune 8, 2012, 4:00 am

MONTEREY, Calif. -- The Monterey Peninsula is, of course, known for Pebble Beach Golf Links. And while the course with the $495 green fee should be on every avid golfer's bucket list, a golf trip to the area is hardly lacking if you don't get to play the famous course above the bluffs.

The Monterey Peninsula, which includes Carmel-by-the-Sea, Seaside, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, offers some of the best golf, weather, things to do, dining and most of all scenery that you'll ever experience. If budget isn't a concern, there's no limit to the delights. But you might be surprised to find out that even on limited funds, this golf vacation can be affordable, and you'll create memories that will last a lifetime.

What follows are eight tips for a great Monterey Peninsula golf vacation, whether you play the 1919 Jack Neville/Douglas Grant design or not.

1. Don't have to stay there to play there

If you want to schedule an advance tee time at Pebble Beach Golf Links, you normally have to book two nights at the Lodge at Pebble Beach or Inn at Spanish Bay, which pushes your cost up considerably. But if you're willing to chance it, you can get a tee time the day before or the day of if there are any openings without staying at the resort. It will still cost $495, but it's a lot less than having to stay a couple of nights at several C-notes each night. Helpful hint: On many holidays, the course can be somewhat open. Last Memorial Day, the course had tee times open throughout the day, including early morning.

2. Accommodations run the gamut

Everything from the Marriott to bed and breakfasts and budget motels are available. It's typically a little pricier than most locations, but you can find cheap digs for less than $100 a night. And if you're only sleeping in your hotel room -- which is likely since there's so much to do in the day -- a night or two in the Motel 6 or Super 8 just might do the trick.

On the other hand, you might want to step it up a little. The Embassy Suites, for example, in Seaside offers great golf packages with Bayonet/Black Horse Golf Course, which was renovated a couple of years ago and is one of the best values in California. Together, packages can be had for less than $200 a night at times.

3. Check out other Pebble Beach golf courses

Pebble is just the beginning when it comes to golf on the Peninsula. The other Pebble Beach properties aren't too shabby either, don't take six hours to play and are considerably less expensive. Spyglass Hill, for example, has plenty of ocean views and is typically much less crowded. Same with the Links at Spanish Bay, which runs along the coast on the famous 17-Mile Drive. And if you're really looking for a gem, check out Del Monte Golf Course, one of the oldest courses in America. It's always in terrific shape, easily walkable and very affordable (about a fifth of what it costs to play Pebble).

4. Look to Seaside for affordable, spectacular golf

Bayonet and Black Horse are two other great picks, even if you don't book a package. They can be played for around $100 or less at times, especially if you book through the Internet. Both courses were completely renovated a couple of years ago by architect Gene Bates and provide some of the best tests of golf combined with ocean views. Bayonet, which has been the site of U.S. Open sectionals as well as the 2012 PGA Club Professional Championship, is particularly difficult, especially from the tips with a slope/rating of 141/74.8.

5. Play the 'other' Pebble Beach

If you really want to talk bargain, head over to Pacific Grove and play Pacific Grove Golf Links. This little gem was designed by the same guy who did Pebble beach -- Mr. Neville. And while the conditioning won't match Pebble, the views aren't too bad, especially on the back nine, which is mostly on the ocean.

6. Head to the Valley

Other recommendations include Rancho Canada, Quail Lodge and Carmel Valley Ranch. If you can afford it, stay at the peaceful Carmel Valley Ranch Resort -- you won't be disappointed. The course there is a really cool Pete Dye design that works its way around beautiful rolling hills, vineyards and lakes. And the rest of the resort is simply serene, with championship tennis, impeccable farm-to-table dining and some of the most comfortable suites in the country.

7. Great dining around the Peninsula

It's almost impossible to get a bad meal in Monterey, Carmel, at Pebble Beach or anywhere else in the area. And the offerings span every budget.

The real finds are often the beaten path, but there are some pretty good offerings along the well-traveled roads as well.

One recommendation is that even if you don't play Pebble Beach, have lunch or dinner at the famous Tap Room at the Lodge. The photographs and trophies alone are worth the visit, but when you step into the lodge and check out the view of the 18th and Carmel Bay below, you'll be glad you made the trip. The Tap Room isn't cheap -- a Guinness Draft is almost $10 -- but it's not overly pricey either. You can get great soups and appetizers that will certainly fill you up, but the best deal might be the authentic bratwurst, warm potatoes and sauerkraut for just $10.

The next morning, you might want to try breakfast at Em Le's in Carmel. Famous for its battered French toast that probably approaches 2,000 calories, everything on the menu is good, and there are healthier options. The seasonal fruit, picked from nearby farms, is particularly impressive, as is the homemade syrup for the above mentioned French toast, waffles and flapjacks.

And finally, if you're looking for a reasonable seafood dinner in a great atmosphere, you can't go wrong at Fisherman's Wharf in Carmel. The restaurants, which sit right on the water, compete with each other for customers, so the prices are kept down. They even tempt passers-by with free clam chowder samples. Gilbert's, for example, offers freshly caught snapper entrees for less than $13 as well as free calamari, and you won't be disappointed in the quality.

8. Plenty to do and see besides golf

Any first timer to the Peninsula needs to make the trip along the famous 17-Mile Drive. It costs about 10 bucks to get in (free with a tee time or dinner reservation), but it's well worth it. Along the way, you'll find several famous landmarks, including the Lone Cypress Tree near Cypress Point, with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.

The Monterey Aquarium, one of the best of its kind in the country, is a must. The aquarium is located at the end of the famous Cannery Row of author John Steinbeck fame. Not only is there a museum dedicated to the great author, but the area features scores of restaurants, shops and boutique hotels.

You'll also want to check out Fisherman's Wharf for more than just the food. It's a great spot to spy on sea lions and seals and you can also take a whale-watching cruise from the wharf.

Both Carmel and Monterey are also great communities for the arts. Galleries are everywhere, especially in Carmel. And speaking of Carmel, the shopping and people watching is some of the best in the West.

And be sure to work your way all the way down Ocean Street to the beach at Carmel Bay. The views, which include a panoramic picture of Pebble Beach Golf Links from below the bluffs, are breathtaking.

Getty Images

Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

Getty Images

Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

Getty Images

Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

Getty Images

Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”