Though I'm privileged to be a member of the PGA.com Advisory Board -- the group that selected these courses -- the rules dictated that I was not allowed to vote for my own course. Fair enough. But the fact that Pebble Beach received a vote from every other member of the Board (the only course to do so, I'm told) tells me that the one thing you can count on at Pebble Beach Golf Links is consistency. No matter what time of year you come, no matter what time of day you play, no matter how good a player you are, when you put a peg in the ground on the first tee, you can expect one of -- if not the -- most unforgettable and enjoyable rounds of golf of your life.
I'd like to discuss five significant reasons why I think Pebble Beach is beautiful and then offer one added reason why I think the title of "Most Beautiful" is appropriate.
Climate: One of the great misconceptions about Pebble Beach is that our weather patterns are unpredictable and not particularly golf friendly. We host over 62,000 rounds of golf every year and can offer impeccable conditions no matter what time of year you come out to play. We could not do that unless we were fortunate enough to be situated in the perfect golf environment. Our highs are never too high, our lows are never too low. Did you know we only get 15 inches of rain per year on average? Some can't erase the memory of a few strong storms that have invaded during high-profile times such as the Crosby Clambake (now the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am), but those are exceptions, not the norm. I have friends on the East Coast who like to say that they enjoy their climate because it’s nice to have four seasons. My reply to them is always the same: “You don’t need four seasons if the one you have is perfect.”
The views: From the majestic mountains to the east, to the breath-taking cliffs, to the amazing flora and trees that dot the course, there may not be a more scenic place --much less golf course -- than the Monterey Peninsula. Players are probably more apt to forget their putter than their camera when they visit us. Many have called our course the perfect meeting of land and water. When you visit, you'll understand the sentiment. And let's not forget the world's most spectacular water hazard, the glorious Pacific Ocean. Whether sparkling on a calm day, or violently crashing on the rocks on a breezy day, there may not be a more incredible visual than looking out into Stillwater Cove. I'd say that qualifies as beautiful.
History and Tradition: You can't plan it, at least not to this scale, but history and tradition play a huge part in what makes Pebble Beach beautiful. We've hosted all the great players, hosted major championships, a star-studded PGA Tour event every year, and had so many incredible golf moments that you it would take a few books to include them all (which we happen to sell in our pro shop, by the way.) Think about how many players would love to have their names associated with Pebble Beach -- to say, "yeah, I won such-and-such at Pebble Beach."
Design: We can't take too much credit for the design; Jack Neville and Douglas Grant designed Pebble Beach Golf Links in 1919. But from the moment it was open for play, people have marveled at the way it routes through the land, hugs the coastline, incorporates the cliffs, the ocean and all the terrain into a seamless and inspiring journey. When you play this golf course, you will be asked to hit all types of shots -- and you'll celebrate the ones you hit well -- but you'll also fondly recall the ones you didn't.
Service: This is one area that we do control and believe you me, we take it very seriously. You can't be a world-class resort based on location and tradition only; there are too many spectacular destinations for golfers to choose from if you don't deliver on all fronts. From the moment you pull up, from the greeting you get from the first person you see, to the day you close your car door to leave, we want you to know that you are valued and appreciated at the highest level. Our spa, our food and beverage, our maintenance crew, everything we do is designed to showcase the most genuine and elite level of service in the entire golf industry.
The smiles: I see it in faces every day as people check in for their rounds. There is an aura of anticipation and excitement that is quite contagious. People are not just here for the golf of course; they are here for the experience. And many are here as the fulfillment of a lifelong goal, as a passionate golfer who may have been saving and planning this trip for years. And more often than not, they come here with the most special golf partner in their lives -- whether it's a parent, a spouse, or close friend. And so it's more than a round of golf to them. It's a shared moment in time, a special bond that now connects them and their playing partner in a way that can't be replicated anywhere else. And if you think their smiles are big before they tee off, you should see them when they finish up their round! I try to see that as much as I can because it serves a great purpose for me and everyone here.
Believe me; I know there are a number of tremendous golf courses out there and I've been fortunate enough to play many of them. So I'm not going to proclaim that we are in a class by ourselves. But I can say that when you take into account the five factors I've listed and then add some emphasis to reason number six, well, I can tell that whatever class it is, it doesn't take long to call the roll. Come visit us at Pebble Beach Golf Links; I think you'll agree.
The World's Most Beautiful Courses is a list of courses selected by the PGA.com Editorial Advisory Board. The only prerequisites asked of the Board were 1.) they select courses open for public play and 2.) they not vote for their own course. The top 10 courses will be featured, in no particular order, other than the top vote getter which was selected by a unanimous vote.