Pebble (2013)

Every golfer’s dream is to play America’s greatest public course, Pebble Beach, and the Windy City Critic got the opportunity to chase the little white ball for a round with Rich and Katie Hyland.

The storied links has hosted five U.S. Opens, five amateur U.S. Championships and 67 PGA events. It’s character is unmatched by any other course, it is the only public course to be ranked number one on Golf Digest’s “100 Greatest Golf Courses.”

The northern California resort is set along the rough coastline of Carmel Bay, sitting almost on top of the Pacific Ocean. It is like playing golf at the Cliffs of Moher, just unbelievable scenery.

Compared to courses in the Midwest, Pebble is jaw-dropping. Even courses on the Great Lakes can’t touch the majestic beauty of the historic trek. The weather in that area makes fog a normal occurrence, but the way it moved throughout the course was almost magical.

When the round started the course seemed the fog bowl. But throughout the day the fog would roll out onto the ocean and back onto the course as if the Pacific was breathing.

Most courses have a signature hole, but the great ones have many. All seven of the holes on the Pacific are signature holes, all are beautiful and terrifying. The famous number 7 is a 100 yard par 3 surrounded by sand and water, yours truly put it directly in the drink.

Number six is something out of “Lord of the Rings,” it’s a long par 5 on a peninsula. If you hit to the left you’re fine, hit it to the right and you have to hit over a three-story high cliff. Yours truly hit it right, got rejected by the cliff and put it in the drink.

Pebble is tough but playable. There is a lot of sand and water, I had trouble with the water. Another person in our group was in the sand on almost every hole, maybe even twice a hole.

The course would have been much harder without our caddie Nick Brovia, who has walked Pebble’s fairways for 13 years. Nick was a friendly character being a firefighter, surfer and a caddie at Pebble Beach. He was very knowledgeable about the game and course. Nick told us that people have lost Rolexes, money clips and other ridiculous valuables to the birds.

Then it happened to us on different occasions, birds stole a large cookie, bag of chips and half a sandwich. Those bastards would just fly away carrying our food with a cocky swagger. Food is valuables to our group.

Besides the birds, the entire round was surreal. Pebble Beach has a hefty $500 green fee, but if you like golf it is worth it.

The greens were aerated, so everyone in our group got a $75 gift certificate to be used on anything at the resort. So if your looking to get the most bang for your buck at an expensive resort, March would be a good time to go to Pebble.

WCC Final Score: 111