So did Pebble Beach live up to its reputation? Was it worth it? Would we save our pennies and go again? You betcha! Pebble Beach was extraordinary – in so many ways but I’ll get to that shortly.
We had a slow day – which was great considering the hectic pace we had been setting up until then. We stayed at the Heritage Best Western which is in a great location one street back from Cannery Row.
As you enter the park area, the houses are noticeably larger and the landscape more heavily wooded. Then it opens out again at Spanish Bay – where there is a challenging links course and a beautiful resort – all part of Pebble Beach Resort. Spyglass Hill is also part of the Pebble Beach group and the only course that has private membership. I didn’t even ask how much.
Our room overlooked the first hole. Clearly staying one night didn’t warrant an ocean view, despite the occupancy being low.
We walked along the cart path beside the 17thhole and watched a group of Japanese men playing. We had heard that it was really worthwhile to have a caddy – to take your photos as well as help with the golf and these guys were making the most of their caddy’s camera skills.
We walked around the shopping village and bought a few golfing necessities. Fortunately the Izod outlet shop in Monterey had the most fantastic deals and we bought some other bits and pieces there the day before.
We opted for a very late lunch in The Tap Room, which is their version of a pub. As it was the last day of the Masters, the place was packed and we got a seat at the bar. There was a woman beside us wearing thick rimmed glasses – she reminded me of an old movie star and if the whole place wasn’t so wrapped up in the play off for the green jacket I would have found out if she actually was.
We watched Bubba Watson win his first green jacket, ate our enormous lunch then retired to enjoy our room before dinner. Not that we really needed any.
On Monday morning we planned to be up early and get organised for the big game. I would have loved to spend all day in the heavenly bed with the billion thread count sheets but there was golf to be had. Interestingly while the accommodation and golf at Pebble Beach cost a king’s ransom the food is reasonable. We had breakfast upstairs overlooking the putting green and I had what would have to be the best eggs, crispy bacon and hash brown I have ever tasted. The hash brown was more like a potato roesti – and it was all very home made. And they made good coffee too – finally!
Bing Crosby’s old house on the course
Teeing off was a little daunting and my first two holes were forgettable to say the least. Ian was none too thrilled with his first tee shot either but he found form a lot faster than I did. Fortunately by the third hole I was beginning to remember that I could actually play – getting a shot into the air was a big thrill and things picked up from there. I couldn’t have cared less about the standard of my golf though as the views were amazing in every direction. Our caddy, Matt knew all the local stories – he could tell you who owned which house and where you could still buy real estate in Carmel By Sea for less than a quarter of a million dollars. Unlike some of the houses on the course which were for sale for anywhere between six and seventy five million dollars.
He had some great stories about people he’d caddied for including Clint Eastwood who he caddied for the day he bought the resort – well a pretty big share of it. There are six major shareholders and a whole lot of smaller ones. At least Mr Eastwood actually lives here – he was the mayor of Carmel for a while and he is apparently a very active and visible member of the local community.
The golf was fun – we had some great holes and some really ordinary ones but it didn’t matter. We were pinching ourselves that we were playing Pebble Beach, home of the US Open on several occasions and again in 2019.
The weather had been kind, mostly sunny and the wind wasn’t too blustery to begin with but by the 17th hole it was freezing. The caddies told us that we had been truly fortunate with the weather as it’s frequently raining and cold and in the summer, extremely foggy.
Driving back to San Francisco we passed through Carmel By Sea which is like a postcard and a definite must see for next time. Big Sur is also on that list. We took a wrong turn on the freeway – and found a little town called Castroville which we headed back through to get to the right road. It was dead flat and dirt poor. The juxtaposition of the area 20 minutes away was not lost on us as we took in the sights of the artichoke capital of the world – with their very own ‘big artichoke’.