Pebble Beach Golf Links is a golf course on the west coast of the United States, located in Pebble Beach, California.
Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful courses in the world, it hugs the rugged coastline and has wide open views of Carmel Bay, opening to the Pacific Ocean on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula. In 2001, it became the first public course (i.e. open to the general public for play) to be selected as the No. 1 Golf Course in America by Golf Digest.
The PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions play annual events at Pebble Beach, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the First Tee Open. It has hosted six men's major championships: five U.S. Opens and a PGA Championship. It also hosted the 1988 Nabisco Championship, now known as the Tour Championship, the season-ending event on the PGA Tour.
The course began as part of the complex of the Hotel del Monte, a resort hotel in Monterey, California, built by Charles Crocker, one of the California's Big Four railroad barons, through Southern Pacific Railroad's property division, Pacific Improvement Company. The hotel first opened on June 10, 1880. The famous 17-Mile Drive was originally designed as a local excursion route for visitors to the Del Monte to take in the historic sights of Monterey and Pacific Grove and the scenery of what would become Pebble Beach.
The course was designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant and opened on February 22, 1919. Neville also designed the back nine at Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course on the other side of the Monterey Peninsula. His objective was to place as many of the holes as possible along the rocky and beautiful Monterey coast line.
The first professional tournament at Pebble Beach was the Monterey Peninsula Open in 1926, which had a $5,000 purse. Harry "Lighthorse" Cooper of Texas won with a 72-hole score of 293 (+5). In 1929, Pebble hosted its first major - the U.S. Amateur. A match play event, it was won by Harrison R. Johnston of Minnesota, while Bobby Jones tied for medalist honors in the stroke play qualifier.
In laying out the course, Jack Neville attempted to bring as many holes to the rocky coastline as possible. The first two holes are inland, the third runs toward the ocean, and the fourth and fifth holes run along the Stillwater Cove. This arrangement allowed Neville to make use of a peninsula which juts straight out into the Pacific Ocean. Prior to 1998, the fifth hole was an uphill par 3, but after the Pebble Beach Company acquired additional ocean front property, Jack Nicklaus designed a revised hole that sits hard by Stillwater Cove. The sixth, seventh and tee shot of the eighth holes are situated on Arrowhead point. The second shot of the eighth hole and the ninth and tenth holes are situated above Carmel Bay.
The course then runs inland from the eleventh to the sixteenth holes. The Par 5 fourteenth hole has usually been one of the toughest holes on the PGA tour. The 16th hole runs alongside the 3rd hole to complete the figure 8 and bring the dramatic closing holes along Stillwater Cove. These include the long par 3 17th, whose place in golf history was assured when Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Tom Watson (1982) made key shots there to win U.S. Opens.