PEBBLE BEACH—Golf’s best are at Pebble Beach. One of its best deals is down the road.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, hosting this week’s U.S. Open, is said to be the finest convergence of land and sea known to man, a proclamation that brings little argument. Pebble Beach is also a public track, and on that front, let the debate rage. Unlike Cypress Point or Augusta National, the venerable Monterey course is technically open to everyone, but so are commercial space flights and courtside seats. If you want to play, your bank account better rival the GDP of Switzerland: at $550 (plus $95 caddie fee, plus tip) it is one of the most expensive greens fees in the world. Pebble is public in name only, like an “amicable divorce.”
Residing five miles north of Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove—known as the “Poor man’s Pebble”—boasts a daily greens fee of $51, with juniors allowed on for $20. The club considers itself a community service rather than revenue generator, an ethos stemming from its ownership by the city. (Samuel Finley Brown Morse, who developed Pebble Beach, sold the land to the township for $10 under the premise it be run as a golf course.) Its clientele are not the wealthy that frequent its famous neighboring courses, but regular folks.
“The diversity of the player that checks in is amazing,” said Matt Pennington, general manager of Pacific Grove. “Local players, tourists, students, traveling groups, players of all skill levels.”
But there are thousands of courses around the country that fit this description. You don’t earn such a reputable nickname lightly, and it’s a not one made in jest.
As one discovers, it’s a handle Pacific Grove more than merits.
“This place is a bit of heaven on earth,” says Mark Palmer of Alameda, Cali. “Whenever I’m remotely in the area, I make sure to visit and pay my respects.” Read More