Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The PGA Tour Returns to Pebble Beach

As I look out the window while I write this post, snow is falling heavily once again in the Niagara Region, as our area continues to endure one of the most brutal winters in recent memory.

If the Masters Tournament is important for the fact it signifies that the golf season is upon us here in Canada, I'd say the PGA Tour's yearly retreat to the Monterey Peninsula and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is just as significant a step in the transition between winter and spring.

It's the tournament that gets my "golf juices" flowing and I can't help but watch the telecast and dream about the days that lie ahead on the course.

I'll be watching with renewed interest this year, as I was fortunate enough to play two of the three courses on the rotation when I visited California in 2013.

The picture postcard perfect par three 11th hole at the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club

Originally a Robert Baldock and Jack Neville design from 1961, Monterey Peninsula Country Club's Shore Course was completely rerouted and redesigned by architect Mike Strantz, opening to great acclaim in 2004. This would be Strantz's crowning achievement in design and he sadly passed away only one year after its opening due to a rare form of tongue cancer. The course sits in lofty territory among the top 100 courses in America and deservedly so. It is the most recent addition to the course rotation at the Pro Am, replacing Poppy Hills in 2010.

Here is a course profile I did recently on MPCC's Shore Course:

COURSE PROFILE: Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course)

I didn't play Spyglass Hill when I was in Monterey but I did find time to visit one of the most famous courses in the world, Pebble Beach Golf Links!

That's me teeing off the famous par three 7th at Pebble Beach...and no, that's not my cart!

One of the great spots in all of golf - the glorious 7th at Pebble Beach!

My friend Vito putting out on the beautiful 9th hole at Pebble Beach

There's not much I can add about Pebble Beach that hasn't already been said. It's a wonderful golf course and one of the great golf experiences of my life. The routing is ingenious, the ocean holes are all off-the-charts spectacular and while the holes away from the ocean suffer in comparison, the "flow" of the round is almost without peer. I played poorly but you couldn't wipe the smile off my face the entire day - it's a place that every avid golfer needs to experience once in their life.

I am planning to put together my Pebble Beach course profile over the next 24 hours or so and hope to have it up before the tournament starts later this week.

I look forward to watching the pros tear apart courses that humbled me on my first visit in May of 2013!