Pebble Beach Golf Links, the pinnacle of public golf


Wes Sanderson| Northern Star

The par-3 seventh hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

By Wes Sanderson

Golfing has always held a special place in my heart. The game has given me the opportunity to caddie in some of the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour. While carrying someone else’s bag in a professional event is a bucket list experience, it still doesn’t compare to teeing the ball up yourself at a course that you grew up watching professionals get after every year.

There are only a handful of golf courses that golfers dream about taking on; Augusta National, Oakmont Country Club and Shinnecock Hills all come to mind, but the pinnacle of public golf is Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey, California.

Pebble Beach Golf Links is rated the number-one public golf course in the U.S by Golf Digest. Pebble annually hosts the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and has hosted seven United States Open Championships in its famed history.

On my recent trip to the Silicon Valley, I received the opportunity to walk and play these hallowed grounds and live out my childhood dream of playing the famed U.S Open venue.

Wes Sanderson hits lob wedge on the par-three seventh hole April 4, at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey, California (Wes Sanderson| Northern Star)

I was scheduled to tee-off at 11:20 a.m PST, coincidentally, that is the normal time that the penultimate group would tee off in the U.S Open. The drive from my place in Palo Alto was just over a 70-minute drive to 17-mile drive in Monterey. 

From the moment you enter the gated peninsula, a feeling of excitement floods over you. The winding road through the Monterey pines and redwoods make you feel like you’re nowhere near the California coast.

The staff at Pebble Beach are the best in the business. From the moment you drop your bag to the time you walk off 18-green, the staff make you feel like you’re a part of championship greatness.

For a course that tips out at just shy of 6900 yards, the level of difficulty is high. I have a handicap-index of 9.3 and I ended up recording a gross score of 92 on the par-72 track, but the score isn’t what matters. 

I played golf at one of the most picturesque spots in the world. I recorded only my second eagle ever after holing out from behind the green on the par-five second hole. The biggest enjoyment of the day was that I got to play golf with one of my closest friends, nudging him whenever I hit a nice shot or holed a long putt for bogey.

Wes Sanderson(left) and Ryan Gifford (right) celebrate completing 18-holes at Pebble Beach Golf Links on April, 4 in Monterey, California. (Wes Sanderson| Northern Star)

The camaraderie in golf is what makes it special. Scores don’t matter at a place like Pebble Beach. Instead it’s best to sit back, relax and soak up 18 of the most famous holes in golf.