I don’t know why I thought of it, but it struck me in the plane on the way over that like most US golf courses, I would have to buy a course planner for the courses at Pebble Beach. But then I caught myself and said, “Really, at $385 for a round at Spyglass Hill, surely they will throw in a Planner”?
But no, my first thought was the correct one. When we got to the Pro Shop at Spyglass Hill the planner was an extra $10. When I commented on the fact that I had to pay for one, the lady behind the counter bless her, thought I was complaining that the price was too high. I corrected her and said that frankly any course in the UK that charged that much money would throw in a planner. Either that, or they’d put their charges up $10 and then include the planner and make everyone feel better.
OK, rant over, the annoying thing is that I know tomorrow on Pebble Beach Links that the same thing is going to happen!
Anyway, all the service we received at the Pro Shop and from the cart people and Starter was extremely attentive. There was one bit of weirdness though. When we finished the round as we came off the course, I was invited by a lovely man called Rick to “take a seat” and he them promptly used an air gun to blow all the dirt off my shoes (fine) and give them a quick rub over (fine) but then he stuck the air gun down the side of my shoe and my foot and gave it a decent blast…hell, it tickled and it was all I could do not to burst out laughing.
Once we’d checked in it was down to the driving range where you were hitting off grass and with proper balls, no yellow “range balls” here, no sireee. Not only that, but the range balls were free which is completely disconnected from the charging for a course planner.
At the first tee I was introduced to my caddie, Brennan. A young lad with a degree in Kinesiology but most importantly a decent knowledge of the course. When checking in at the Pro Shop they made a point of making sure I knew what the “standard” gratuity was for a caddie. The problem was without my reading glasses, I think I could just about make it out! Brennan, if I short changed you, I apologise.
Spyglass Hill – The Course
The course itself was immaculate. Smooth fairways, super slick greens. Just a joy to play. The pace of play was OK at 4:40 (target time is 4:30) with a fair amount of standing around waiting for the group in front but could not see if they were being “held up”. We did get warned by Brennan to expect 5:00 to 5:30 for Pebble Beach itself (I guess there must be a lot of standing around taking photos…well, either that or looking for balls).
There were deer everywhere on the course, one photo below just about has one in it if you can pick it out. I didn’t actually hit one although our playing partner, Bill, commented that some people thought they were “vermin”. Turns out he was right, back in 2007 Daryl Hall (some might say the better looking half of that classic Philadelphian 1980s soft hair rock combo Hall & Oates told the then chat show host Howard Stern “Kill all the fuckin’ deer!”. Turns out Mr Hall suffers from Lyme disease, a nasty, multi-symptom illness borne by deer ticks and he’s called for the extermination of “disease-carrying giant rats” he blames for his condition.
There is an excellent choice of tee boxes ranging from 5,381 yards (Red) to 6,690 from the Blues. I chose the Gold tees at 6,538 to give myself a bit of a challenge.
There some generous landing areas on most fairways and as I’ve already said, the greens were fantastic. You hit the ball on the right line, the ball goes in! Having spent the last six months in the UK playing on some shocking greens all over the country (Saunton excepted) I was a bit worried about adapting quickly, but 30 mins on the practice green was all it took to get a pretty decent handle on the pace.
I think there was a pin sheet, but forgot to get one, Brennan compensated though!
Oh, and my golf, well, even though I say it myself, it was pretty decent (see scorecard in the photo gallery below). 5 over for 18 holes on a course I’ve never played before, single bogeys at worse and two good birdies at 9 and 17. So, VERY happy with my first outing at Spyglass Hill.
Even better news was the Manda’s golfer’s elbow did not stop her playing her first full round for over six months, her elbow was a bit sore afterwards but hitting through the ball it was fine unless she took too much turf, no surprise there really.