Your favorite shot at Pebble Beach might not even be on this list.
There are so many special shots at Pebble Beach. It seems unfair to trim your round down to just five moments. But these five shots are as good as it gets in golf:
2ND SHOT ON NO. 6 (506 YARDS, PAR-5)
Jordan Spieth calls No. 6 “one of my favorite holes in the world.” It’s also one of the scariest. But Spieth relishes the challenge of a blind second shot that must quickly rise over the face of a cliff from a downhill lie that wants to shoot your ball low and right and into the ocean.
But if you clear that cliff, you’ll have a hike to remember. The climb up that giant hill reveals one of the most spectacular panoramas in the world: Nos. 8-9-10 and the dreamy Carmel Beach to your left, plus Nos. 4-17-18 and the stunning Stillwater Cove to your right.
And hopefully you’ll see you ball somewhere in line with the green.
TEE SHOT ON NO. 7 (106 YARDS, PAR-3)
Of course, the wind on exposed hole at the tip of Arrowhead Point is legendary. Sam Snead chose to putt off the seventh tee rather than send a tee shot into the teeth of a wicked wind. (It was reported that he was the only player to make par on the hole that day.) Bel-Air pro Eddie Merrins actually aced the hole during the Bing Crosby, but needed a 3-iron to do so. Eventual champ Tom Kite famously chipped in for birdie during the final round of the 1992 U.S. Open after his 6-iron missed the green.
Once a friend finds out you just played Pebble Beach, you will no doubt be asked about the club you hit on No. 7.
SECOND SHOT ON NO. 8 (427 YARDS, PAR-4)
Jack Nicklaus loves the drama of this shot, calling it his favorite in all of golf. As your ball hangs in the air, it feels like it can land anywhere: over the green, on the green, down the cliff, or in one of five bunkers.
Said Tiger Woods about the heart-in-your-throat second shot: “That second shot is one of the most daunting second shots in golf. I know one of the things that (caddie) Stevie Williams and I have, you hit that second shot and you don’t say a word. You don’t know whether to say ‘get up’ or ‘get down.’ It’s just up there forever.”
A long walk with a putter in your hand around this giant chasm may very well be the best in golf.
TEE SHOT ON NO. 17 (177 YARDS, PAR-3)
History happens here. Jack Nicklaus clinched the 1972 U.S. Open when his 1-iron short-hopped the stick. Tom Watson put the 1982 U.S. Open away here when he chipped in for birdie and broke into an impromptu victory lap. (A plaque commemorates the shot from the exact spot Watson hit it.)
Even without those shots, the hour-glass-shaped green surrounded by wavy bunkering and the majestic Stillwater Cove is iconic. It’s also really, really hard. It played as the toughest hole during the 2010 U.S. Open, and in the final round, the only birdie came from a holed-out bunker shot by Tim Clark.
TEE SHOT ON NO. 18 (543 YARDS, PAR-5)
For the first 13 driving holes at Pebble Beach, you can miss left and stay dry. But for your final drive, the ocean hugs the left side of this famous hole. If you want to have any chance of reaching the 543-yard par-5 in two shots, your drive must split the tree in the fairway and the craggy coastline to the left.
It’s probably smartest to think of this hole as a true three-shotter and play something safe to the right side of the fairway. Whichever way you play it, No. 18 is a tremendous finishing hole with the best scenery in golf. Says U.S. Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy:
The most interesting aspect of the 18th at Pebble Beach is that it is actually a succession of challenging holes. It’s a great and endlessly beautiful par-5 as is, of course. But after a solid drive up the middle it becomes the equivalent of a terrific short par-4. It’s a fascinating birdie-three hole from, say, 330 yards out. And it’s a thought-provoking birdie-two hole from 130. Which is exactly what every strategically sound par-5 should be.
What is your favorite shot at Pebble Beach?