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Given his affinity for all of the courses at Pebble Beach Resorts, it’s fitting that Champions Tour player Scott McCarron won the 2016 TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational presented by Dell EMC.
“This is one of my favorite spots on earth here at Pebble Beach,” McCarron said. “Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach are two of my favorite golf courses, and Spanish Bay probably has the best views of any golf course I’ve ever seen.”
Outside of briefly ducking into the forest for Nos. 9-12, The Links at Spanish Bay offers sweeping views of its uniquely sand-splashed coastline, which is nestled between the Dunes Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Pacific Grove’s Asilomar State Beach. The front nine zigzags to and from the ocean, while the final six holes produce some of the most scenic golf around, inspiring Golf Digest to name The Links at Spanish Bay one of the 50 best public courses in the country.
So get ready for some drop-dead gorgeous views!
The hole’s name “To the Sea” tells you all you need to know, and the view isn’t exactly hidden. Step onto the 1st tee and you’re greeted by surf, whitecaps and a refreshing ocean breeze. And even though the green is set back from the beach, from the fairway it feels like it is hanging over the ocean.
There’s a reason the bagpiper’s twilight loop circles the 1st fairway before finishing around this picturesque spot at the second green. Whether you’re enjoying a fireside cocktail at the adjacent fire pits or just getting your round started, drink in the sensational views.
Pick a pot bunker to fly your drive over—or aim at the white MPCC beach house in the distance if you’re feeling more aggressive—and enjoy this magnificent view of Point Joe and the Restless Sea.
Point Joe again comes into focus, but this time for the second shot. No. 5 is a beauty of a hole, but a beast to play, with three pot bunkers you must dodge off the tee, and an elevated green fortified by a false front that’s even tougher to hit into an ever-present wind. It certainly earns that No. 1 handicap.
The front nine does a wonderful job of sending you right at the ocean, and No. 7 is the last in this stretch that uses the Pacific to create a dramatic mid-flight backdrop. But it’s easy for your attention to be diverted elsewhere on this hole, with marshes lining the left and intersecting the fairway.
No. 8 swings parallel to 17-Mile Drive, but the ocean can still come in play. If the wind picks up and you’ve got a right hole location, you might find yourself aiming over the road and toward the Pacific.
Take one more look back at the ocean from the 9th green before diving into the forest for the next hour. When you emerge from the woods and catch another glimpse of the sea, you find what looks like a harmless par-3 called “Wee Precipice”. But the headwind and strongly pitched green that’s fronted by a gully combine to create what some caddies call the world’s shortest par 5.
The editors of Golf magazine named No. 14 one of the best 500 holes in the world. The ocean-charging par 5 almost always plays into a sea breeze, making the downhill shots more hazardous than helpful.
Pick your stunning view: the beach behind the 15th tee box (see the tee box to the left of the 14th green in the photo above), or the perch that is the 15th green below:
Pinned between two dunes, a left-to-right ocean breeze is almost always in play. It’s a competitive title, but No. 16 might go down as the most scenic par 3 on the course, with a captivating ocean view to the left that grabs your attention when you reach the green.
This straightaway par 4 skirts Spanish Bay Beach, but you don’t realize how beautiful the strand you just played truly is until you reach the green and turn around. However, your work’s not done just yet, as the green’s ocean-slanting slope is possibly the most severe on the course.
Great work was done to increase the visibility of the green throughout the hole, but those views don’t match what’s waiting for you at the green. Turn around and catch the links land one more time, including that inescapable Pacific Ocean.