Monterey-known of its breath taking natural beauty, wildlife habitats and quaint location along California's Central Coast also serves as a backdrop for the most prestigious and well known golf courses in the world. Several courses line Monterey's shores giving golfers breath taking views of rugged shorelines and the while crest of the blue pacific that crashes along them. Some of the courses in Monterey are only available to certain golfers on an invite basis only-or through elite membership packages. A few of the courses offer major celebrity events (like the AT&T Pebble Beach Tournament every February) where a group of celebrities come to play for charity. Those looking for a challenging course on more of a budget will find several courses near or on the water front that are available to all players. Monterey Bay's golf climate (temps rarely get out of the 70s, but often are in the 60s with a marine layer off the ocean), make golfing in Monterey an ideal destination for both the serious athlete and amateur.
Pebble Beach Resorts
Pebble Beach Resorts are by far known as the most well known and prestigious courses in the array of Monterey golf courses. The actual Pebble Beach course (known as the Pebble Beach Golf Links) is probably the most popular-both in media and to golfers. It is the location of the annual AT&T Tournament. However it should be noted that this one course is under the Pebble Beach Resorts that own and operate a portfolio of golf courses that include Spyglass Hill, The Links at Spanish Bay, Del Monte Golf Course (the only course in the collection not to be located along the 17 Mile Drive), Peter Hay Golf Course, Poppy Hills Course and Cypress Hill Golf Course.
The Cypress Point Golf Course is the only course in the Pebble Beach Resorts Golf family that is strictly by invite only.
Pebble Beach Golf Links 18 Holes Par 72
The Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the most popular courses in the Pebble Beach Resort collection. The course is adjacent to The Lodge at Pebble Beach and is placed on the scenic cliffs over looking the Pacific Ocean. (Holes #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #17, #18 are placed directly on bluffs overlooking the Pacific while holes #8, #9, and #10 are on cliffs over looking Carmel Bay. The course opened in 1919 and is the current home to the popular AT&T Celebrity Tournament held every February (in addition to Spanish Bay and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club) . Golf Digest has ranked the Pebble Beach Golf Links the number one public course in the US.
Spyglass Hill Golf Course 18 Holes Par 72
The Spyglass Hill course is not only known as one of the toughest courses in the Pebble Beach portfolio of courses but also one of the most difficult in the world. Opened in 1966, the course is diverse and winds its way through sandy seaside dunes as well as through thick pine forests. The 17 Mile Drive stretches along the course's western border. The PGA Tour lists holes 6, 8 and 16 to be the toughest for the PGA tour. The course is one of the newer courses in the Monterey Bay area having opened in 1986.
The Links at Spanish Bay 18 Holes Par 72
The Links at Spanish Bay, like Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach Golf Links extends along the Monterey Bay coast and gives golfers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and rugged Central California coastline. Designers Robert Trent Jones Jrs, Tom Watson and Sandy Tatum designed the course to give golfers the feel that they are golfing along the rugged coastline of Scotland. The course is bordered by stretches of the 17 Mile Drive and features the five star resort hotel, the Spanish Bay Inn as a central anchor on the course. The course was designed to preserve the native plants and animal habitats that play a big part in Monterey's beauty and attraction.
Poppy Hills 18 Holes Par 72
This course unlike the other Pebble Beach courses does not border the coastline but is about a mile inland and bordered by thick forest of Pine, Eucalyptus and Sycamore trees that make up what is known as the Del Monte Forest. The course at one time was one of the featured courses in the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Tour but has since been replaced by the Monterey Peninsula Country Club. The course consistently ranks in the top 20 in California by Golf Digest Magazine.
Del Monte Golf Course 18 Holes Par 72
The Del Monte Golf course is said to be one of the oldest golf courses in continuous operation west of the Mississippi. This course unlike the other courses in the Pebble Beach collection is not located along the coast south of Monterey on the 17 Mile Drive but inland near downtown Monterey and adjacent to the Monterey Peninsula Airport. The course is surrounded by a forest of Pine and Cypress trees and is home to the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational.
Peter Hay Golf Course 9 Holes Par 27
The Peter Hay Golf Course is a smaller course that is nine holes instead of 18. The course is located adjacent to the Pebble Beach Golf Links and has been a destination for golfers of all skill levels for over 45 years. To play at the Peter Hay course it is requested golfers become members with annual memeberships starting at $345 a year.
Monterey Bay Courses Outside of Pebble Beach Collection
Outside of the Pebble Beach collection there are a variety of other courses that lace the Monterey Bay shoreline that also provide golfers with spectacular views of the coastline and Pacific Ocean beyond. These include the Monterey Peninsula Country Club and the Pacific Grove Golf Links.
Pacific Grove Golf Linksn-18 Holes, Par 72
The Pacific Grove Golf links is located in the town of Pacific Grove on the far western tip of the Monterey Bay Peninsula. The course originally opened in 1929 although its back nine was redesigned by the same golf architect that designed the Pebble Beach course-Jack Neville. The course provides golfers with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Point Rinos. At the center of the course is the historic Point Rinos lighthouse. The course has a restaurant, known as the Point Rinos Grill that gives both golfers and visitors alike an opportunity to dine while taking in the views of the coastline.
Monterey Peninsula Country Club-18 Holes, Par 71
Private Course The Monterey Peninsula Country Club (also known as MPCC) is just south of Pacific Grove along the coastline and is the newest course to join the annual AT&T Pebble Beach rotation (in addition to the Pebble Beach Golf Links and Links at Spanish Bay). The course initially opened in 1926 and like Cypress Point is a private course.
Quail Lodge Golf Course-18 Holes, Par 71
The Quail Lodge Golf Course is located in what is known as the "sunny" side of Carmel. Just east of Carmel off of Highway 1, the course is a full resort that includes 10 lakes and is geographically removed from the area of Carmel that is along the coast and shrouded by fog. Unlike other courses in the Monterey area, this course is not on the coast is about fifteen minutes inland.
Rancho Canada Course-2 Courses, both 18 Holes, Par 71
The Rancho Canada Course is located in the inland Carmel Valley next to the Quail Lodge Golf Course (see above). The course is home to a total of 36 holes spread across two courses (an east course and a west course). The course has full tournament facilities as well as extensive dedicated meeting and banquet venues.