Spyglass Hill Golf Course, CA

Monterrey Peninsula's Beautiful Beast
The Monterrey Peninsula is home to some of the greatest golf on earth.  Along with the incredible rugged coastline are the towering pines filling the hillsides.  The ideal climate and perfect golf terrain options make this home of hundreds of golf holes.  Spyglass Hill is a complimentary course to Pebble Beach Golf Links.  It is about 1 mile up the hill from Pebble Beach and is part of the resort.  It is drastically different in layout and demands.   It’s beauty is much different than Pebble’s, it has no ocean-side holes but instead relies on 5 dunes holes and 13 cut through the hilly pines just inland.  It is an interesting mix of beauty and brawn, it is Monterrey Peninsula’s Beautiful Beast.
My round at Spyglass was on the same day as I played Pebble Beach.  Since I had the first tee time there, I ended up with an early afternoon round at Spyglass Hill.   As I headed up the hill to test my game at Spyglass Hill, I noticed the scenery immediately changes with more trees and more hills.  The first hole is a sure sign of things to come.  A large downhill par 5 that cuts through the pines.    The next 4 holes might be the best string of holes I’ve ever played.  The variety, beauty and dunes terrain was simply amazing.  The 2nd hole can play two completely different ways depending on which tee box is in play for the day.  But from either tee it is a short, uphill par 4.  The 3rd hole is simply beautiful.  Not a long shot, but with swirling winds and downhill, getting the right club might be tricky.  The 4th hole might be one of my favorite par 4s I’ve ever played.  It is kind of a dogleg left, but it allow you to cut as much of the corner as you want to challenge or bail to the right .  The approach to this incredible green will allow for a number of entry points to still hit the green with mounds in front and behind the diagonal green.  The 5th hole is the last dunes hole with a strong par 3.  From this point on the course has a much tighter tree lined feeling.  6-9 are tough as the fairways seem to narrow and you cut through the trees.  While these holes are just a good and even more challenging;  I honestly could have played the first 5 hole loop 3 or 4 times and enjoyed it.

After getting around the front 9 on a great pace and even having time to recharge my camera a little while I grabbed a delicious brat at the turn snack shop, I headed up to the 10th tee to find more tree, lots of length and a tough 9 holes ahead of me.  You really need to hit the driver straight on this 9 to have any chance at scoring.  If you are playing from the tips, like i did, you better hit it long too, many holes will challenge your accuracy and distance.  The hilly terrain also requires adjustments for yardages either up or down depending on the hole.  The closing stretch of 14-19 are a great collection of short and long holes.  The par 5 14th is all about ball placement on each shot, the dogleg, hills, narrow fairway and small pond fronting the green, you simply must be able to lay-up properly.  The 15th is a short par 3 so just hit a short iron or wedge down to this green.  The par 4 16th might be one of the hardest par 4s I’ve played that doesn’t have any water.  It is long, plays as a slight dogleg right and is very demanding.  The hills on this hole require really good shots for a look at par.  The 17th lets you ease up on this short par 4 only to finish with a strong straight away par 4.

This is a very different experience from Pebble Beach in terms of scenery and popularity, but I think it is actually a harder course to score low on. (even though I shot lower at Spyglass than I did at Pebble).  It certainly is beautiful and the first 5 holes are spectacular.  The other 13 holes don’t scream that your only a couple drivers away from the ocean, but the coastal pines challenge your accuracy and distance as you attempt to conquer these beastly holes.

The conditions are equal to, if not better than Pebble Beach simply because there is less play.  You could walk this course if you want, but the hills would get very tiresome.  It was cart path only, but the walk from the path to the ball was still easier than walking all the hills.  But if you love to walk you can and from green to tee it wasn’t bad; just lots of hills throughout the course.

If you make your way to the Monterrey Peninsula for golf, obviously Pebble Beach is a must, but I’d set aside some coin for Spyglass Hill too which is a Beautiful Beast.

For  more information: www.pebblebeach.com

Quick Hits
+Tough layout
+Best first 5 holes
+Tree lined scenery for 13 holes
+Uses every club in the bag
+Excellent conditions