Pebble Beach: A Golfing Tale Infused with Magic and Natural Beauty

Pebble Beach has always been a place that captivates the imagination and enchants with its history and natural beauty. This region has a reputation dating back to ancient times, from the days when the Ohlone Native Americans roamed the American continent. However, the official name "La Bahia de los Pinos" was bestowed by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo back in 1542 when the Spanish explorer set foot on these lands. Even today, Pebble Beach is considered one of the jewels of the coast, known for its captivating history.

If we fast forward four centuries, we find Monterey, a city just 10 minutes' drive from the Inn at Pebble Beach, immortalized by John Steinbeck in his celebrated novel, "Cannery Row." Steinbeck described it as poetry, a blend of scents, a symphony of sounds, a special light, a unique sensation, a habit, a nostalgia, and a dream. These words evoke the unique and enchanting atmosphere that permeates this coastal region.

But as we move away from Monterey and head south, passing through Jack's Peak and Carmel-by-the-Sea, or following a scenic road through Spanish Bay and the Del Monte Forest, the magnificent Pebble Beach reveals itself. This place is a true living work of art, with cliffs of stone sculpted by the eternal embrace of the sea and ancient cypress trees caressed by the continuous whispers of an Almighty God. It is a place that awakens all the senses.


 USGA/Bill Hornstein

In 1916, a man named Samuel Finley Brown Morse, a notable figure with family ties to the inventor of the telegraph and Morse code, faced a challenge: to transform this region into an attractive real estate investment. Despite the period marked by the Great Depression, Morse, a steward of the estates of some railroad magnates, managed to find a financier and acquired about 7,000 acres of land for the sum of $1.3 million, giving birth to what we now know as the Monterey Peninsula.

Morse's vision for the property was guided by a deep sense of conservation, with the goal of creating ample green spaces and limiting tree felling. His determination to preserve the natural beauty of these shores led him to reserve the most spectacular locations for the construction of golf courses. Among these, prominent names include Cypress Point, Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and, on February 22, 1919, Pebble Beach Golf Links.


Pebble Beach Golf Links is not a traditional "links" course in the Scottish style but rather a fascinating fusion of lush forest and the immensity of the ocean. This course is an ode to the natural beauty and grandeur of the California coast.

Imagine the excitement that enveloped Harry "Light Horse" Cooper when he arrived at the 7th tee in 1926 during the Monterey Peninsula Open, the first major tournament hosted by Pebble Beach. Cooper was known as the best player never to have won a Major tournament, but on that day, with a total of 5 strokes over par, he became the event's winner.

The first Major tournament hosted by the course would arrive three years later when the U.S. Amateur was held at Pebble Beach. The main attraction was Bobby Jones, a golfing legend. However, he was surprisingly defeated in the first match by a 19-year-old from Omaha named Johnny Goodman. Instead of returning home immediately, Jones decided to stay in the Del Monte area for the rest of the week. This decision led him to discover a new golf course that was about to open officially, Cypress Point, a creation of Scottish architect Alister Mackenzie. Jones played a "preview" round before the course's official opening and simply declared it "Perfect." That day, Jones decided to hire Mackenzie to design a very special golf course: Augusta National Golf Club.


Credit: Gary Newkirk /Allsport

The next significant event hosted by Pebble Beach would be the first for women: the 1940 U.S. Women's Amateur, won by Betty Jameson. Jameson, later, would become one of the 13 original founders of the LPGA and would win 13 LPGA Tour titles and three Majors in her career, leaving an indelible mark on women's golf.

Most people are unaware that Pebble Beach has hosted an event on the LPGA Tour. Three years after Bing Crosby invited some friends to Pebble Beach for what he called a "clambake," but which would become one of the most famous pro-ams in the golfing world, the newly formed LPGA, with the help of Marion Hollins, headed to Pebble Beach for the 1950 Weathervane Transcontinental Women's Open. One of the LPGA's founders, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, won that inaugural professional women's event. It was a 36-hole competition, concluding with a total score of 158, earning her a $750 check.

A year later, another founder, Patty Berg,won the Weathervane at Pebble Beach, marking the end of the event. These moments in the history of women's golf are precious, and Pebble Beach was honored to be a part of them.

Photo by: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Though the years have passed, Pebble Beach continues to be a stage for epic moments in golf. In 1972, Jack Nicklaus executed one of the most incredible shots at the 17th, a par-3 hole, during the U.S. Open. His precision and skill will remain in golfing history.

Another iconic moment at the 17th involved Tom Watson in 1982, when he managed to make a birdie with a masterful shot. His confidence and determination made him a legend on that occasion.

A shot that didn't win a championship but set the tone for an entire generation occurred in 2000. Tiger Woods, still in search of his first U.S. Open title, found himself in a tough spot at the 6th hole. His audacity and skill led him to execute an incredible shot, showcasing his extraordinary talent.

Pebble Beach has undergone renovations over the years, always preserving its unique essence. Arnold Palmer contributed to improving the course, making some significant changes while maintaining the special atmosphere.

Shortly after these renovations, a journalist was invited to play at Pebble Beach. After a round with 72 strokes, he shared his experience with Graeme McDowell, who replied, "You shot 72 at Pebble Beach? I won the U.S. Open there.

The story of Pebble Beach is still alive today and will continue to enchant and thrill golfers and enthusiasts worldwide, keeping its timeless magic and charm alive. The beauty and history of Pebble Beach are a heritage to admire and preserve.

About Marina

I'm an engineer and startupper, passionate about the environment and animals. My life is divided between golf and innovation

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