Pebble Beach Restoration – Yes or no?


#1

Good read here from Shackelford about why Pebble needs to commission a Master Plan to point out everything that needs to change: http://www.geoffshackelford.com/homepage/2018/2/11/its-time-for-pebble-beach-to-commission-a-master-plan.html

I’m a little confused about this topic and curious what others think. I, like many of you (definitely like @Tron and @thefriedegg) would love to see a full restoration. I think it would not only make one of the best playing sites in the world even better, but it would also send a bad ass message to the rest of the golf world about what makes a great golf course, similar to what the Pinehurst resto did a few years ago.

BUT… considering the never-ending stream of revenue that pours into the place (basically $2k in greens fees every 10 mins), is it really fair to demand this from the ownership? Surely it would be a massive financial loss to shut down, even for a short time. At what level are we reaching unrealistic idealism here?

Curious what y’all think.


#2

Also, want to drop in a great piece that @thefriedegg wrote this week:

This kind of thinking (starting small by reclaiming lost putting surface, changing how the surrounds play, etc.) seems like the most realistic way to get things moving in the right direction.


#3

At the end of the day, it’s tough for an ownership group to say “yeah, lets forgo this revenue while spending millions to restore the course.” Along those same lines, if they were to shut down they would then have to pass the lost revenue on to the players with even higher greens fees and even higher hotel costs. I’m sure they would get it but that may price out a lot of people or leave a sour taste.

I think one thing to consider is that Pebble Beach is for purists and tourists alike where the tourists may just want to “play Pebble Beach” and don’t necessarily care about the history and architectural significance while a place like Pinehurst is more catered to the golf purists that care about those things.


#4

I read Andy’s piece and I have to say I really like this idea quite a bit. I think its something that could apply to a lot of courses, not just Pebble. I can’t imagine it taking too much time to make a change similar to what he’s proposing, and I don’t even think they would need to close the course completely to get it done.

At the same time though, people are obviously more than willing to shell out whatever they decide they’re going to charge for a round so I get that there’s probably little to no motivation to jeopardize that revenue stream even a little bit by the ownership group. I would assume that until something drastic happens (like if a storm wiped out part of the 9th fairway or something along those lines), they won’t be open to renovating.


#5

Anyone see the images of potential changes Z.Blair was posting yesterday. Would make the course way more interesting and strategic.


#6

The juice isn’t worth the squeeze here. You are essentially asking them to close the most iconic hole (one of the most in the world) for an extended period of time so a few chip shots play differently. I love the changes to it you suggested and they make sense from a playability standpoint but the opposition would be very vocal about “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.


#7

The discussion about the viability for restoration from an owner’s point of view is separate from the discussion about whether Pebble needs a comprehensive Master Plan. As Shackelford points out, Pebble will periodically make tweaks, such as the recent 17th green. Having a Master Plan to guide those tweaks will allow the course to achieve harmony whether its phased over a number of years, or done all at once.
I agree with @Blewett, #7 isn’t going to close down just to appease the architecture purists who crave variety in recovery shots, BUT in the event storm damage were to require repairs, Pebble does need a plan to inform those repairs for the good of the course, and in a perfect world those necessary repairs would become a restoration effort.

Side note: “Allegedly” I snuck out to #7 one night, full moon, case of beer, friend and I hit wedges for an hour until the sprinklers came on and washed us out. It was awesome. (yes we repaired as many ball marks as possible!)


#8

The old pictures are so amazing and the course has amazing architectural bones, with that and the property there is no reason it shouldn’t be in the conversation for best course in the US every year, instead it sits at the back end of the top 10 and people (whether they are right or wrong) leave the course feeling as though it’s overrated. The wall to wall green, small bunkers and small greens does not fit with the rawness and scale of the landscape. Kinda like how Pinehurst looked silly with the wall to wall green in the Carolina sandhills

The only way something like this happens is if the USGA forces there hand, no way the resort gives up a year+ or whatever of full tee sheets at $550+ a pop.


#9

Had no idea what a dissociated bunker was before reading Andy’s piece, but they were impossible to ignore while watching the telecast.

They’re just clumsy aesthetically and make the course seem inorganic. Playabaility-wise, one of my favorite shots to see a Tour pro hit is a short-sided pitch from a closely mown greenside swale. This kind of test is in short supply at PB.

I’m not savvy enough to weigh in on whether the restoration would be worth it or not. But it was cool to pick up some new insight from Andy’s piece.


#10

I know the course plays differently for a Open or US AM than it would for the ATT. One of the things that comes to mind is the left (from the fairway) of the green on 14, the par 5. They typically have that steep hill shaved down where a misplaced wedge rolls 30 yards away from the edge of the green. Something like that makes even laying up into that green no bargain with that big ridge cutting the green in half. I suppose some of it has to do with wanting the test the best players but a lot of it has to do with playability for the guy paying $600 to play it on a Wednesday in April. They aren’t interested in having the recreational round (which is what funds the place) take any longer than it already does.


#11

To answer the first question; should Pebble undergo a restoration? Absolutely. The pictures from the 1929 US Am are incredible. The rugged bunkers look more natural than all the green. Pinehurst is the gold standard of renovations. The sandy waste areas fit the surroundings perfectly. It looks like I imagine it did before a golf course was ever put on the property. Absolutely, Pebble Beach should undergo a restoration.

Now, will it ever get a restoration? Very doubtful. Pebble Beach is basically an ATM for the owners when you include the 2-night stay requirement. With the history the course has and the views, people will always be filling up the tee sheet. It would be nice to think that the owners would think beyond the bottom line and realize what a restoration could do for the course. Sure there are other courses nearby that can be played if Pebble were to close but golfers aren’t going to Monterrey to play Spyglass or Spanish Bay.