Pebble Beach Trip - US Open 2019


#1

I’m planning a trip next year with my Dad and some of of our mutual friends. Our goal is to catch some of the practice/tournament rounds and play some of the other courses in the area during our off days. This will be our first time watching a PGA event and playing in the US.

Our rough itinerary is to watch the Wednesday practice round as well as the weekend tournament rounds while playing golf during our off days.

My Questions:

  1. How does our itinerary look? Would you add more days or switch the schedule around?

  2. Do you have any courses in the area that you would recommend for our golfing days?

Between the cost of traveling abroad and the tickets themselves this is sort of a bucket list trip for my Dad and I and we appreciate any input you might have to make it as enjoyable as possible.

Thanks in advance!


#2

First of all, book the golf asap! It’ll get crazy busy and I wouldn’t be surprised if all the Monterrey courses are already fully booked that week. If they are, try a specialist golf travel agent, as they will sometimes block book tee times they will then sell on to their clients.

As for what courses to play, there are plenty who will chime in with their favourites out of the Monterey courses. I’ll let them argue it out. There will also be a few that say drive up to Pasatiempo, and I just wanted to lend my voice to that chorus. Definitely play Pasatiempo! :slight_smile:


#3

Pasatiempo, Fort Ord both courses, Pacific Grove.


#4

Have you booked your lodging yet? If you haven’t, just wanted to give a heads up that I found some reasonably priced AirBnB properties near Watsonville, about 30 miles from the tournament’s spectator parking area (and 50 miles from the San Jose airport). The prices of everything closer to Monterey/Pacific Grove seem to be elevated for the event already.


#5

Will definitely check them out. Thanks!


#6

Appreciate the input! Will definitely give Pasatiempo a look.


#7

We haven’t actually, that sounds like a really good option for us. Thanks!


#8

Might actually be worth staying up by Pasatiempo, which is near Santa Cruz, on the north shore of Monterey Bay, and commuting in, for the same reasons given above. :slight_smile:


#9

Glad you realize it’s going to be a bucket list kind of time, but yes you need to start looking at courses and booking now.

For example, Poppy Hills, which is in the town of Pebble Beach but not part of the resort is currently booking foursomes for $1200/group for twice daily shotgun starts for that week. (Granted their rack rate is $250 and that includes food so at least they’re not overly marking up the price, beyond the fact that their rack rate is highway robbery to start with.)

I’ll join the chorus in saying you have to play Pasatiempo.

Edit. I went to the 2000 US Open at Pebble. We stayed in a home in Carmel and were able to walk down the beach below the golf course which was quite a treat. That was all arranged through some corporate thing and god only knows how much it cost, or how much it would cost now 20 years later. I’ll agree with the others that for purposes of traffic flow and cost that looking north toward Santa Cruz is probably your best bet for lodging, unless you are an heir to an oil fortune or something.


#10

Would you say Poppy Hills is worth it at $1,200/group? We are willing to pay their rates but the shotgun start makes me think we might be better off playing Pacific Groves or something similar.

We are booked for Pasatiempo (thanks to everyone’s advice). but most of the courses (Pacific Groves, Bayonet, etc.) only seem to let you book a tee time a few months in advance online so we’re still sorting things out.

No oil fortune here. I can’t imagine what beach-side at Pebble would cost today, that sounds incredible. I hope you get to do something similar next year.

Thank you again for the advice. We really appreciate it.


#11

Well … no.

Here’s all the caveats. I haven’t played Poppy in many years. It underwent a significant renovation a few years back that by all accounts has made it a much better course. (I’m hoping to see that later this year, which is why I was on their site and familiar with their 2019 US Open deals.)

I liked the old Poppy pretty well. But even if the reno is really good, the course can only be so good. It’s in a nice spot in the trees. If you get a clear day there are maybe a couple holes where you can see the ocean. But it has always been a poster child for courses that are getting a lot simply based on their neighborhood. Their current “rack rate” is $250 to walk, which is still cheaper than any of the big 3 Pebble Beach resort courses (PB, Spyglass, Spanish Bay), but then it’s not as good as any of those. The course I played years ago is robbery at $250. But in reality it seems like it’s pretty easy to play it for $110, either through an online deal or if you play with a NCGA member. Given the neighborhood, that’s a good rate given how good the reno looks. (But that makes $300/person during Open week look that much steeper.)

Pasa, so far as I can tell, isn’t raising their rates during Open week. That’s $260 to walk for a legit world class course. I’ve never played Bayonet/Black Horse but many people speak highly of those courses and put them close to Poppy Hills. Pacific Grove is a Jekyll/Hyde course. The back nine in the dunes is fantastic (well, 6 holes of it is), but the front is cramped and kinda awful. For under $70, given what it’s neighbors charge, it’s a bargain and a blast. But who knows how available it will be that week or what thy’ll be charging.

TLDR; value is in the eye of the beholder. But if you can play Pasa and the green fee is still under $300 then paying $300/p (even if it includes food) to be stuck in a shotgun at Poppy Hills is a tough proposition.


#12

Yeah that’s definitely what I was thinking as well. Really appreciate the thorough write-up.

We booked Pasatiempo for $295, playing a shotgun start for the same amount just doesn’t sound as appealing. I’m hoping we can sort something out with the other courses in the area.

Thanks!


#13

So I need to revise my previous comments on Poppy Hills, having now played the renovated course. The new version is really fantastic.

Now, in the discussion at hand, namely Pasatiempo vs. Poppy Hills both at full rack rate during US Open rate, it’s still Pasa hands down. Pasa may be the best public access course in the state of California. It’ll certainly be the best one available the week that the Open is at Pebble.

But Poppy is now really, really good. They totally eliminated rough and the course plays wide and firm with big contours and lots of ground options around the greens. The greens are wild. It’s a real blast to play and I pretty easily got around with one ball even though I certainly didn’t hit it great. Not every hole is good but on balance there’s a mix of fun holes, tough holes, just everything you want. There’s nothing to compare to the great first five holes in the dunes at Spyglass, but IMHO it outclasses the holes in the trees at Spyglass.


#14

Second Poppy Hills. SO much fun after the renovation, plays firm and fast with no rough. I played it for $95, a bargain for that area of the world.