Monterey CA Golf Weekend
Golf Magazine , 6/10 & 10/07
Drinking Made Easy , 10/11
T&L Golf , Mar/Apr '04
Best Trips Snapshot: Monterey Peninsula
Magical moments are a dime-a-dozen at Pebble Beach , from Jack's 1-iron in '72 to Watson's chip-in a decade later. But there's more to the Monterey Peninsula than the famed U.S. Open venue — and there had better be, given the cost of a round at Pebble ($495). Here's your insider's guide to what to do — and what to avoid — on the peninsula.
Must-Play Course: Besides Pebble Beach — it's Spyglass Hill . Sure, you'll have to swallow the $350 fee, but there's no better starting stretch than Spyglass's first five oceanfront holes, and perhaps no tougher finish than its finale in the trees. ($350-$385; 831-625-8563, www.pebblebeach.com )
Spyglass Hill #4
Best Bargain: The front nine at Pacific Grove Golf Links is pedestrian parkland, but the back nine whisks you off to Scotland with a collection of short holes cut through towering sandhills. An easy walk, it's $42 for outsiders to hoof it on weekdays. ($42-$65; 831-648-5775, www.pggolflinks.com )
Hidden Jewel: It doesn't touch the ocean, but Pete Dye's Carmel Valley Ranch is fog-free, 15 minutes inland and plunges through mountain valleys on some holes and skirts the Carmel River on others. A recent Gene Bates redesign calmed some of the quirks, rendering it much more playable. ($85-$195; 831-620-6406, www.cvrgolf.com )
Course Worth Groveling to Play: We all know the answer to this is Cypress Point Club, but you should save your supplications for a more realistic recipient. Carmel's most idyllic retreat is the Preserve Golf Club at Santa Lucia Preserve , a Tom Fazio design that is isolated atop a mountain. If you crave more oceanfront golf, shoot for either the Dunes or the Shore courses at Monterey Peninsula Country Club . The pros loved the Shore at the AT&T this year, but the Dunes has the most dramatic hole, the over-the-Pacific par-3 14th.
What's New: Gene Bates has completed his renovations at the somewhat awkwardly named Bayonet Black Horse two-course complex, and the results are stunning. Trees have been thinned out to allow superior views of the ocean, gorgeous sprawls of sand have replaced the old drab ovals, and turf conditions are vastly improved — you won't find scruffy lies in the middle of the fairway anymore. ($95-$160; 831-899-7271, www.bayonetblackhorse.com )
Don't Bother: Quail Lodge Country Club ($100-$185; 831-620-8808, ) in Carmel Valley offers golfers terrific service and flawless conditioning, but don't confuse bucolic with bland. The short, entirely forgettable front nine makes the high-season fee of $185 look downright silly compared to Monterey's more worthy options.
Another Don't Bother: The Hog's Breath Inn (831-625-1044, www.hogsbreathinn.net ) used to be the place to hang in Carmel, but it no longer quite lives up to the hype. Clint Eastwood hasn't owned the place in years, and it's always crammed with tourists fighting for uncomfortable plastic patio chairs to wait interminably for overpriced, mediocre food.
ONE THING WORTH KNOWING
Opt for the twilight rate at Spyglass Hill — at $185-$210, it's half the cost of the regular fare. In mid-summer you'll likely finish the round before dark, and even if you don't, the front nine is much more memorable than the back.
EAT DRINK STAY
If the awesome Pebble Beach Resorts give you sticker shock, try the Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row (of John Steinbeck fame), just steps from the ocean and the Aquarium (June rates from $220; 831-646-1700, www.montereyplazahotel.com ).
Spring for one beer at the Tap Room at the Lodge at Pebble Beach ( www.pebblebeach.com ). The place is soaked in memorabilia and ambience.
Hanging at the Mission Ranch's Piano Bar (831-624-6436, www.missionranchcarmel.com ) is always sweet, especially when owner Clint Eastwood makes one of his frequent visits.
You'll find another great bar — and terrific food — at Rio Grill (831-625-5436, www.riogrill.com ) in Carmel. Local produce is the way to go: Try the Castroville Artichoke, marinated and fire-roasted. It might be the best appetizer in town.
Seafood fans schooled on value love Monterey's Fish House (831-373-4647) near the Naval Postgraduate School, while the best casual lunch in the area is right next to the Monterey Airport, at Tarpy's Roadhouse (831-647-1444, www.tarpys.com ).
Z ane Lamprey's Drinking Made Easy Guide To Monterey, 2011California’s “first city” might seem like a sleepy and quaint little oceanside town, but Monterey, California knows how to party. Located on the California coast smack dab in the middle of the state, Monterey isn’t just known for its historic buildings and world-class aquarium. From Alvarado Street, with the densest collection of bars and pubs in the area, to the many vineyards along the outskirts of town, you won’t have to wander far to find a drink.
WHERE WE WENT
Cannery Row Brewing Company Located just off the historical Cannery Row, it boasts 73 beers on tap, including four of their own (which are actually contract brewed offsite) and more than 69 guest taps. A former sardine processing plant, it’s a beer lovers paradise and the only place in town with more than a half dozen craft tap handles.
95 Prescott Avenue, Monterey, CA 93940 | (831) 643-2722
Restaurant 1833 Set in a historic, two-story building that was built in 1833, it has a storied past and is reportedly haunted. The restaurant features turn of the century décor elements paying homage to the building’s rich history and menu items include locally sourced seafood and vegetables. Their cocktail list carries drinks that fall into categories like “Elixirs”, “Aphrodisiacs”, “Pain Killers” and “Stress Relievers”.
500 Hartnell Street, Monterey, CA 93940 | (831) 643-1833
Fog’s End Distillery Makers of California Moonshine, Monterey Rye, and White Dog, they also produce a clear rye spirit that comes with a stick of toasted American white oak that can be used to self age your bottle to your liking.
425 Alta Street, Building 5, Gonzalez, CA 93926 | (831) 809-5941
Pisoni Vineyards Known for their Pinot Noir, they produce one wine each year under the Estate Label. In production since 1982, they now sell many of their grape harvest to smaller wineries. No tours or tasting room available at the vineyard but their wines are available around the county.
Inn at Spanish Bay A beautiful resort with several dining and drinking options situated on The Links at Spanish Bay Golf Course .
17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA 93953 | (800) 654-9300
Lallapalooza American dinner house with a robust menu that also has the widest selection of martinis in town, a tequila bar, local wines and is known to be one of the hottest night spots in the area.
474 Alvarado Street, Monterey, CA 93940 | (831) 645-9036
Pebble Beach Golf Links Known as the greatest public golf course in America and also one of the most challenging to play on. Designed in 1919 by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the course hugs the rugged coastline, and has been the site of golf’s most prestigious tournaments. 18 Holes, Par 72.
1500 Cypress Drive, Pebble Beach, CA 93953 | (831) 647-7500
Beyond Pebble Beach
Great public golf courses in Monterey aside from Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill
By Joe Passov, Architecture/Course Ranking Editor, GOLF Magazine October 01, 2007
The ultimate golf dream today is the same as it was 25 years ago — win the lottery, move to Monterey and play every day at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and, in the fantasy sequence, the very private Cypress Point.
You need serious coin and connections to access that triumvirate regularly. The question is, can regular guys enjoy a golf vacation on the Monterey Peninsula and still have money left over?
Absolutely. Save Pebble for special occasions. Here's where else you should play in Monterey.
The Links at Spanish Bay
6,821 yards, par 72 Greens fee: $250-$280, 800-654-9300, www.pebblebeach.com Architects: Robert Trent Jones Jr./Tom Watson/Sandy Tatum
Yes, it's expensive, but it's also roughly half the price of Pebble Beach. This gorgeous layout begins at the sea, eases through marshes and dunes, climbs into the forest and finally returns to the sea. A superb opening par 5 sets the pace; the green affords a panorama of Spanish Bay. Purists say there are too many woods, wetlands and forced carries to call it a true links, but with the breeze, the firm turf and a bagpiper sounding his tune along the first fairway at dusk, this could pass for Scotland — except that the Scots never had it so cushy.
Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course
5,727 yards, par 70 Greens fee: $35-$57, 831-648-5777, www.ci.pg.ca.us Architects: Chandler Egan/Jack Neville
For years, Pacific Grove was known as the poor man's Pebble Beach. The unique setting and undersized greens fee make it one of golf's great values. Pacific Grove is as close to a seaside British Isles experience as you'll find in the United States. Chandler Egan's wooded front nine dates to 1932 and while only a couple of holes there offer memorable challenge or terrain, the back nine is scenic and fun, characterized by ocean views, a lighthouse and some of the tallest dunes this side of Ballybunion.
Bayonet Black Horse Bayonet Course
7,133 yards, par 72 Greens fee: $77-$128; 831-899-7271, www.bayonetblackhorse.com Architects: Gen. Robert McClure/Gene Bates
Once the property of the Army's Fort Ord, the Bayonet will slice you to ribbons, especially if you play military golf (left, right, left, right). Bayonet torments players with an inordinate number of uphill doglegs, all hemmed in with cypresses, pines and damp rough. The golf is honest —if difficult — and thankfully, on a sunny day, ocean views are not scarce. Also named #35 Toughest Course in America by Golf Digest 2007: "The old Fort Ord Military Base layout has been renamed and turned into a public course, but it's still armed for combat. Only expert marksmen can avoid the Monterey Pines that frame every hole. Nos. 11 to 15 are a procession of jagged doglegs, a part of the course known as "Combat Corner."
Poppy Hills Golf Course
6,857 yards, par 72 Greens fee: $195-$212; 831-625-2035, www.poppyhillsgolf.com Architects: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Poppy Hills is an exceptional course that's lacking in drama compared to its neighbors. The course is framed by pines, which, while attractive, block out ocean views. But sharp-eyed golfers will relish the strategy demands. With its huge, wildly heaving greens and clever fairway bunkering, Poppy Hills is worthy of its status as co-host to the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach event.
• Where to stay: The Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach is worth every penny. Rooms start at $565 (800-654-9300, www.pebblebeach.com ). If you need to be in the heart of Monterey, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is your best bet. Rooms start at $190 per night (831-646-1700, www.montereyplazahotel.com ).
• What to see: Carmel's Ocean Avenue is home to a splendid collection of shops, restaurants and art galleries. Monterey offers Cannery Row , made famous by John Steinbeck, Fisherman's Wharf , and the Monterey Bay Aquarium (831-648-4800).
From March/April '04 T&L Golf article:
Contrary to Fat Guy's 5-plus-year-old review of Pebble (See: Pebble Beach GL, 831-647-7500), T&L Golf claims that the recent economic downturn has made many of the previously hard-to-book Monterey Peninsula courses, including Pebble Beach , much more accessible. They even claim the unthinkable; there are stories that on some days, it may even be possible to call Pebble get out that same day. Sure the greens fees are now $380, and if you want to prebook to guarantee a tee time, the obligatory Lodge stay ($525-$1610 pn) essentially pushes the cost over a paycheck, but hey, it's Pebble (5/5 stars, with much-improved conditions and pace of play [4.5 hours] since Clint, Arnie, & Co. bought it in '99).
Spyglass Hill ($265, 831-647-7500) is the local's fave with 5 opening links holes every bit as good as Pebble. Holes 6-18 turn dramatically inland, woodsy and brutish, demanding pure golf shots.
Bayonet GC ( www.bayonetblackhorse.com , $70-$97, 831-899-7271) earned 4/5 stars, a surprise for a military course designed by a General. It almost made the AT&T rotation, and almost became a TPC. Features blind, brawny dog lefts with tree-lined fairways and slippery greens. Tip: All putts break towards Santa Cruz.
Black Horse GC ($70-$97, 831-899-7271) 4/5 stars. Hillier sister to Bayonet, host of PGA Q-school, rennovated by the Tour in '98. Mediocre collection of par 3s.
Poppy Hills ($50-$160, 831-625-2154) is a uniquely unsettling experience due to the sidehill lies, sweeping doglegs, tight woods, and severely sloped pristine greens, the finest in the area. Splendid conditions.
Pacific Grove GL ( , $32-$38). 3.5/5 stars. The "Poor Man's Pebble" by the same design team has a tight parkland front through homes and cypress woods. The links-style back runs dramatically out to the Pacific at Point Pinos. Sandy fairways, tiny dune-flanked greens, and the truest links on the Peninsula despite being only 5732 from the tips.
Spanish Bay ($215, rooms $460-$620, 831-647-7500) draws both praise and scorn from many for a manufactured links feel and a brutal routing. "Lose a dozen, shoot a million, come back 3 years later," said a local scratch. Ocean views rivalling Pebble, and tough but playable when the wind isn't up.
Carmel Valley Ranch ( www.cvrgolf.com , $90-$180, rooms $149-$449, '03 T&L 2nd most underrated Western golf resort, 831-625-9500) 3.5/5 stars. Pete Dye was at the height of his penal stage in '81, but returned to soften the brutal layout in '95. Exquisitely maintained resort course demanding smart placement. Well-contoured greens and still-penal bunkering. The prelude front 9 builds to the up-and-down joyride of the back.
Del Monte GC ( www.delmontegolf.com , $95, 831-373-2700) 3.5/5 stars is a classic little track once held in higher regard than it's younger sister Pebble. Subtle pleasures found in a tight routing with smallish greens, and well-bunkered par 3s. Fast pace of play is a nice reprieve from the area's marquee grind.
Quail Lodge ( , $120-$180, rooms $305-$425, 831-620-8808) 3.5/5 stars. In Monterey, calling this a great warm-up course isn't much of an insult. Plush fairways, pristine true greens, lots of trees, a nice walk in the park. Far enough inland means no fog.
Best Bar Nearby: Pebble's pricey Club XIX overlooks the famed 18th. Saved from the wrecking ball by Clint Eastwood, rowdy Mission Ranch piano bar and restaurant (Delores St, Carmel, $$$) is where to get drunk and sing with the locals. Don't miss the Dunguness crab soup or the filet.
Where To Grub: Katy's Place is a Carmel breakfast institution (Mission + 6th, $). Fandango's (17th St, Pacific Grove, $$$) fireplace, boisterous dining room, and fiery Medditerranean cuisine warm the soul. Low-key Fishwife @ Alomar Beach (Sunset Dr, Pacific Grove, $$) serves the best seafood on the peninsula.
Where To Stay: Fat Guy Recommendation : In order to afford your Pebble Beach stay, book your required 2-night stay at the resort at the end of your trip, so you have something to look forward to during your Motel 6 stay in Monterey (SR 1 at Casa Verde Way/North Fremont Street, 831-646-8585). It features an outdoor pool and hottub in a shaded abroretum. If you want value but just gotta sleep in beachside digs, AOL Travel ranked local's secret Best Western Beach Resort Monterey ( www.montereybeachresort.com ) as their #5 Best Beach Budget Hotel in the country.
At $100 per night & up (an extra $40 snags you an oceanfront room), you get the Pacific, towering pine trees looming in the background, and a recent $5 million upgrade. On the other end of the spectrum, Tiger stays at Casa Palmero ($655-$725), in Villa 620... well, at least he used to... when he had a regular sleeping partner and could afford it.