Pebble Beach – The Ne Plus Ultra of Golf Courses

Considered by many to be the most thrilling, beguiling, and breathtaking golf course on the face of the earth, Pebble Beach’s ocean-hugging links are sacred ground for golfers. Jack Nicklaus said of this spectacular (and wildly expensive) spot, “If I could play only one course for the rest of my life, this would be it.”

Now part of a trio of championship courses that includes Spyglass Hill and the Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach opened in 1919. In the late 1940s, crooner Bing Crosby brought his pro-am tourney here, the “clambake” that evolved into the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, played on Pebble, Spyglass, and the nearby Poppy Hills courses during the second weekend of February. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, and other top golfers join such celebrities as Clint Eastwood (now a part-owner of Pebble Beach) for the vaunted pro-amateur tourney.

The refined elegance of the Lodge at Pebble Beach offers the ultimate in holy-grail golfing convenience. Its 161 rooms have working fireplaces, and many skirt the right flank of Pebble’s 18th fairway, within earshot of the Pacific’s crashing waves. Also hugging the coastline is the more modern Inn at Spanish Bay, with 269 palatial rooms that feature antique furniture and splendid marble showers.

Nongolfers can enjoy the area’s beauty on the legendary 17-Mile Drive, a private toll road connecting Monterey to its peninsular neighbor Carmel. A microcosm of the coastline’s romantic beauty, dotted with ocean-sprayed outcroppings where harbor seals and sea lions laze, the winding drive also lakes in man-made marvels like multimillion-dollar mansions.

For classic-car lovers, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August is the world’s finest car show—originally a sideshow to the Pebble Beach Road Race, which was moved after a fatal accident in 1957 involving a Ferrari and a pine tree (“Too much car and not enough race course,” it was observed). Feast your eyes on the most rare, valuable, and beautiful cars in the world—Rolls-Royce Phantoms from the ’30s, racing Jaguars from the ’50s, and Lamborghinis from the ’60s.