Tim Lobb writes on his experience of playing Cypress Point and Pebble Beach on the same day (2nd March 2012).
Last Friday I was fortunate enough to play two of the greatest golf courses in the world on the same day. Below is an account of what can only be described as a golfing dream.
Arriving to the Monterey Peninsula from the Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas, Tim Lobb, John Douglas, David Murdoch and Kneale Diamond felt great excitement to what could be the greatest 36 hole day possible.
We stayed in a local hotel the night before and drove to Cypress Point at 6.30am for our 7.30am tee time. Cypress Point is a very private club with only a small sign at the entrance of the property.
We arrived in time and the pro greeted us in the car park. Our caddies arrived and soon we were to tee off. It still was not really sinking in that we were about to play Cypress Point. It was a beautiful clear day and below is what presents you on the first tee.
Cant see alot off the first at Cypress Point. But a great story does unfold.
Once we all got over the first tee nerves and drove off and the magic and beauty of Cypress Point started to appear. The first is a pretty difficult hole with a raised green.
After finishing the first hole we quickly realised that the greens were pretty fast and they had a fair bit of slope on them. In fact the importance of approaching the green from the correct angles was of vital importance if you wanted a fair birdie chance. The greens were a great defence to the course in general.
The second hole, a par 5 was a beauty and rarely seen in many photographs taken of the course. The large bunkers sitting naturally in the slope act as a diaganol hazards tempting golfers.
A great shot off 2nd tee
Playing through the front nine we started to understand the allure of Cypress Point. Every hole was fantastic and offered a varied strategic challenge. The terrain was fairly hilly and the golf holes perfectly proportioned to their landscape.
The ninth hole was a great case in point. A short par four which in which I totally messed up. Perfect drive to 50 yards short. Poor pitch to a tight pin position then in the sand. Cypress Point always asks you to hit well struck shots. A great golfing challenge.
Such a difficult pitch to this narrow green.
Every hole is fantastic at Cypress Point and trying to single out just a few is difficult. Obviously the famous 15, 16 + 17 gets the most media attention. The holes leading up to this famous stretch starts to get you closer to the ocean and like a great symphony the music starts to get more intense.
Some of the great bunkering at hole 13
Hole 15 and 16 are back to back par three holes. In modern design this would be frowned upon but when you see the terrain and variety of the holes you dont even think about it. Hole 15 is a flick sand iron and 16 a driver.
What a thrill to play 15th at Cypress. Got up and down from the back bunker for par.
The joy of hitting the 16th green with a driver.
I managed to par 15 and hit the green on 16 with my driver. A three putt was heart breaking but was thrilled to see the ball land on the green from the tee shot.
Hole 17 is difficult par 4 with the iconic tree’s in the middle of the fairway. The caddies advised us to hit well left and away from the ocean which was good advice.
John, David, Kneale and Tim. Four happy golfers.
What a great hole. 17th at Cypress Point.
Some golfers criticise the 18th hole at Cypress Point as not being in keeping. It is definately a strange hole as it doglegs against the camber of the terrain but I still really liked it. It does demand an accurate tee shot to allow you to shoot at the uphill green complex. The green is steeply pitched to the front and was very diffult to putt on.
We finished our round went into the pro shop, said our thank yous and made our way next door to Pebble Beach.
The interesting thing and comparison of Pebble Beach is that it is a very commercial enterprise and runs a very full time sheet, unlike Cypress Point. We had the last tee time of the day at 1.10pm and the sun was still beaming. Eric Gray (assistant pro at Pebble Beach) joined us for the round and Kneale kindly stepped out to let us enjoy.
The start at Pebble Beach was a little awkard in my view and played very close to the Lodges and housing. We got through the first few holes well and immediately recognised the small greens that were famous for the course. Midway through the front nine we got to the ocean and the wow factor really started to kick in.
Hole 6 really started to ask questions as the adjacent cliffs were very imposing off the tee. The landscape and scene was incredible.
Pebble Beach - 6th hole. I hit the cart path which was fun and gave me 50 yards
The stretch from 6-10 at Pebble Beach is world famous. In my view it should be 4-10 as holes 4 and 5 were also great. Arriving to the short par 3, 7th hole was quite a thrill. Bill the caddy told us to fly the ball 75 yards in the air. It is pretty hard to hit the ball that soft but we managed it. We had some birdie putts but they didnt drop.
7th at Pebble. What a beauty.
Hole 8, 9 and 10 are difficult par 4 holes with the Ocean on the right. The fairways are fairly generous so there is no real reason to flirt with trouble. I did manage to hit it on the beach on hole 10 though.
David surveys his approach shot into 9th at Pebble.
View back from the 10th at the coastline. Awe inspiring.
Playing with Eric was great and he gave us a great insight into the operations of the Club. It is an extremely busy and profitable golf course. Considering the small greens and that we were last off for the day the putting conditions were great and a credit to the ground staff.
Prior to playing Pebble Beach I had heard that the holes away from the Ocean were dissapointing. While the holes are not as spectacular the playing strategy were still strong and required solid shot making.
Some new bunkering on hole 15 which worked very well.
Late in the day we reached the famous 17th and 18th hole. The 17th was played in fading light and I managed a par from the left bunker which was exciting. Standing on the 18th tee was awe inspiring and a great thrill eventhough it was almost dark by the time we got to the green.
Playing those two world famous golf courses was a big thrill for me and a massive thank you must go to Kneale Diamond and Thomas Beckmann of Rainbird for looking after us for this special day and our entire trip to the Golf Industry show in Las Vegas.
I wonder if I will ever have such a good golfing day again?
WRITTEN ON March 6th, 2012 BY Tim AND STORED IN Tim Lobb, Top Courses