So, it’s finally going to happen. A round at Pebble. That’ll make a nice notch on your belt, a bucket-list experience made all the better if you really do it right. You can only do so much about the weather, and maybe even less about your putting. But many other crucial factors are under your control. Here are seven ways to max out your day.
1. Get a Room: You can’t step to the first tee without a tee time, and you can’t reserve a tee time more than 24-hours ahead unless you’re staying on property. It ain’t cheap. But by booking a package, with golf and accommodations bundled together, you can save some money for an expensive hot dog at the turn.
2. Hone, Hone in on the Range: It used to be that Pebble was a world-class course with a subpar driving range, an unworthy place to warm up for a once-in-a-lifetime round. That changed in 2014, when the resort cut the ribbon on a state-of-the-art practice facility, with a 350-yard, double-sided range and a short-game area of the kind that Tiger Woods might like to have in his backyard (come to think of it, maybe he does). Bottom line: this facility is so good, they sell memberships to it. But you get access to it with your greens fee. Allow yourself some extra time there. No excuses when get to the first tee.
3. Take a Caddie: If you’re physically able, you owe it to yourself to walk the course. And you deserve to do so with a caddie. Good for toting bags and reading greens, they’re also great for company and conversation. Many are grizzled veterans who’ve been looping Pebble since the days of Crosby and the Clambake. Oh, and they make pretty good iPhone photographers, too.
4. Ogle the Houses: In most cases, houses on a golf course aren’t things you want to see. But these are Pebble houses, which is to say they’re mansions, many of them rarely occupied by their owners, who own other mansions and can only be in so many places at once. A number of the homes have stories behind them, including the palatial spread behind the 10th green (below), which was once owned by Gene Hackman and sold, four years ago, for $27 million.
5. Snap Lots of Shots: We’re not suggesting that you stall play (though, on many days, it’s plenty slow already) with a Kardashian-worthy series of striking selfies. But you do want to document the day. Eye-candy abounds, especially on holes 5-10, and then again as you close along the coast. If you’re going to pick one place to pose for a portrait, lean against the wooden fence that frames the 18th tee, gazing out across the ocean, Nicklaus-style.
6. Grab a Bite at the Tap Room: Yes, you’ll pay a premium for your burger and your beer. But the atmosphere alone is worth it, bedecked in dark wood furnishing and brimming with lively post-round conversation, all set against a backdrop adorned with photos and other memorabilia worthy of a gallery-wing in a golf museum.
7. Keep Things in Perspective: This applies anytime you’re playing golf, but especially when you’re playing Pebble. Has the pace ground to a halt? Did you just pump a tee shot into the Pacific? Deep breath. Relax. Enjoy. Think of all the other things you could be doing (work, for instance), and all the other places (the office, say) you could be.