Pebble Beach Golf Links is high on most golfers’ bucket lists, and with good reason: it may well be the greatest public golf course in the United States. But there’s a catch to that “public” moniker: playing Pebble will cost you a boatload.
The traditional way to book a tee time at Pebble requires a reservation at one of Pebble Beach’s properties if you intend to book two days in advance or more. Those tee times will run you $550 per person, and the lodging will cost you even more.
According to Pebble Beach’s website, “guests of The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero enjoy special booking privileges for golf reservations when arranging accommodations.”
A room at the Lodge at Pebble Beach will run you at least $940, the Inn at Spanish Bay has rooms starting at $840, and Casa Palmero’s cheapest accommodations start at $1,100. That means with tee time, lodging and caddie/cart tips and fees, you’re looking at the better part of $1,500 just to get started.
There aren’t many ways around that; there’s no lack of demand to play Pebble Beach, even at its current price tag. But there are a few ways to sneak a potential discount — though some are admittedly far-fetched.
How to play Pebble Beach for cheaper (slightly cheaper, at least)
1. Do it last minute.
While Pebble Beach doesn’t necessarily advertise its last-minute deals the way your local public course might, there are opportunities to sneak out without a long-held tee time. Even if you’re not staying at the resort, you can make tee times inside that two-day window.
If there are only one or two of you, you’ll have a good chance at getting out day of — perhaps even at a discounted price. Find an affordable AirBnB in nearby Pacific Grove and you’ll be saving hundreds off the ticket price.
2. Become a Pebble Beach caddie.
Our sources tell us that Pebble Beach’s famed caddies are entitled to one free round per year on Caddie Apprecation Day. Plus, you could probably score some good tips around Pebble, too — so this might not be a bad career move.
3. Get a time machine.
It wasn’t always this way in the $550 greens fee sense: Tiger Woods first played the course when he was 9 or 10, he said, when the price tag was less than $100. This meant it was under the threshold of Earl Woods, who vowed never to pay more than $100 for a round of golf.
“So luckily, it was still under a hundred bucks then,” Woods said Tuesday. “And we got a chance to play Pebble.”
4. Make the PGA Tour.
This is the simplest way to ensure yourself consistent tee times at Pebble: Get your Tour card. That means access to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am every year. Simple — we never said easy.
5. Join the ranks of golf media.
We cannot promise either fame or fortune, but if you wait around long enough the U.S. Open will return to Pebble Beach, and certain media members will be invited to Pebble for preview play weeks in advance. Worth it? Only you can decide.
6a. Join the First Tee (teens only).
The PURE Insurance Championship pairs PGA Tour Champions players with kids from the First Tee for a unique tournament at Pebble. The description of how to apply is as follows:
“This event is only available to teens involved at chapters of The First Tee. Applicants are selected by a national panel of judges based on playing ability and comprehension of the life skills and core values learned through their involvement with The First Tee. Parents, if you want your child to participate, please inquire at your chapter.”
6b. Make the PGA Tour Champions.
Same tournament, different age group. Again, we didn’t say this would be easy.
7. Play nearby.
There’s plenty of spectacular golf on the Monterey Peninsula that doesn’t quite have the same exorbitant price tag as Pebble Beach. The resort boasts three other options: Spyglass Hill ($395 or $225 at twilight), Spanish Bay ($290/$165) or Del Monte ($110/$45).
For more recommendations, here are GOLF.com’s seven best courses you can play on the Monterey Peninsula.