In GOLF’s all-new series That’s Debatable, sponsored by Cisco WebEx, we’re settling some of golf’s most heated disputes. Our writers and editors have been seeded 1-16, battling head-to-head to determine whose takes are most on point.
What’s the best golf hole? In this episode of That’s Debatable, we searched from coast-to-coast in order to whittle down our choices to two options: No. 12 at Augusta, and No. 7 at Pebble Beach. The two holes are as challenging as they are jaw-droppingly beautiful, and each carries a level of architectural significance to justify its selection as the better hole.
In to take this argument are a pair of east coast GOLF staffers: 2-seed Michael Bamberger and 13-seed Rachel Bleier. You can watch their debate in the video above or read their arguments below.
No. 7 at Pebble Beach (Bleier)
1. Location. Jack Nicklaus famously said, “If I had only one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach,” because the views are that amazing. No. 7 at Pebble is arguably the most photographed in golf — for good reason. The view is unparalleled in both beauty and intimidation, making it a dream to play for most golfers. No. 12 on Augusta is nice with its azaleas, but those pretty flowers only last about three weeks. Per year. Pebble’s stunning views are timeless.
2. Creativity. Because No. 7 at Pebble is the shortest par 3 on Tour and relies on the wind to guard its small green, it invites all manner of tee shots. Sam Snead famously putted his ball onto the green once because the wind was so fierce and he didn’t want to risk flighting his ball into the gale. Eddie Merrins, a golf pro from Bel-Air, aced the hole with a 3-iron. Tour pros these days typically play the hole with anything from a mid-iron to a wedge depending on the conditions. The varied ways in which you can play this hole make it one of the most entertaining to watch in golf.
3. History. Sure, No. 12 at Augusta has plenty of history, but don’t let your judgment be clouded by the carnage of the 2019 Masters. No. 7 at Pebble is not without its own history. Jack Nicklaus chipped in for birdie after he found a bunker on No. 7 at the 1972 U.S. Open, a consequential moment that set him up for the famous 1-iron on 17.
4. Accessibility. Every golfer who dreams of playing No. 7 at Pebble can do so. It might cost an arm and a leg, but because Pebble is public, unlike Augusta, every golfer has the opportunity to play this amazing par 3. They have no shot whatsoever at playing No. 12 at Augustabecause of the club’s restrictive nature. And for the Average Joe looking to play a dream round, No. 7 at Pebble is everything they could ask for. It’s difficult, but not impossible. It’s fun. It’s memorable. It’s everything they could want in a playable par 3 for all abilities, and the view is pretty damn good too.
No. 12 at Augusta (Bamberger)
1. No. 12 evokes antipathy: Curtis Strange’s famous response to making an ace on 12? He threw his ball in the water. This hole is both thought-provoking and infuriating, something No. 7 at Pebble can’t claim.
2. It strikes fear into people: Tom Weiskopf once said he felt “naked” after playing 12 while leading at the Masters. No star player has ever made a statement like that about No. 7 at Pebble, even for all its beauty.
3. It destroys people: Jordan Spieth lost his bid at a second straight Masters after a blow-up on No. 12. He hasn’t been the same since.
4. Accessibility is a farce: Pebble is more accessible for whom? It’ll run you and your buddies close to $2,000 per person to play No. 7 at Pebble Beach, and that’s just for the golf.
Winner (by judge’s decision)
No. 12 at Augusta! The obsession with Pebble is on a surface level, whereas 12 at Augusta provides thought-provoking golf AND incredible beauty. Bamberger moves on to the semifinal round. Keep it locked on GOLF.com and @GOLF_com on social media to follow along as “That’s Debatable” continues every day at noon!