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1 hour ago, hammergolf said:

Exactly, it’s like a bag tag popularity test vs the actual RATING of the golf course. I said this many times before, and will continue to say, Pebble Beach is an average golf course on a wonderful piece of land. If that golf course was 5 miles inland, it wouldn’t be in the top 500 in the country. I think they should just changed the name to the top 100 most popular golf courses. I went on a golf trip to Chicago in October. Was very excited to play Medinah #3. Honestly, it was not even close to being the best golf course we played. But it had the hype because of the events that had been held there. I’ve been fortunate to play many of the top rated courses, as well as formally being a rather for another golf publication. Everyone tends to have their likes and dislikes as well as how they judge a golf course. But popularity or “exclusivity” should not be part of the rating.

Agree 100%. I've never played Pebble Beach and likely never will, I guess my goal in life would be to find a Pebble "like" course at a much better overall price. It's why when I want to go to Pawley's Island that I tend to go to Heritage Club over True Blue or Caledonia. I love the layout, I love the history of the location, the course is always in great condition, I can see Alligators all over the place, and I can play Heritage 3x for what it costs me to play the others once. 

 

On a side note, how the heck do you set up a signature on here? Nobody cares what clubs I play, but I think it's cool to advertise it lol!

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Agreed, nice enough course but not Top 100.  

I want to build a course that no one can play - ever. Not even me.   I predict it would be in the top 10 in no time since it will be so exclusive.    

Greatest list is irrelevant IMO.  100 public greatest is much more appealing.  As mentioned before providing access to private courses for review creates a scenario where it cannot be done objectively

2 hours ago, lefty1984 said:

Agree 100%. I've never played Pebble Beach and likely never will, I guess my goal in life would be to find a Pebble "like" course at a much better overall price. It's why when I want to go to Pawley's Island that I tend to go to Heritage Club over True Blue or Caledonia. I love the layout, I love the history of the location, the course is always in great condition, I can see Alligators all over the place, and I can play Heritage 3x for what it costs me to play the others once. 

 

On a side note, how the heck do you set up a signature on here? Nobody cares what clubs I play, but I think it's cool to advertise it lol!

I’ve been lucky enough to play Pebble 3 times. Only had to pay once. I’ll be honest, not a chance it’s worth $575. For nostalgia I would recommend to play it once, but no way I would ever pay that much to play it again. 
     As far as putting your sig on your profile:

1 When you are logged in, on the upper right you will see a drop down arrow.

2 Hit the arrow, and select account settings

3 On the page, look on the left side and click signature.

4 Add what you want and save it.

 

 

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For the "Pasatiempo is top 50" crowd...there are sort of 3 issues that I have with the course:

 

(1) The amount of housing / OB that comes into play. If Pasa were on an isolated piece of property, and the houses / OB didn't exist...it would be a much better course.

 

(2) The tightness of 6/7/8. Overall, I think the property is cramped, and that's most obvious in the 6/7/8 stretch. 

 

(3) Finishing on a par 3. Call it quirk. Sure. But all things considered, I don't think finishing on a Par 3 is ideal.

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3 hours ago, hammergolf said:

I’ve been lucky enough to play Pebble 3 times. Only had to pay once. I’ll be honest, not a chance it’s worth $575. For nostalgia I would recommend to play it once, but no way I would ever pay that much to play it again. 
     As far as putting your sig on your profile:

1 When you are logged in, on the upper right you will see a drop down arrow.

2 Hit the arrow, and select account settings

3 On the page, look on the left side and click signature.

4 Add what you want and save it.

 

 

Thanks!

It would be extremely difficult for me to drop that much on a round of golf. Maybe one day I can become a youtube sensation and get invited to play all kinds of places like Golfholics and Mr Short Game. 

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18 hours ago, hammergolf said:

Exactly, it’s like a bag tag popularity test vs the actual RATING of the golf course. I said this many times before, and will continue to say, Pebble Beach is an average golf course on a wonderful piece of land. If that golf course was 5 miles inland, it wouldn’t be in the top 500 in the country. I think they should just changed the name to the top 100 most popular golf courses. I went on a golf trip to Chicago in October. Was very excited to play Medinah #3. Honestly, it was not even close to being the best golf course we played. But it had the hype because of the events that had been held there. I’ve been fortunate to play many of the top rated courses, as well as formally being a rather for another golf publication. Everyone tends to have their likes and dislikes as well as how they judge a golf course. But popularity or “exclusivity” should not be part of the rating.


I agree with your assessment here. First, having played about 10-12 of these top 100 courses (depending on whichever list you’re looking at), Pebble Beach is so overrated it’s laughable to see it up there. It doesn’t crack my Top 5 and probably not my top 10 either. Four to six great golf holes do not define a golf course as being great. The fact that Kapalua Plantation doesn’t make these lists while Pebble is top 10 makes no sense to me. The former is a significantly better design with significantly better views. It doesn’t merit Top 10 but it merits recognition. 
 

Exclusivity is definitely a factor in some of these. Typically you see it with the new swanky super private courses that appear in the 50-100 range. There is a certain degree of bias that can creep in when you drive through a super secret gate most people don’t even know exists.

 

Also interesting to see how recent renovations have caused older courses to creep up the list. Oak Hill, Southern Hills, Oakland Hills, Baltustrol,  etc have invested millions to go back to their old design roots. I wonder if this is because they’ve seen their rankings slip or if they were trying to avoid being passed up by newer and more interesting designs (which would cause their rankings to further slip). Time will tell what the motivations were and if the work will have paid off.  

 

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Interesting that pebble gets such polarizing comments.  From an architectural perspective it is a gem, weather by necessity of topogrophy or dumb luck.  The combination of small undulating greens coupled with classic design is impressive.  Like many posters above, it is quite frustrating when people just throw out blanket statements without any qualifications.  Only 3 holes on pebble could be panned as ordinary from a design perspective.  All three have quirky merit on their own (#1, #15, #16.)  Ocean views aside the remainder are architecturally excellent holes, with classic design features.  It may be argued that the modern game has passed it by a bit, and I wouldnt argue too much with that, but its small greens keep it relevant.  I have played over half of the top 100 courses and PB belongs IMO.

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11 minutes ago, vallygolf said:

Interesting that pebble gets such polarizing comments.  From an architectural perspective it is a gem, weather by necessity of topogrophy or dumb luck.  The combination of small undulating greens coupled with classic design is impressive.  Like many posters above, it is quite frustrating when people just throw out blanket statements without any qualifications.  Only 3 holes on pebble could be panned as ordinary from a design perspective.  All three have quirky merit on their own (#1, #15, #16.)  Ocean views aside the remainder are architecturally excellent holes, with classic design features.  It may be argued that the modern game has passed it by a bit, and I wouldnt argue too much with that, but its small greens keep it relevant.  I have played over half of the top 100 courses and PB belongs IMO.

That's the beauty of courses. Everyone can have a different vision or opinion of holes. For me, 1,2,3,4,7,11,13,15,and 16 are average holes at best. 6 and 18 are good holes, 8,9,10, and 17 are GREAT holes. I mean in my opinion taking away the ocean how can a downhill 115yd par 3 be a good hole? I truly feel if that golf course was not on the piece of land it is on it would not be in the top 500 in the country. However, if one was to judge it on views and how the ocean frames those average holes it would def score higher. 

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18 hours ago, raynorfan1 said:

For the "Pasatiempo is top 50" crowd...there are sort of 3 issues that I have with the course:

 

(1) The amount of housing / OB that comes into play. If Pasa were on an isolated piece of property, and the houses / OB didn't exist...it would be a much better course.

 

(2) The tightness of 6/7/8. Overall, I think the property is cramped, and that's most obvious in the 6/7/8 stretch. 

 

(3) Finishing on a par 3. Call it quirk. Sure. But all things considered, I don't think finishing on a Par 3 is ideal.

This is the beauty of these debates. Everyone has a different lens they see a course through and nobody is wrong. Pasa has about the same amount of OB as Pebble and others do. True, it has tight holes as does Olympic, Spyglass and others do. And although finishing on a Par 3 is different, it is a GREAT one. In my opinion, it is a masterpiece of hole layouts, use of topography, bunkering, and green complexes. Those are the areas I tend to judge on. The surroundings of the golf course, course routing, or exclusiviety do not carry as much of a premium for me. 

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23 hours ago, lefty1984 said:

The list has become the same 75 or so courses every year, and the majority of them are not budget friendly courses. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, however I wouldn't be surprised if there was an organization method where these guys who vote on the courses get to go play them for comped rounds. I mean if I was getting to play Bandon for nothing, I'd probably rate it extremely high too. 

 

Let me not get carried away. I just think the system really misses the mark. Most of us want to know what courses we are missing out on that we could go out and play next week, or next month on vacation, and be able to do so not breaking the bank. We all know Pebble Beach. We all know The Ocean Course at Kiawah. We don't all know Heritage Club in Pawley's Island, or River's Edge in Shallotte, NC, or Virtues Golf Club in Hanover, Ohio. If I was going to take a vacation to Michigan, I'd love to know in my area where there may be a really nice course for $75 or less that I can go enjoy. 

 

A GM here in Canada told me how his course and the rankings(ScoreGolf up here) worked.  They weren't in the top 100.  One could argue whether there are enough courses in Canada to justify a top 110, but that is another discussion.  Anyway, one year, he comped raters.  Voila, well into the 100.  The next time around, he didn't comp.  And they didn't make the 100.  Of course, the publications insist they have rules, etc., against being comped, but really, what is a course going to do?  Kick up a fuss?  For pete's sake they have media on the panel.  You point out one of them wrote the sun rises in the West and they make it their goal to ruin your life.  Tell them you are denying them their god-given right to having something free.....

 

Same reason I keep telling people not to use that two guys who golf site as a review site.  They sell passes to the courses they "review."  Of course they aren't going to tell you there is a ridiculous bunker at bad spot on a hole, or that the greens are basically waterslides.  

 

Sites like this one are far more valuable for information.  How many places are people going to tell you Pebble Beach may not be all it's cracked up to be? 

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18 minutes ago, hammergolf said:

That's the beauty of courses. Everyone can have a different vision or opinion of holes. For me, 1,2,3,4,7,11,13,15,and 16 are average holes at best. 6 and 18 are good holes, 8,9,10, and 17 are GREAT holes. I mean in my opinion taking away the ocean how can a downhill 115yd par 3 be a good hole? I truly feel if that golf course was not on the piece of land it is on it would not be in the top 500 in the country. However, if one was to judge it on views and how the ocean frames those average holes it would def score higher. 

For sure we can all have opinions, just like national rankings.  But credibility can be called into question when one calls #3, #4, #7, #13 "average holes at best".   #3 is a fantastic blind risk reward with anything  on the right of the fairway demanding a shot over a huge greenside bunker.  Playing from the fairway bunkers on the R is dead.  Driver is no good off the tee unless you can hit a high shot over the trees or a pretty good draw around the corner.  A perfect tee shot gives about 100yards into a small green which the back part breaks to the ocean away and the front breaks hard back to the fairway with a large bunker left and right.  You can make triple here just as easily as birdie.  I can give solid justification for the other holes as well that they are not "average at best".   So yes, it is possible to say we can all have opinions of holes and courses, some opinions carry less merit in forming an opinion of places we have never been.  This leads us back to the rankings.  Are they really that far off, or are our own opinions more bias and less credible than we even understand.

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15 hours ago, hammergolf said:

This is the beauty of these debates. Everyone has a different lens they see a course through and nobody is wrong. Pasa has about the same amount of OB as Pebble and others do. True, it has tight holes as does Olympic, Spyglass and others do. And although finishing on a Par 3 is different, it is a GREAT one. In my opinion, it is a masterpiece of hole layouts, use of topography, bunkering, and green complexes. Those are the areas I tend to judge on. The surroundings of the golf course, course routing, or exclusiviety do not carry as much of a premium for me. 

 

First, I agree with you, that the shortcomings of Pasa do exist at some other great courses. Every course has a blemish. The problem is that Pasa has at least these three, plus some others (for example, it's a difficult course to walk). You can't gloss over weaknesses when other courses don't have them. Pasatiempo's best holes put it in great company...but unfortunately, there are some issues with the course overall. There are other courses that have fewer great holes...but also have fewer downsides.

 

To address your argument however, it's ludicrous to say that Pebble has "about the same" amount of OB as Pasatiempo. Honestly, I can't even think of a place at Pebble Beach where OB comes into play, while there are a number of places at Pasatiempo where it's 30 yards from the center of the fairway to OB. I would agree that other courses (Olympic and Spyglass as noted) are similarly tight in places - and their rankings reflect that shortcoming.

 

My biggest issue with Pebble is pace of play and the general level of jackassery around the course. IMHO, this is part of "conditioning" - it's a choice made by management that has a negative impact on the quality of the golf experience. But I understand that most of the ratings don't let raters make adjustments for this.

 

It's not to say that Pasatiempo isn't a wonderful golf course. It's just that as you get towards the top 0.3%...there are just that many courses that don't have the same downsides.

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23 hours ago, vallygolf said:

Interesting that pebble gets such polarizing comments.  From an architectural perspective it is a gem, weather by necessity of topogrophy or dumb luck.  The combination of small undulating greens coupled with classic design is impressive.  Like many posters above, it is quite frustrating when people just throw out blanket statements without any qualifications.  Only 3 holes on pebble could be panned as ordinary from a design perspective.  All three have quirky merit on their own (#1, #15, #16.)  Ocean views aside the remainder are architecturally excellent holes, with classic design features.  It may be argued that the modern game has passed it by a bit, and I wouldnt argue too much with that, but its small greens keep it relevant.  I have played over half of the top 100 courses and PB belongs IMO.

I just played pebble last month and I think it was excellent. Crazy to say but I didn't feel robbed at $575. It would probably be a case of diminishing returns every time you play it again, but to be honest I'd have less of a problem with the green fee than the pace of play and the touristy tomfoolery. I was sort of sucked into it and sneaked a few pictures (which I hate to do when I'm playing golf) during the round but I can see how tiring that would get to be surrounded by that for 6 hours when you've already had the experience. The middle part of the back 9 just felt like a reroute back to the ocean but some of the holes were still a joy to play. 

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7 hours ago, raynorfan1 said:

 

First, I agree with you, that the shortcomings of Pasa do exist at some other great courses. Every course has a blemish. The problem is that Pasa has at least these three, plus some others (for example, it's a difficult course to walk). You can't gloss over weaknesses when other courses don't have them. Pasatiempo's best holes put it in great company...but unfortunately, there are some issues with the course overall. There are other courses that have fewer great holes...but also have fewer downsides.

 

To address your argument however, it's ludicrous to say that Pebble has "about the same" amount of OB as Pasatiempo. Honestly, I can't even think of a place at Pebble Beach where OB comes into play, while there are a number of places at Pasatiempo where it's 30 yards from the center of the fairway to OB. I would agree that other courses (Olympic and Spyglass as noted) are similarly tight in places - and their rankings reflect that shortcoming.

 

My biggest issue with Pebble is pace of play and the general level of jackassery around the course. IMHO, this is part of "conditioning" - it's a choice made by management that has a negative impact on the quality of the golf experience. But I understand that most of the ratings don't let raters make adjustments for this.

 

It's not to say that Pasatiempo isn't a wonderful golf course. It's just that as you get towards the top 0.3%...there are just that many courses that don't have the same downsides.

Let's just agree to disagree. That is the beauty, nobody is wrong and nobody is right. It seems you have areas you rate a course on that are diferent from others. As I said, i strictly tend to rate a course on the layout of the holes, the shot value, and the green complexes. If a course is hard to walk or the amount of OB never enters my mind. 

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Solid discussion about Pasatiempo. Just goes to show that we all value things a little differently in a course. 
 

This seems relevant regarding the rank of Pasatiempo. 
Golf Digest 98

Golf Magazine 59

Golf Week 54

Top 100 Courses 63
 

There are a decent number of highly rated clubs that Golf Digest has significantly lower than the other 3. The same can’t be said as easily about the other rankings though. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I guess I'm a Pasatiempo stan, but to me the entire value of the course and why it's so good is the routing and green complexes, which are MacKenzie's though restored by Doak and are fantastic. It would absolutely not be as highly regarded as it is without MacKenzie's name, but that's what it is: a public MacKenzie course with fantastic green complexes. I guarantee you had Fazio or Rees Jones for example been given that piece of property, the course would not be nearly as good as it is.

 

It is absolutely not going to win beauty contests against other courses in prettier landscapes, but I still like the trees that it does play through. I struggle to think of any course I've played (including five of Golf Digest's top 10 publics in the US) that has better green complexes than Pasatiempo. As a point of comparison, I prefer Pasatiempo to Spyglass Hill, which Golf Digest had on its 2019 list at #10 publicly. If you asked me right now of any course I've played--and granted I don't have access to high end private courses--to be my home course to play over and over, I'd pick Pasatiempo. 

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Call me crazy but there's a certain level of intimacy that Pasatiempo has which I enjoy. Being nestled in the valley with the houses around it adds to the experience and provides a good definition of how scale can mean more than big and brawny with wide vistas. It feels private and quiet without being in the middle of nowhere. Each hole feels like a new 'reveal' of the creative way MacKenzie situated it onto the land he had. That said, and this is probably obvious to everyone, the 6th and 7th holes are the worst on the course because of how badly they're shoehorned in. Outside of these two holes, the rest of the course has plenty of width to play with. With that width comes varying degrees of advantageous lines off nearly every tee and into every green. Regarding the green complexes: while Oakmont's greens are indeed spectacular (and deadly quick), overall Pasatiempo's green complexes exceed Oakmont's from a design perspective. Both courses will punish you if you're on the wrong side of the hole, but where Oakmont has a few table-top greens, Pasatiempo has none. 

 

I'll caveat all this by saying this is coming from a guy who thinks that the houses on Pebble actually take away from the course aesthetic. So again, all of these lists are completely up to subjective thoughts about the courses. And because every course is different, you'll never find the formula that definitively proves the best one way or another.

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9 hours ago, StudentGolfer4 said:

Pasa is 54 in the country according to GolfWeek. They have it ranked 34th best classic course and 12th best public. 
 

I’m sure having MacKenzies name attached boosts it up the list but the same can most likely be said for the large majority of Flynn, Tillinghast, Raynor, Banks, etc. 

When the man himself (MacKenzie) says it was his best course, that has to carry some weight. Im with newg33b in that I would play Pasa before Spyglass even if comped. I think Spyglass is the best course on Pebble's property, but it isn't there with Pasa to me. 

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Assuming the list is largely the same as usual, Spyglass will easily be the most overrated course on the list. It's a "time slot hit" if you will, that rides Pebble and the 17 Mile Drive privates coattail's to it's position. After the first 5 holes, it's a Monterey version of the RTJ Trail courses; a repetitive aerial slog.

 

Pasa is fantastic, but overrated as well, nowhere to the same degree as Spy of course. #6-9 is average muni-level routing saved by #8 and the other's green complexes. But being an esteemed golden-age course us hoi-polloi can play without connections or a charity auction, like a UK/Ireland model, boosts it higher than it otherwise would be surely.

 

Saying Pebble wouldn't be rated so highly if you moved it is just lazy. The coast is integral to the holes playing alongside it and the holes leading away and back to it. It's like saying Pasa wouldn't be so highly rated if you moved it, well no kidding, because then you wouldn't have the great #10-12 stretch to start the back as you cross up, over, up again, and then down the hills. Or any of the other land formations/barranca that are integral to the course.

 

IIRC the GD list criteria is the silliest, but ya they're all good for some banter and made for airport reading back in the before times.

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On 5/10/2021 at 11:03 AM, hammergolf said:

That's the beauty of courses. Everyone can have a different vision or opinion of holes. For me, 1,2,3,4,7,11,13,15,and 16 are average holes at best. 6 and 18 are good holes, 8,9,10, and 17 are GREAT holes. I mean in my opinion taking away the ocean how can a downhill 115yd par 3 be a good hole? I truly feel if that golf course was not on the piece of land it is on it would not be in the top 500 in the country. However, if one was to judge it on views and how the ocean frames those average holes it would def score higher. 

A great course is more than just a collection of holes ... it's how it's paced, how the holes work together. How they work into their surroundings. It's not just about copying the best 18 holes of all time and building them in the middle of the desert.

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On 5/10/2021 at 12:46 PM, vallygolf said:

Interesting that pebble gets such polarizing comments.  From an architectural perspective it is a gem, weather by necessity of topogrophy or dumb luck.  The combination of small undulating greens coupled with classic design is impressive.  Like many posters above, it is quite frustrating when people just throw out blanket statements without any qualifications.  Only 3 holes on pebble could be panned as ordinary from a design perspective.  All three have quirky merit on their own (#1, #15, #16.)  Ocean views aside the remainder are architecturally excellent holes, with classic design features.  It may be argued that the modern game has passed it by a bit, and I wouldnt argue too much with that, but its small greens keep it relevant.  I have played over half of the top 100 courses and PB belongs IMO.

 

Tell me about the architectural/design nuances of #7 with "ocean views aside."

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5 minutes ago, golfortennis said:

 

Even pasting it sends me back here.... (insert emoji with hand spinning around ear)

 

I pasted into address bar in new tab and it took me to the correct discussion.

 

The "List of Lists" is a good discussion with a comparison of the current best of lists.

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22 hours ago, smashdn said:

 

Tell me about the architectural/design nuances of #7 with "ocean views aside."

 

Sure. Drop shot Par 3 with a green divided into really three zones. Wind is the overwhelming design element. A lot of people's "stock" 100 yard shot is a towering wedge that spins. You have to decide if that is the right shot - if the wind is in your face, you need a lot more club than that. If the wind is right-to-left you need to aim basically into the ocean. Or do you hit a different shot that might not eat so much wind?

 

The combination of the wind and the front right bunker placement give you a whole bunch of choices about what the best shot is going to be...and choices are the name of the game.

 

You could argue that this is lazy architecture - anybody can build a short Par 3 on a windy spot and call it a day. But that ignores the nuances of bunker placement, water hazard, green location and shape - all of which work really well together in this spot.

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2 minutes ago, raynorfan1 said:

You could argue that this is lazy architecture - anybody can build a short Par 3 on a windy spot and call it a day. But that ignores the nuances of bunker placement, water hazard, green location and shape - all of which work really well together in this spot.

 

I think I would, in the sense that it wouldn't take someone all that well versed to come up with that design there.  Originally the bunker placement was not all that thought out.  The original green was very, very large and took up almost the entirety of the peninsula.  That hole has evolved/devolved to what it is today.  In the 20's Egan created the faux dunes which shrank the green.  It is not a great architectural leap to make a hole difficult with a front right bunker and trouble long left.  He went a step further and surrounded it with sand.  Figure in some wind (which is site dependent) and you have a hole that demands your interest in execution.  I think the most architecturally meritous thing going for it was the original restraint used when building it and the continued restraint not to lengthen it.  Demerits for formalizing the bunkering. 

 

It is not a bad hole but it is made by those surroundings.  What other highly acclaimed par threes are drop shot par threes around 100 yards?

 

It is the hole that fits that piece of ground.  Anything longer or more severe would be unplayable there.  That hole anywhere else without more severe hazards is dull.

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