Is Spyglass Hill the best golf course never to host major?
Everybody knows about Pebble Beach, of course. Monday, I played it in its setup for next month’s U.S. Open. Flawless and difficult with incredible topography, there’s nothing like it.
Poppy Hills, which is home of the Northern California Golf Association, is a solid golf experience, especially this time of year, that’s obviously overshadowed by some of the other courses on the peninsula.
But Spyglass Hill, which many say has the best opening five holes in golf, is as good as it gets.
Now that the U.S. Open will be making its fifth appearance this year at Pebble Beach, could there ever be consideration to hold, say a PGA Championship at Spyglass Hill? From the championship tees at approximately 7,000 yards, Spyglass Hill is rated one of the toughest courses in the world from the with a course rating of 75.5 and a slope rating of 147.
And it’s not just about the first five holes’ spectacular ocean views. The rest of the course, which meanders up and around Monterey Pines, is a pretty remarkable stretch as well, with a couple of dramatic par 3s, a dynamite uphill par 5 and some pretty testy par 4s.
Plus, this 1966 Robert Trent Jones Sr. masterpiece has undergone extensive agronomic work over the last 10 years, including an expensive drainage project that has upped the conditioning ante 10-fold. And if you played the PGA there in August, just like when the U.S. Open is played in the summer, it would be a dramatically different golf course than the one that’s played in February during the PGA Tour’s AT&T. Instead of slow and damp, you’d get firm and fast, which would make Spyglass a great major championship test.
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