Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore) – Played June 2016
- Rankings: Golf Digest #66, Golf Magazine #69
- Location: 3000 Club Road, Pebble Beach, California
- Year: 1960, 2003 (Update)
- Architect: Robert Baldock (Original), Mike Strantz (Update)
- Course Access: Private
- Walking Rules: Carts & Caddies Available
Score Card Information:
- Gold: 6,873 yards, Par 72, 74.3 Rating/133 Slope
- Black: 6,478 yards, Par 72, 72.2 Rating/130 Slope
- Blue: 5,987 yards, Par 72, 69.8 Rating/126 Slope
The Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club would end up being the last Top 100 course on the trip. I honestly couldn’t think of a better course to end on. The facility is awesome with a great setting right on the Pacific as you will see in the pictures. It is an old facility, but it is in great shape. One reflection of the historic vibe is that the course is pants only. Very cool, but with the temperatures in Monterey I’m not sure you would ever need shorts!
Let’s look into some of the history of the club. In 1924 the legendary Seth Raynor began work on the Dunes Course, but unfortunately died during construction. The course was completed by Robert Hunter and Dr. Alister MacKenzie. In 1926 the beautiful Spanish Colonial clubhouse was opened (you can see a photo of that below). Some years later in 1960, the Shore Course was built for the small sum of $100,000. That is amazing to me after playing it, but hey inflation is a killer. In 1998 Rees Jones remodeled the Dunes and in 2003 Mike Strantz redid the Shore. Finally in 2015, the Fazio Design Group did a second remodel of the Dunes Course that completed at the end of April 2016.
One of the biggest pieces of club history is hosting the PGA Tour. Starting in 1947, the club introduced the Bing Crosby Tournament, which started with a handful of Crosby’s friends. For a decade the tournament was a whirlwind affair for Crosby and his cronies. For 18 years the event was played on the Dunes Course before shifting to the Shore for 1965 and 1966. The tournament moved away except for 1977, but in 2010 the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (the modern incarnation of the Crosby) and the club agreed to add the Shore Course to the tournament’s rotation. That agreement is in place through 2020. Here’s hoping it stays for a long time after that.
In the photo above, you can see the new club logo designed by Gerard Huerta. The logo is representative of the club’s Spanish Colonial history. The local folklore contained stories of serpents living in Monterey Bay, hence the art.
Below is the clubhouse I mentioned before.
The opening tee shot gives you a boost as it is downhill. If you can get one in the fairway you van definitely give this a go in two. All the bunkers on the left are in play.
Below you can see the raised edges on the green with everything flowing towards the middle of the green. I want to go ahead and say that these greens were some of the best I have ever putted. They were in phenomenal shape.
The second hole plays a little tighter off the tee. With the tree on the right if you can knock a fade out there you will be in position A.
The first one-shotter is down a hill. There is a bit of a false front on the green so carrying the ball a little into the putting surface is recommended.
I liked this hole for some reason. You can lay back off the tee for position. This is a decent strategy with all the sand up the right.
Here we are at the first of the ocean holes. I found the sightlines to be difficult from this tee. On the advice of my caddie I took three iron and aimed at the middle tree in this picture. You can go with driver, but the line changes quite a bit.
This hole bends to the right, but off the tee you can hit it up the middle and worry about the curve on the second shot. Hitting one right over the cart path is a good play.
Once you get into the fairway, the hole makes a right turn. The second shot plays uphill all the way and has a bunker fronting the green. It is also a tough green to hold with a long club. Everything is saying to hit to a comfortable distance for your third shot.
This is a longer test than the previous par three. There is a lot of trouble left. A miss just short of the green will not hurt you too much.
This is a longer hole that bends to the left. You can see the fairway out in front of you. The preferred shot is a slight draw that starts in the middle of the short stuff.
We played through a group on this hole so I didn’t get a close photo of the green. Below is the tee shot. It is a two-tiered green surrounded by bunkers. This pin can use the second tier as a backstop. This is a great hole. I also liked the quirkiness of having three par three’s on the front nine.
The fairway here is a mile wide. I challenge you to miss it! Take a big rip at this one.
The eleventh is the signature hole on the Shore Course. Just look at this view. Cypress Point is off in the distance to the right and Spyglass Hill is up on the hill straightaway. After you pick your jaw up from the floor, just look at the hole itself. The bunkering and green set among the trees is all world.
This hole is a monster. All I can advise you to do here is hit your best drive of the day and enjoy the views.
With no tree lined fairways you need to be sure in your lines. Straightaway from this view is the way to go.
This is the first uphill par three we have seen. Playing over a large waste area you may need another club. The green is pretty big, but you need to avoid the bunkers guarding it.
This is a wonderful hole. It angles out to the right off the tee with your line being over the left side of the big bunker you see right off this tee. You can pound one here.
I first wanted to show you the view from this tee. You’ve got to stop and smell the roses sometimes.
The tee shot here bends slightly to the right. You want to keep it away from the right side because of the large bunker. I didn’t take my own advice!
If you push one right this is what you will have to deal with. It’s a longer shot, but if you get it running you can get the ball on the green. The thing I like about Mike Strantz is that he always gives you options. Most of the trouble he presents you with is visual. It makes you think more than penalize you explicitly. He was a master.
The view here is a good one with the hole bending to the right and going up the hill. There is tree trouble all up the right side. The fairway is more important than length here.
I didn’t always have the most to say on this course, but that doesn’t reflect how I feel about it. I just think the pictures explained a lot of the course and made it an easy story to tell. I love Mike Strantz’s work and this course is no exception. The course was in wonderful shape and I played fast. I loved the experience and would go back in a heartbeat. The Monterey Peninsula is a ridiculously beautiful part of the world and one you should visit if you can.