I am sure there is no body of professional games players who so cheerfully know so little of the rules of their game as do professional golfers.
Jerry Stewart reports on the new range already under construction at Pebble Beach and also mentions the 9th green changes that apparently will be part of a longer term program to restore more square footage to the badly shrunken surfaces.
Thanks to reader Joel for the story alert and this photo of the green from last week. The bunker is an apparently homage to Apple's iCloud logo.
The biggest change to the green has been the reclamation of 600 square feet of surface area that had been lost from its original size. The reclaimed area is on the left side of the green, which will allow a new pin placement directly behind the primary bunker protecting the green.
Crews have also softened the grade in the middle of the green, lessening the severity of its back-to-front slope in order to improve playability in severe weather conditions. Being tucked on the coast, the green, which was one of the course's fastest during the 2010 U.S. Open, has no protection from high winds.
All that remains in the renovation on No. 9 is for the new grass to grow in. Due to the changes, an alternate green has been used. Like many of the improvements made to Pebble Beach over the past few years, the changes on No. 9 are subtle and in keeping with the intent of the course's original design.
"It's the beginning of plans to make some changes to a few of the greens," Perocchi said. "The ninth green is the first one."
Thanks to reader Chip for this Bay City News report:
A Monterey County bomb squad was dispatched Sunday morning to Pebble Beach Golf Links, where an apparent explosive device was found near the golf course, according to the sheriff's office.
At around 8:30 a.m., a beachcomber reported spotting a suspicious device that looked like two pipe bombs taped together at the base of a 40-foot cliff near the 9th hole at Pebble Beach, according to the sheriff's office.
The Monterey County sheriff's bomb squad went to the scene, examined the device and rendered it safe.
The incident remains under investigation.
Jim McCabe tells us how the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach came to be announced and slips in this about the 14th green.
Harper said they will hold tickets at 37,500, the same as 2010, but one thing that won’t be the same come 2019 is Pebble Beach’s diabolical 14th green.
“It will be rebuilt according to USGA specs,” Perocchi said, though he emphasized it’s part of Pebble’s long-range plan to convert all of its greens. The 14th as it currently sits presents an enormous challenge to players, even with wedges in their hands. There’s very little room to land approach shots to an elevated left side, and the right side is very low and hole locations are virtually non-existent.
Perocchi said Arnold Palmer – not only an icon, but part of the group that owns Pebble Beach – will oversee development of a plan for the 14th. Expect an expansion of the upper left side of the green, as well as a softening of the steep slope to the right. No decision has been made as to when the changes will be made, but Perocchi said it probably would be in the next two to four years.
Not to beat a dead golf hole, but I just loved this effort by the art department (a.k.a. Tom Naccarato) to show us how much the fronting bunker at Pebble Beach's controversial 17th has eaten into the green. You may recall I detailed the issues here in this story and video.
And now, mid-Photoshop layering, the old bunker and the evolved together:
The view today:
And a restored look:
I understand if you have Pebble Beach fatigue by now, but come on, it beats talking about the Traveler's Championship, no?
Anyway, for years I've been told by Pebble Beach Company folks that the old alternate fairway on the 9th fairway, created by Chandler Egan in the 1928 redo along with a shift of the 9th green toward the cliffs, was not possible because of cliff erosion.
Last week I wandered over to the now abandoned fairway and of course, there is plenty of space for the fairway and it provides the optimum angle to attack hole locations cut behind the gaping left bunker.
So for starters, here is a drawing of the hole that appeared in the 1929 National Greenkeeper:
And here is a view of the righthand fairway from the 8th hole:
And the view of the second shot from the right, a great angle to approach from:
Finally, the fairway view:
I've got a couple more before-afters that I forgot to post last week once play got underway. So before the 2010 U.S. Open buzz wears off...
Alister MacKenzie renovated the 8th green in 1926 as part of an audition for the greater overhaul that was handled by Chander Egan, Robert Hunter and Roger Lapham. Here is an early view of MacKenzie's green, with the 2010 US Open perspective showing two added bunkers. I'm not sure who added them, but something tells me it was Robert Trent Jones. And I think he made the right choice.
Tom Watson was pretty upfront about his dislike for the fairway contour on No. 11 and he was correct to question it.
And you've got to think about putting the ball in the fairway at 11. Before they had the fairway up the left side of 11 where it should be, now it's over to the right over here. That's where you would kind of normally hit it, now you're aiming too far to the right and you're still fanning it off to the right, now you're in worst position.
Some background: 11 is one of those holes always written off as ordinary and I believe set up properly. It's a wonderful example of an architect getting the most out of an awkward transition from the ideal portion of the property to the stretch of land that returns you to the clubhouse.
Its strategy is simple: Drive it left over the bunker and flirt with a small canyon fall off (sadly now bordered by cart path), and you open up the best angle to the green. Drive right and you must play over bunkers, which, after years of build up, make the approach quite difficult. By eliminating the left area of fairway, there is no real strategy.
However, after looking at the sparse left rough today and watching one player roll it up from there while a player in the middle of the fairway caught the bunker backslope and saw his ball take a horrible bounce to the back of the green, the best way to play the hole remains up the left side into the rough.
It's one of the rare instances I've seen Mike Davis take strategy out of the golf course. Thankfully he's injected so much into the rest of the layout that the occasional blip is no big deal.
Here's the view from the fairway, followed by the left rough view.
That's Chandler Egan teeing off No. 13 in 1929, and the modern view below. The green was by MacKenzie, circa 1926. Egan labeled the new fairway bunker "sandy badlands."
Another Chandler Egan green surrounded by dunes (above) and the modern version (below).
Do I need to say anything?