If you want to know why golf struggles to grow the game all you have to do is read this article.
If you can't figure that out there is no room for discussion.
Saying that a $550 round is worth it is an indication that the game is only intended for the 1%. I suspect that this is what Mr Culp was getting at. As an avid golfer who is not in the 1%, I went to Pebble but only to look as there are plenty of good courses that don't reach triple digits.
Private courses like Pebble's neighbor Cypress Point are more of an indication that golf is for the 1%. Non-one-percenters save up their whole lives to celebrate with a priceless experience. For some, it's a trip to Italy, or an Alaskan cruise, or front row Springsteen tickets. For a lot of golfers it's a round at Pebble.
Pebble Beach > Pacific DunesPebble could win on history alone. Pebble is in perfect condition everywhere, Pacific Dunes feels like they struggle to maintain so many courses without the required staff (inconsistent greens). I've taken pictures of the perfect fairway grass at Pebble before, never been tempted to do that at Bandon. Scenery, Pebble takes it, you really can't beat #7, #8, #17, #18. Pebble distracts you frequently with the scenery, you get sprayed by the surf, you can hit off the beach, you wear out your camera because of the views and photo ops. Pacific Dunes is nice but not as spectacular. Weather is better at Pebble. Surrounding area (Carmel, 17 Mile Drive, Big Sur, Point Lobos, Monterey) is better at Pebble. So what if Pebble is 2x-4x the cost of Bandon, I'm thrilled to be able to play Pebble Beach at any price for special occasions.
I have played both Pebble and Pacific Dunes and for me there is no question which is better. Pacific Dunes all the way. My caddy at Pebble Beach was the best caddy I've ever had. I will never forget him telling me (I'm from Ohio) "Just look at the scenery. Pebble charges what they do because of the location. If you could pull this course up and put it in Ohio, it would be a $35 muni." 'Nuff said. Pacific is wild, gorgeous and all the golf course you could possibly want.
It's no contest. Pacific Dunes is a far better course. At Pebble Beach all the holes away from the cliff line, and this is the majority of holes, are average, to say the least.
great looking course, but no way would I pay $500 to play
The cost is outrageous ! I would love to play before I die, but not have to pay over $1000 for astay & play. That's ridiculous ! I guess they only want the rich and famous to play there.
I played Pebble back in 2006. I paid $500 and it was worth EVERY PENNY. Once in a lifetime experience.
I guess is Pebble worth it might be answered by how much you value scenery, golf and history. For just pure golf I would take Pacific Dunes. While the Oregon coast certainly has it's appeal it does not match what you have at Pebble. History is obvious. I prefer the isolation and solitude at Pacific. I also prefer the links experience. Coupled with the three other courses on site the Bandon Dunes Resort in my opinion is the pinnacle of golf in the US. It does not have the "sex" appeal or cache of the Monterrey just golf.
Played Pebble in Oct 98 w/original 5th hole. Couldn't afford staying at the Lodge so couldn't get tee time until 24 hours in advance. Got 1:50 PM tee time, it took over 6 hours to finish (on 7th, one group on green, two others ahead of us on the tee). Played 17th & 18th with nothing but a full moon (sun was long gone). I'm happy to say I have played Pebble, but I had much more fun the next day at Spanish Bay with an 8 AM tee time.
I played it 11 years ago. You are correct that the first tee is not what you would expect. But when you curve around the bend, the entire course opens up and I can't describe seeing it with your own eyes. If you have watched on TV, you have to see it in person. No comparison, worth every dime.