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A recent reader asked us about one of America's most prestigious golf destinations, the Monterey Peninsula.
From Pebble Beach to Spyglass Hill Golf Course, the Links at Spanish Bay, Pasatiempo Golf Club and many more, the Monterey area is a top bucket-list destination, but there are also under-the-radar picks as well.
— Neil Hardman (@sicknotehardman) August 25, 2015
The answers could vary greatly depending upon: Where are you staying? How much are you willing to spend? How many times do you want to play? Do you have enough clout in the private club world to play at any of the Peninsula's glamorous private clubs?
Neil Hardman will be visiting from the United Kingdom, staying with a friend in Carmel-by-the-Sea, so that will make booking an advanced $495 tee time at Pebble Beach Golf Links impossible. Anybody can attempt to get a tee time 24 hours in advance (click here for details on how to get a Pebble Beach tee time), but with a foursome, that could be tough. You're more likely to be successful getting tee times on the Links at Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill without the mandatory stay-and-play at Pebble Beach Resorts.
The other must-see course is actually off the peninsula, Pasatiempo Golf Club, the legendary course by Dr. Alister MacKenzie in nearby Santa Cruz. It has recovered nicely from a brown-out last summer caused by the California drought.
The options from there vary. Since I'm a big fan of playing on the ocean, I'm booking Pacific Grove Golf Links, the short municipal course in the shadow of a lighthouse. A 36-hole day at Bayonet & Blackhorse, the old Fort Ord military courses in nearby Seaside, will deliver more ocean views as a backdrop.
Further inland, both Poppy Hills Golf Course, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that hosted the AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro Am for years, and Quail Lodge & Golf Club have spent millions of dollars renovating their courses since 2014. Quail Lodge re-opened in May with fantastic new fescue-lined bunkers to complement a fun routing and beautiful setting.
That's nine courses in seven days. I hope you're ready for a binge, Mr. Hardman. Check out Golf Advisor's Monterey Peninsula destination guide for reviews of all the courses in the area.