Expensive? Sure, but at least Pebble Beach, at $495 per round, is easier to play than Augusta National. (Chris Condon/Getty Images) The 24-room Casa Palmero provides the most intimate and luxurious accommodations at Pebble Beach. (Courtesy of Pebble Beach Resorts) The view from behind the Lodge at Pebble Beach never disappoints. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor) The newest lodging option at Pebble Beach: Fairway One, along the first fairway of the Pebble Beach course. (Courtesy of Pebble Beach)

How you can play Pebble Beach Golf Links

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- There are three courses every avid golfer should have on their bucket list: Augusta National, the Old Course at St. Andrews and Pebble Beach Golf Links.

These are the most recognized, iconic venues in the world. We know all the holes, they have great history and, in the case of Pebble Beach, it's located on one of the most spectacular landscapes and seascapes in the world.

The best part is that Pebble Beach -- as well as St. Andrews -- is accessible by anyone. You just have to have the money. Augusta National? Good luck.

Of course, many say Pebble Beach, which play host to the U.S. Open for a sixth time in 2019, might as well be inaccessible as expensive as it is to play.

Which is why I'm going to break it down for you: It doesn't necessarily have to cost thousands of dollars to play Pebble, and you might be surprised to learn that the Pebble Beach green fee really isn't all that much higher than the Old Course (about $275 with a caddie), especially when you consider that you have to cross the pond (for our North American readers) or even courses like The Players Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass ($450 during peak season).

Pebble Beach green fee: $495-$525

Yes, the green fee for Pebble is $495, which it's been for the better part of the last decade, and it does go up to $525 during peak season, which starts April 1. There was a time, of course, that it was quite affordable. Back in the '70s, you could play it for less than $100, but that was then.

Of course, the caveat is that the five-bill green fee is just the beginning. There's a requirement that you stay two nights at one of the Pebble Beach properties to get on Pebble Beach if you book it in advance of two days or more. But what many don't know is that you can book a tee time a day out without staying at Pebble Beach.

There's risk to that strategy, of course. If you're planning a trip to Pebble Beach and don't book in advance, you could get there and not be able to get a tee time. But if you're a single, and there are no events the following day, chances are pretty good you're going to get on. If you have a foursome, it's a little more dicey but not impossible.

Your strategy, believe it or not, might be to look toward some holidays. The guys in the golf shop tell me that holidays are usually more open than non-holidays. One of the reasons may be that people assume that's a bad time to come to Pebble Beach. Another reason is that people tend to do non-golf stuff -- family gatherings, for example -- on holidays, which opens up the tee sheet. Plus, it's less likely that Pebble Beach Golf Links would stage tournaments or events on those days.

Video: Matt Ginella's tips on how to play Pebble Beach

To be safe, book the complete Pebble Beach experience

Of course, if money is no object, I like the stay-and-play options. Spend the money, stay at the resort and play a couple more courses. Spyglass Hill is one of my favorites in the world, so that makes a great 1-2 punch. Add in the Links at Spanish Bay and the new Poppy Hills Golf Course, and you've really got something.

There are four options for staying at Pebble Beach -- the Lodge at Pebble Beach, the Inn at Spanish Bay, Casa Palmero, and the Fairway One Guest Rooms and Cottages.

Fairway One is the newest of the lodging options at Pebble Beach. Located along the first fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links, it features large guest rooms as well as the Palmer and Eastwood cottages. Prices start at $971, excluding taxes and resort fees, for a Garden View room. The cost escalates up to $6,940 for the aforementioned four-bedroom cottages per night.

The most opulent option is Casa Palmero, which is former mansion acquired by the Pebble Beach Co., in 1994. At $975 per night, Casa Palmero is an intimate, Mediterranean-style estate that features 24 private rooms and suites, each with wood-burning fireplaces, over-sized tubs and mostly king beds. Overlooking the first and second fairways of Pebble Beach Golf Links, Casa Palmero is just a few steps away from The Spa at Pebble Beach.

The next level is the Lodge, starting at $840 per night for a Garden View up to $4,230 per night for the two-bedroom Sloat Suite, and those digs, located along the 18th hole, are pretty special, too. Or you can stay at the relatively economical Inn at Spanish Bay starting sy $720 per night for a Garden View room.

Currently, the resort is offering three nights at the Lodge at Pebble Beach with a round each on Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill and the Links at Spanish Bay, starting at just under $4,000. It's a lot of money for most folks, to be sure, but it's definitely a bucket list experience.

But you might want to try a tour operator or agent as well. They don't get discounted tee times at Pebble, but apparently they work deals on the hotel rooms. They can often save you some money on packages that include multiple courses.

For example, I saw one that offered a four-night package with the above courses, plus Del Monte for less than $2,800. These deals change all the time, so your best bet is to look often.

As for booking your own reservations, call Pebble Beach at (866) 249-6232, even if you're just booking a round at Pebble beach a day out.

Editor's note: This story was updated on Feb. 1, 2018

Feb 01, 2018

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Walter's avatar
Walter wrote at 2018-06-04 05:05:50+00:00:

Don't know what the conditions below were at Spy for the commenter here, but we just played it on Friday and conditions were exquisite. Better conditions, than Pebble, but of course, not the views. A better golf course in our 4 some's opinion, though..

pmerlet's avatar
pmerlet wrote at 2018-04-23 01:35:39+00:00:

Good information except on Spyglass Hill. I honeymooned in carmel a few years back and paid $500 to play Spyglass. Ive never been so disappointed. They'll tell you the course is on the ocean but really just the first few holes are. Add to that the course is really short including all four par 3's under 120 yards. Also, because of the drought, the fairways were part brown, part green, part dirt. I felt like they should be charging no more than $75 for such an experience.

carl.loud@hotmail.com's avatar
carl.loud@hotmail.com wrote at 2018-02-09 21:59:34+00:00:

Played Pebble Beach on June 6th, 1976. The green fee was a flat $100.00. Of course that was equal to $444.19 in today's dollars taking into account for inflation. So, the green fee is appropriate for the present time. BTW shot 76 with no lost balls. Except for the one I purposely hit into the Pacific from the 18th tee box.

Steven lee's avatar
Steven lee wrote at 2018-02-06 14:09:39+00:00:

Thank you for good information

hholtkamp's avatar
hholtkamp wrote at 2015-03-06 15:34:39+00:00:

Mike, can you recommend a tour operator that offers the $1700 deal mentioned in your article?

Gerry Evans's avatar
Gerry Evans wrote at 2018-02-09 00:14:47+00:00:

Yes I'd like to know that too

MikeBaileyGA's avatar
MikeBaileyGA Staff wrote at 2018-02-13 14:31:05+00:00:

The $1,700 deal referred to was from three years ago and no longer available. At the time of publication in the updated story, Golfzoo was offering a package for around $2,800.

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Mike Bailey

Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trio to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.