PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Apologies are in order.
By creating a "Dream 18" collection of the best holes at Pebble Beach Resorts, I had to ignore some world-class holes on the Monterey Peninsula.
I left off two holes at Pebble Beach that follow the rocky cliffs above Monterey Bay -- the par-4 fourth and par-3 fifth -- and a handful of holes on Spanish Bay with spectacular views of the water. Several inland holes I passed over on Spyglass Hill rank among the toughest on the PGA Tour every year. Del Monte, the oldest continuously operated course west of the Mississippi River, also had a couple other solid candidates.
The holes that made the cut would, no doubt, combine to be the greatest course in the world. Pebble Beach's run of coastal holes -- no. 6 through no. 11 -- are simply majestic. The finishing holes, the par-3 17th and par-5 18th, have delivered so much history in five U.S. Opens and countless PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions events. Pebble Beach will host the U.S. Amateur in 2018 and the U.S. Open in 2019, its centennial year.
The opening five holes of Spyglass Hill might be the best starting stretch in golf. Once the par-5 first hole sweeps left, the dunes of gnarly ice plants and views take over on the Robert Trent Jones Sr. design.
Picking the best of the Spanish Bay was tough. The linksy course features a pair of short, tricky par 3s that are buffeted by winds -- the 158-yard eighth and 126-yard 13th holes -- and plenty of interesting features, such as three pot bunkers in the middle of the fifth fairway and a wild, semi-blind ninth green hidden behind mounding.
I guess the point is this: Golfers who visit Pebble Beach Resorts should play all 72 holes. There's great variety and beauty at every turn of the fairway.