Links at Spanish Bay, The

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4.2
11
5 Stars
9
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
3.9
Value
3.4
Layout
4.5
Friendliness
5.0
Pace
4.7
Amenities
4.6
80.4%
Recommend this course
10 out of 11 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
3.0
2
5 Stars
0
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
3.0
Value
2.0
Layout
4.0
Pace
4.5
Amenities
4.5
StaffFriendliness
5.0
50.0%
Recommend this course
1 out of 2 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
3.7
3
5 Stars
1
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
3.7
Value
3.0
Layout
4.3
Pace
4.7
Amenities
4.3
StaffFriendliness
5.0
66.7%
Recommend this course
2 out of 3 reviews
Read Reviews

About

Holes 18
Par 72
Length 6821
Slope 140
Rating 74.0
Type Resort
Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Tom Watson and Frank "Sandy" Tatum, The Links at Spanish Bay is America's foremost Scottish-style linksland course; even the rugged Monterey coastline mirrors the natural beauty of Scotland. From the rolling fairways, white sand dunes and gusting winds to the plaintive strains of the bagpipe that signals the end of each day's play, The Links at Spanish Bay is an elegant, challenging journey into golf's beginnings.
Tee Par Length Rating Slope
Blue 72 6821 yards 74.0 140
Gold 72 6422 yards 72.1 136
White 72 6043 yards 70.4 128
Red (W) 72 5332 yards 72.7 128
Scorecard for Spanish Bay
Metrics:
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Blue M: 74.2/142 500 307 405 190 451 400 418 158 394 3223 520 365 432 126 576 390 200 414 574 3597 6820
Gold M: 72.1/136 495 300 340 176 441 390 412 152 367 3073 477 353 421 119 546 372 191 376 524 3379 6452
White M: 70.1/131 461 265 334 160 385 345 382 148 357 2837 467 318 406 99 541 342 157 368 510 3208 6045
Red W: 72.1/129 434 224 285 127 342 306 341 127 328 2514 401 285 341 76 475 296 129 321 476 2800 5314
Handicap 9 13 5 15 1 11 3 17 7 8 14 6 18 2 12 16 4 10
Par 5 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4 35 5 4 4 3 5 4 3 4 5 37 72
Handicap (W) 5 13 11 15 3 9 1 17 7 10 14 4 18 2 12 16 8 6

Course Details

Year Built 1987
Fairways Poa Annua Grass
Greens Poa Annua Grass
Golf Season Year round
Architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (1987) Sandy Tatum (1987) Tom Watson (1987)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes
Clubs Yes
GPS Yes
Pull-carts No

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes
Caddies Yes
Golf School Academy Yes - "Pebble Beach Golf Academy"
Teaching Pro Yes
Pitching/Chipping Area Yes
Putting Green Yes

Policies

Credit Cards Accepted VISA, MasterCard, Amex, Discover Welcomed
Metal Spikes Allowed No
Walking Allowed Yes

Best of Lists

  • Golf Advisor: Top 25 Friendliest Courses in the U.S. (2017 #9)
  • Golf Advisor: Top 25 Off-course amenities in the U.S. (2017 #3)

Reviews

4.2
11

What Golfers Are Saying

The 19th Hole is Great For:
19th Hole Scenic Views 4
Drinks 4
Amazing Food 3
Course Challenges Include:
Bunkers 3
Forced Carries 3
Undulating Greens 3
This course/club is great for:
Wildlife/ Scenic Views 4
A Bucket list/Top 100 Pick 3
Advanced Golfers 3
This Course's Location is:
At a Resort 3
Advanced Filters
Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Handicap 20-24
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
2.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

great course, bad grass

Took my Dad for his 80th b-day. Loved the course, layout and staff, but feel ripped off by the course conditions.

The fairways had very little grass. I hit many fairways yet had to move my ball many times to find grass to hit my approach from. See bare spots in picture attached. This fairway was one of the better ones. Equally obnoxious was that half the greens had been pinned and top dressed with sand. They still rolled ok but looked like my local muni in the spring time.

I booked my tee time the day of, but was told about neither the greens nor the fairways. I leaned about the greens on the first tee. The starter said we wouldn't even notice the pinning. Umm, we noticed.

I played poppy hills two days later. Poppy was much less expensive and in perfect shape. I told one of their staff about the Spanish Bay conditions and he speculated that the Pebble consortium has been diverting water from Spanish Bay to Spyglass and Pebble due to drought. That's fine, but it is clearly not OK to charge full price when you know your course is in a compromised state. The Pebble trio used to be on my bucket list. Not any more.

Conditions Fair
Value Poor
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Windy weather
Used cart

Gorgeous Course, but Not One of My Favorites

First, it was very windy and chilly the day we played. It is already a tough course and played much harder under the conditions. Played as part of the 4th of July Stay and Play package they were running.

Front 9 was a blast. The Back 9 is the same hole repeated. AND they are redoing the grass around the 17th and 18th greens so within 20 yards of the greens, they were unplayable. And at the Pebble pricepoint, that is lame.

The scenery could not be any more beautiful, though. Great staff, EXCELLENT food.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
San Francisco Advisor
Top 50 Contributor
Previously Played

Great Golf w/ Scenic Views

Went out with some friends to enjoy a nice winter day on a nice course. Course conditions are excellent right now with perfect greens that roll at a medium fast pace but are soft and hold approach shots. Sand traps and fairways are great as well but the tee boxes stole the show. It was like teeing up on perfectly flat smooth carpet.

We walked the course and there are a couple of long transfers between a few of the holes. Hand carts are allowed but you have to provide your own. Remember, the course is cart path only.

Being right on top of the ocean for most of the course you have spectacular scenic views of the surrounding Pacific Ocean and across the bay to Santa Cruz. In fact only three holes don't have views of the ocean.

Customer service is top notch. For some reason customer service is better here than Pebble Beach. At Pebble you get the sense that they HAVE to treat you well (and darn right they do for that price) but at Spanish Bay you get the feeling that they WANT to treat you well.

Spanish Bay also has the best clubhouse of the three. Spyglass is purely about the golf. It has an old building that seems like an afterthought more than anything else. Pebble has fantastic amenities, but you have to share them with every tourist who just came off the bus.

Spanish Bay has separated their facility so the non golfing tourists are over at the hotel 500 yards away, yet it has a fantastic restaurant / bar with outdoor seating overlooking the ocean and first hole just for the golfers.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Birmingham Advisor
Top 10 Contributor
First Time Playing
Windy weather
Used cart

Spanish Bay vastly underrated

Spanish Bay's more famous sister courses up the 17-Mile Drive receive more attention, but I found this to be perhaps the most fun to play of the three. Pebble has the history. Spyglass has the teeth. Spanish Bay offers a wealth of strategic plays, wind-judging club choices and tricky green complexes.

Though many courses in the U.S. bill themselves as "links golf," Spyglass offers a true authentic links experience. The turf, wind, proximity to the ocean and variety of shot-making ability solidifies this.

I thoroughly enjoy any course that does not blindly require players to pull driver off virtually every non-par 3 tee. Spanish Bay is certainly a great example. I hit a bevy of 4- and 5-irons off the tee and remarkably two 8-irons! This was critical to not only being in the right spots off the tee, but to avoiding the many environmentally-sensitive areas that are predominate throughout the layout. If your ball finds one of these areas, you must drop and not try to retrieve it.

A few greens featured dramatic complexes, but I found the majority of the greens to offer more subtle breaks. You must be aware of where the Pacific Ocean is in relation to your ball on virtually every putt.

Bump-and-run chip shots will be a valuable skill here. Closely mown areas make this a good option, while thicker rough does collar the borders of greens. Your bunker game will be put to the test as well.

Perhaps my favorite feature of Spanish Bay is the post-round experience. There is a fantastic 19th hole that offers outdoor seating with fire pits that lie alongside the first tee and provide remarkable views of the first hole and Pacific Ocean. At 5:45 pm a bagpiper closes out the day beginning on the first tee, and walks the first fairway toward the Inn. It is a fantastic, goosebumps-raising experience not to be missed.

Bottom line: Taking into consideration that I've played Chambers Bay, but have yet to visit Bandon Dunes or Whistling Straits, Spanish Bay and Kiawah's Ocean Course offer the best American links golf experiences that I have encountered thus far, and is highly underrated in my opinion.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

WOW

This course is beyond amazing. The layout is great and the scenery is just incredible. The conditions are great and the course is absolutely FLAWLESS. Definitely a must-play.

Conditions Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
Previously Played
Average weather
Used cart

Mixed reviews of Spanish Bay

I got an interesting perspective after my latest round playing Spanish Bay. Most of the golfers competing in the tournament I was a part of were high-handicappers. The wind and the target-style golf of Spanish Bay pummeled them relentlessly. A handful of players lost more than 10 balls; a few more than 20.

Obviously, most of the time Spanish Bay caters to diehard golfers on their bucket-list golf trip. In this case, these high-handicappers showed just how penal and unforgiving the course can be, even from the white tees we were playing. Almost every shot off line will be swallowed by dunes or trees on the higher holes of the back nine. The wetlands that you must carry will catch even the most talented players.

So, in summary, some members of the group thought it was the best golf course they have ever played after falling in love with the scenery. A smaller faction thought it was too difficult. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle where I sit. I appreciate Spanish Bay for its beauty and unique coastal setting, but I also have a few qualms about its design and the strategy of certain holes. But would I turn down another chance to play it? Never. I just hope next time it's in the morning before the wind kicks up.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
Previously Played
Fair weather
Used cart

Even in the wind, Spanish Bay is a trea

Some nice elements of links golf come to life at Spanish Bay - spectacular ocean views, natural dunes and firm-and-fast conditions. But it's easy to see why golfers sometimes come off the course grumbling. When the wind picks up or the weather gets gnarly - which happens on the Monterey Peninsula - it's a ball-gobbling and scorecard-trashing menace. That doesn't mean it can't be fun. I had a blast playing in a ferocious afternoon wind. My threesome just came to grips with the fact that scores would soar like a balloon. It's a target test of golf, which isn't the norm for a true links. Wetlands and environmental areas force an aerial game and precise shot-making on holes 8, 12, 13, 15, 17 and 18. Wild, unnatural slopes make putting a challenge even in purest sunshine. The best way to enjoy Spanish Bay is to put aside the comparisons to Pebble Beach or Spyglass Hill and don't fret about your game. Just look around and breathe in the fresh air. It's got some of the greatest sights and sounds in golf. Between the crashing surf, rocky coastline, scraggly dunes and twisted trees and hearing the bagpipes at dusk, Spanish Bay sells a great experience at nearly 50 percent off the cost of a round at Pebble Beach.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Chris Condon
Whether you’re in the spectator gallery or lining up your ball on the tee, your round of golf, golf vacation or outing at a TPC will be unforgettable...
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Excellent weather
Used cart

beautiful ocean course

Cannot describe the beauty of the course, most of the holes were along the ocean. Spectacular condition on fairway, green. Staff was very nice and food was excellent. Would replay this course the next time I am in Monterey

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

More perfection on Monterey Peninsula

To be honest, the green fee of $270 is quite steep, and somehow it's still only around half the price of pebble beach. If pebble and spyglass are out of reach, the Links at Spanish Bay is the best 3rd option possible! I can only wonder how spyglass and pebble are possibly better, but I do not regret playing Spanish for a second. The way the rolling grass blends into the sand dunes is already beautiful, then tack on the views, the course conditions, and the difficult yet playable aspects of this track and it's a head-scratcher why they do not host a PGA Tour event here. There isn't much room between the fairways and natural dunes and the course is a little short for tour standards, but it is still a gem. The entire course is full of signature holes, especially the start of the front and the entire back. I took about 30 pictures on my phone, but when I tried showing them to my family and friends, the pictures just could not give the course justice. Now if you can actually focus on golf, the course features pristine fairways, tight fringes, great bunkers, and the best greens you could possibly find. The greens were very quick and extremely undulating (more than Kapalua Plantation from personal experience), but they rolled so well that I felt I could make anything (I actually rolled in a 70 footer and several 10-30 footers). The staff was very helpful and our caddie, Steve, knew the layout like the back of his hand and he was a very sociable guy. We all know the hype surrounding pebble beach and spyglass hill, but the links at Spanish Bay are definitely worth a go for any golfer!

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Excellent weather

Hidden Gem of the Monterey Peninsula

Everybody knows about Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. I recently played all three. While Pebble is unforgettable and Spyglass is the toughest course of the three, Spanish Bay was perhaps the most enjoyable overall round. The course has a beautiful links layout that winds through the dunes. It is challenging but accessible. The greens have amazing contours. Good luck if you hit it on the wrong level. Pace of play is great because many fewer people play than at Spyglass and Pebble. I would highly recommend it to anybody coming to Monterey. Paying for a caddie is well worth the price because your round will be more enjoyable.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
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