Pair of Iconic Greens at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Being Renovated

Pebble Beach Golf Links Hole 11
The 11th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links is being renovated. (Courtesy Pebble Beach Golf Links)

Work never ends at Pebble Beach Resorts. The famed golf destination along the Monterey (Calif.) peninsula, which recently opened The Hay short course designed by Tiger Woods, currently is renovating the 11th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links and the 14th green at Spyglass Hill.

The par-4, 11th hole on Pebble Beach Golf Links played 390 yards at the 2019 U.S. Open. The 14th hole at Spyglass Hill, known as ‘Long John Silver,’ plays to a par-5, 560 yards from the back tees.

“The scope of each project is different,” said John Sawin, VP and Director of Golf at Pebble Beach Resorts. “The work on No. 11 is pretty similar to what we did on No. 17 a few years ago in terms of a green being surrounded by bunkers. After 100 years of sand shots, the green size has shrunk by some 40 percent.”

That shrinkage was the main reason the hole location was within a six-foot diameter each day at the 2019 U.S. Open.

“That’s not what wanted, but it was the only useable hole location at those green speeds,” Sawin said. “So, we are taking it back to the original design intent and gently softening the pitch in the green.

“We’re not going to change the green’s characteristics (the 11th is one of the smaller greens on the course), but we can have a few more hole locations at today’s green speeds.”

Renovation work on the 14th green at Spyglass Hill, Sawin said, focuses on drainage and agronomics.

“We did a similar project on No. 17 two years ago,” Sawin said. “Each of those greens sit in a bowl where they are shaded by the winter light and trees.”

The original intent for renovation, Sawin said, basically, was to improve the drainage. But it didn’t take long for his agronomics team to find out it had a bigger challenge.

“Normally the greens mix profile is about 16 inches,” Sawin said. “We found 28 inches before we got to the drainage layer.

“No wonder the green was in trouble in the winter. What we think happened over time is, that in the 1970s and ‘80s, they didn’t know what we know today. They kept trying to rebuild the greens mix without actually stripping away what was there before. So, we ended up with double the profile.

“This will be a nice improvement. The green will play similar to the way it did before, we’ve just been able to improve the agronomics.”

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