Located on then Monterrey Peninsula and part of the Pebble Beach Resort, Spanish Bay is a links style course that offers a unique location and expansive views of then Pacific Ocean. While Pebble Beach and Spyglass tend to receive the accolades and love from most visitors, Spanish Bay is fun course in its own right.
The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Tom Watson, and Sandy Tatum. It features a couple of the Robert Trent Jones signatures. Large greens and runoffs are prevalent throughout the course. The fairways are relatively large, however should you miss your tee shot, dunes and ice plants lay in wait. Typically a ball can be played from those sandy areas, however every so often a ball can be lost. The course is situated on prime real estate, even for Pebble Beach. The view of the Pacific is present on nearly every hole, and while the ocean never comes into play as a hazard, the wind coming off it can make for a very challenging day.
I very much enjoyed the set of par threes at Spanish Bay. The fourth hole is set within the dunes and heads back towards the inn. The green is nestled away and the setting is very peaceful. The shot requires a mid iron and the green is tricky. A par is a great score. The eighth hole is a unique par three. There is a small pond just short of this island style green. The hole plays on the furthest tip of Spanish Bay and thus is very exposed. The green is big, but has some severe slopes that makes two putting difficult. The thirteenth is as tricky as they come. No more than a 9 iron for most players, this small green must be hit. If you can find the green, you will have a short birdie putt. If you miss the green, you will struggle for par. The sixteenth is a tough 200 yard par three that totally depends on the direction of the wind. It can play anywhere from a mid iron to a three wood. There is room to bail out, but not much. A great finishing par three that has the ocean nearby on the left.
The design of Spanish Bay has received some criticism over the years. Some have said that it is not on par with Spyglass and Pebble. I suppose that I would agree that it is definitely a different design and feel from those other two. It also certainly isn’t a true links course given its routing and layout. However, in my opinion, it feels very natural. A couple of the holes feel “squeezed in” with some sharp doglegs, but other than a few isolated spots, I really enjoy the course. I do not think that Spanish Bay is designed to be similar to Pebble and Spyglass. It is its own course and I would recommend it. The views alone are worth it.
The Inn at Spanish Bay is also a very cool scene. Looking over the golf course and out to the ocean, the hotel and clubhouse have some of the best views in golf. As the sun sets out to the west, a bagpiper begins to play. It is a unique and special place that I highly recommend.
As with everything at Pebble, the tab for a day at Spanish Bay will be steep. Typically rates run about $250 for a round. If taking a caddy, plan to add about $100.