The 2010 U.S. Open begins Thursday. In anticipation of the start, I have put together a list of the 10 toughest holes at Pebble Beach.
One of the most beautiful and well-known holes in golf, the par five closing hole at Pebble Beach plays about 545 yards with the Pacific Ocean landscaping the left side of the fairway.
While the 18th may be fairly easy to par, it is much more challenging to birdie. For a player to really go for it off the tee, they must thread the needle between the ocean and trees in the center of the fairway. The approach shot is also tough as the green is surrounded by a deep bunker and pine trees that force the player to attack from the left side, putting the ocean into play.
A relatively easy looking par four at 445 yards, the 13th at Pebble Beach plays a lot more difficult than it looks. With an uphill approach, an extra club is required.
This hole also has one of the most challenging greens on the course as it is the most sloped and quickest.
The 580-yard 14th at Pebble Beach is often referred to as the most challenging par five on the PGA Tour. The dogleg brings large bunkers into play for big hitters trying to reach the green in two.
Another challenging green makes approach shots difficult from any distance. The elevated green is protected by a deep bunker to the front and shaved to the left making chips a nightmare as they will either roll back to the player or sail off the other side of the green.
Another severe dogleg, the par four 3rd hole at Pebble Beach plays extremely long due to a second shot directly into the Pacific winds.
Deep bunkers on both sides of the green make the approach shot into the strong Pacific wind very challenging. Big hitters will play their tee shot over the trees to shorten the hole, but it’s not an easy feat.
The 16th hole at Pebble Beach serves up a slight dogleg right with plenty of danger for those who try to shorten the hole with a driver.
A drive could put you through the dogleg and into the deep rough, or leave you with a downhill or side-hill lie that makes the approach extremely difficult. Miss right and you face deep rough or two small bunkers. The smart play is a fairway wood or long iron over the island bunker in the middle of the fairway.
The 109-yard par three on paper sounds like a dream even for the everyday golfer, but the 7th at Pebble Beach is far from a dream hole.
One of the course’s signature holes, the 7th can be a nightmare depending on the wind. Players will play anything from a lob wedge to a 6-iron, but regardless, must be precise as the green is surrounded by a series of bunkers.
Normally a par five, the 505-yard 2nd at Pebble Beach is converted to a par four for the U.S. Open. Long hitters off the tee can go for the green in two, but the wiser and more common play is to layup in front of the deep bunker about 100 yards in front of the green and take an easy wedge approach.
The narrow green is book ended by a bunker to the left and right. Go into the right bunker and you’re in for a long day.
Another par three exposed to the Pacific wind, the 5th at Pebble Beach makes club selection difficult. A small bunker at the front of the green makes precision a must. The safe play is to the left center of the green, but pin placements to the right can entice bad decisions.
The wide open 17th is completely driven by pin placement. A long, 208-yard par three playing typically directly into the Pacific wind, this hole offers challenges as the green is protected by a massive bunker to the front and a smaller to the back.
Definitely the most difficult hole on the course, the 502-yard par five 9th hole at Pebble Beach is not for the timid. Normally a par four at 462 yards, the hole is lengthened by 40 yards for the U.S. Open.
Aggressive play is the key to this long hole running along the ocean. Second shots typically come with a side-hill lie, adding difficulty as the player must go for the green over a deep, bunkered gully left and short of the green.