U.S. Open week is here! The National Championship has headed west, to a storied course built on a jagged outcropping of Northern Californian coast that has been called "the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world." It seems that golf was always meant to be played here on the Monterey Peninsula. And Pebble Beach Golf Links is the perfect expression of that destiny.
Johnny Miller said that Pebble Beach Golf Links was "heaven-designed", while Bob Hope said, "Pebble Beach is Alcatraz with grass."
Both were right.
Pebble Beach is majestic, unspoiled, astonishing in its natural beauty – whether you play golf or not. From an architectural standpoint, Pebble is brilliant in its directness. Its challenges are all right in front of you. No tricks, no illusions, no unfair demands – a course that simply fits the rugged (and often intimidating) coastal landscape.
Perhaps no hole at Pebble Beach embodies this notion better than No. 7, a par-3 that will barely exceed 100 yards from the U.S. Open tees. However, the hole is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific and it plays significantly downhill, completely exposing the tee shot to the ever-changing winds. Depending on conditions, competitors could pull anything from lob wedge to 4-iron from their bags.
To escape No. 7 this week (and to maybe even card a birdie or two), players will need to control their trajectory. Wind speed increases with altitude, so the lower players can flight their shots on No. 7, the less their golf balls will be affected by the gusts off of Stillwater Cove.
For some advice on how players might do this, we reached out to Titleist staff member Layne Savoie, who shares some great keys that you can incorporate into your own game. Use Layne's technique if you get a chance to play No. 7 and anytime you need to hit low, wind-cheating wedge shots.
To learn more about Layne's teaching, visit WedgeCraft, a data collective he co-founded with Biomechanist Dr. Robert Neal, that studies the "art and science of wedge play". Check out their YouTube Channel, too!