U.S. Open: At Pebble Beach, you can't help but smile when watching golf at seventh hole

David Dusek, Golfweek

U.S. Open: At Pebble Beach, you can't help but smile when watching golf at seventh hole

USGA

U.S. Open: At Pebble Beach, you can't help but smile when watching golf at seventh hole

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Picking a signature hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links is sort of like trying to pick the most beautiful car in the Ferrari dealership.

The 18th, with waves splashing along its left side in Stillwater Cove, is the best finishing hole in golf. Jack Nicklaus has said the greatest second shot in golf is over the gorge on the majestic eighth hole. They’re both stunners, but the seventh hole is like nothing else.

With golf courses being stretched and pulled to combat big hitters, the seventh, at 109 yards, is a downhill test of nerves.

It might also be the most beautiful hole in golf, with waves crashing on the rock outcrop to the right, wispy grasses bobbing in the breeze on the hillside and Carmel Bay and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in the distance. Seagulls and pelicans sail through the air above sailboats and luxury yachts anchored in the cove.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, hang out on the seventh at Pebble Beach for an hour and you’ll be cured.

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When the U.S. Open is held at Pebble Beach, as it is this week, the hill above the seventh green becomes a destination for mobs of golf lovers because it is one of the few places on the course where you can see action on more than one hole. Fans can see the sixth green, the seventh hole and the tee shot on the eighth.

Terry Quinn, 43, is originally from Sacramento, but now lives in Seattle. When he saw Phil Mickelson win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February and heard during the broadcast that the U.S. Open was coming to Pebble Beach in June, he called his dad and learned that he already had two tickets. After driving to the course on Thursday morning from Palo Alto,  father and son beelined to the seventh hole.

“It’s just an amazing spot,” Quinn said, smiling. Everyone smiles on the seventh hole.

The seventh hole at Pebbe Beach Golf Links might be the most beautiful hole in golf. (David Dusek/ Golfweek)

Jamie Jureszek, 57, travels to Monterey frequently on vacations from his home country of Brazil. He attended the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and was happy to be back on Thursday morning.

“Jack Nicklaus said that if he could only play one more round of golf, he’d do it here,” said the 20-handicap player with a smile. “And this hole is very special.”

While they are both iconic venues, the vibe at the Pebble Beach’s seventh hole is very different than Amen Corner, which is comprised of the 11th green, 12th hole and tee shot on the 13th hole at Augusta National.

Fans power walk from the gate to the 12th tee as soon as the gates open at the Masters. They set down green chairs, mingle and chat about golf while they wait for players to come.

At the seventh there is a view of Carmel Bay and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in the distance. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

The slopey hillside at Pebble Beach is not conducive to that. The fans also arrive later. On Thursday, when the first group reached the seventh tee at 8:14 a.m., there were plenty of seats in the grandstand. Only a scattering of spectators saw Carlos Ortiz punch a wedge shot past the middle-right hole location to set up an 11-foot birdie putt.

However, by 9:35 a.m., when Bubba Watson arrived, the grandstand was packed, and a line 50-people deep had formed to get seats in case anyone left. Fans were packed along the rope line behind the sixth green, craning their necks to get a peek at the seventh green.

Unfortunately, the 2,500-square-foot area to the right of the sixth green and next to the seventh tee, which could have helped lots of fans, was empty all morning. That spot was reserved for people with VIP tickets, and it was off-limits to others. There is no seating area like that at Augusta National.

Regardless, the seventh hole is the perfect place to watch golf, take in the majesty of Pebble Beach and be a fan.

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