As golf fans, we’ve seen thousands of televised shots hit by professional golfers at Pebble Beach. Just not by professional women. The 2023 U.S. Women’s Open highlights a new era of venues for the most prestigious women’s major championship, one in which the host sites are as regarded as the men’s venues. Pebble Beach is the most famous American golf course this side of Augusta National, and it’s beyond exciting that we finally get to see the likes of Jin Young Ko, Nelly Korda, Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, and others play the storied venue.
What makes the first women’s major championship at Pebble Beach so exciting is the opportunity to watch a completely different style of golf on a course we’ve seen many times before. With that history in mind, there are several shots that will be intriguing to compare with previous men’s events at the course. Here are a few I’m particularly keen to see this weekend:
Tee shot on No. 3 – Anyone who has played Pebble Beach in a video game knows just how bizarre this tee shot can play. The third fairway nearly runs perpendicular to the line off the tee box and trees block the entire left side of the hole. The USGA lists this hole at 384 yards for the U.S. Women’s Open, putting them just one or two tee boxes in front of where the men play the hole. But unlike many of the men, most of the women won’t be able to send driver or three wood up and over the trees left of the teeing ground and still be able to reach the fairway. Instead, many will play out right and have a longer approach shot than we’re used to seeing into this shortish par 4. Those who can go up and over the treetops will receive a significant advantage.
Second shot on No. 6 – The shot that I, and many others, are most excited to watch this week is the daunting approach up the cliff on the par-5 sixth. Most men at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and U.S. Open nonchalantly blast long iron or a fairway wood up around the green on this hole, making the hill seem irrelevant. It won’t be this week. This is one of the best holes in the world because of the intimidation factor of the second shot. Those with lower ball flights need to hit great shots to get up this hill, let alone reach the green in two.
All shots on Nos. 9 & 10 – As Garrett Morrison talked about on this week’s Fried Egg Podcast, these holes might perfectly represent the difference between the men’s and women’s approach to Pebble Beach. PGA Tour players are content to bash driver away from the cliff, flirt with the rough, and hit a more lofted club in rather than play the aggressive line down the right. Players at the U.S. Women’s Open likely won’t have that luxury. Tee shots that stay left will have a bad angle with the ball below their feet and very little room with which they can land the ball on the green. Those who play towards the center or right of the fairway will face flatter lies and a more direct line at the green, a welcome sight for someone looking to bounce the ball into the putting surface.
Tee shot on No. 17 – Listed around 175 yards on the U.S. Women’s Open website, this hole has a chance to play extremely long as the prevailing wind will be into the players. That will leave many of them with long irons or fairway metals into this extremely narrow green. It’s a tough enough hole to hold with a high lofted shot so watching the best women in the world come in with lower angles of descent will be something to keep an eye on.
For an in-depth preview, check out our YouTube video: