Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Shane Bacon take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @shanebacon.
Today we discuss the par-3 seventh hole at Pebble Beach, a hole with not much distance but plenty of history, beauty and everything else you'd ever want in an ocean hole. People shell over hundreds of dollars to stand on this tee, but is it the best hole in the world? We discuss ...
Bacon: The PGA Tour travels to Pebble Beach this week, and with that, gets the honor of playing the majestic, the beautiful, the fun, and the (sometimes) scary seventh hole. I'm lucky because I've actually played this hole (that's actually me, first on the left at the bottom of the green), and I'll tell you, it's incredible, but is it the best in the world? I'd have to say no, just because I haven't stood on some of the gems that I hope to get in before I pass this world by. Is it better than 16 at Cypress Point? Probably not. Can it compete with the 12th at Augusta National? For pure beauty, probably, but for goosebumps, I'd say it's iffy. I'd even toss out holes like the 15th at Kingsbarns or the 10th at Turnberry, but it is hard to compare the feeling of standing on the seventh, with the ocean crashing against the rocks and the green guarded by some penalizing bunkers.
Busbee: For sheer iconic value, I have to say yes, the seventh is indeed the most famous. You could make an argument for the 17th at Sawgrass, but if you did, I'd get you crayons and a kids' menu, because it's a gimmick. So let's shift the conversation a bit: What, to you, makes a hole worthy of entering this conversation?
Bacon: Is it strange that for most famous holes, I wouldn't even say the seventh was the most famous at Pebble Beach? I think more non-golfers could associate with the 18th than the seventh.
But, to answer your point, I think you need to be three things: a landmark golf hole at a top-10 golf course in the world, a place we see yearly (or once every few years at a major, like the 18th at St. Andrews), and a hole that has some identifiable history at it that a golfer can relate to without much information (like the Fred Couples shot on 12 at Augusta).
I'd say the seventh, like 12 at Augusta, 18 at St. Andrews and 16 at Cypress Point, are places that are burned in our minds as golf fans. No matter if you have a photographic memory, you can close your eyes and picture these spots, especially if you've been lucky to play them (I can see each shot I hit on this hole, just like I can with each time I have played 18 at St. Andrews).
Busbee: I own No. 7 on the Tiger Woods video game, does that count? Backspin + ocean wind mastery for the ace!
There aren't many holes that every golfer can see for an instant and call up a dozen stories and memories. Those you can, though, are what bring you back no matter who's playing.
Now your thoughts ... is there a better hole in golf than the seventh at Pebble? Would you pick it over the rest? Give us your insight, and stories of famous holes you've played ...
- Pebble Beach