Bobby Clampett is our resident expert on Pebble Beach Golf Links. A native of Monterey, Calif., Clampett attended high school in Pebble Beach and also won two California State Amateurs on the historic links course, host site of this year’s U.S. Open Championship. He also finished in a T-3rd at Pebble Beach in the 1982 U.S. Open—the year Tom Watson famously chipped in on No. 17 to hold off Jack Nicklaus.
Naturally, Clampett is frequently asked about playing Pebble Beach, and with this week being AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am week, who better to explain how the pros will tackle some of the more difficult and feared shots at Pebble. If you are ready to get some great advice on how to play Pebble Beach, here’s your chance. Today, it’s one of the most difficult second shots in all of a golf, a long-iron approach from an uneven lie to the perilous par-4 ninth green. Not only must you contend with the ball being below your feet, which takes loft off the shot, but the ocean lurks just off the right edge of the small, narrow green. Any shot to the right is likely to find the ocean. Here’s how to pull off this most challenging approach shot (see video, below).
The goal here is to use a lot of ground force and push hard to get the extra club head speed. Playing a slight left to right fade will allow the ball to get a little higher and land a little softer. On the 9th, if you miss left you’re okay, but if you miss it right you’re out of luck. That makes the fade a smart play for your second shot there.
To setup this fade, Clampett likes to setup with the ball one inch inside his left heel. He likes to open the clubface slightly, exploding down and generating some extra club head speed. If you get the ball position a little more forward, you’ll be setup to hit the green on this difficult second shot!