A first for Pebble Beach

The storied California golf course hosts its first U.S. Women's Open.


Pebble Beach 18th hole
Pebble Beach Golf Links will host its first U.S. Women's Open July 3-9. Photo courtesy of the USGA

For the first time at this iconic venue so rich in history, Pebble Beach Golf Links is hosting a U.S. Women’s Open, July 3-9. GCSAA Class A superintendent Bubba Wright has been on site for past U.S. Opens, the last one coming in 2019. Since it first hosted the U.S. Amateur in 1929, Pebble Beach has been the site for 13 USGA championships. In 2017, the USGA announced that the Women’s Open would be added to that list.

“We’ve had so many men’s tournaments, so this is a cool deal,” says Wright, a five-year association member. “The vast majority (of women players in the field) have not even been on the property. A lot of them have come here and been checking it out. Initially, they’re kind of awestruck by the property. I sense the appreciation and gratitude for the event coming here.”

Pebble Beach has changed a bit since the U.S. Open four years ago, according to Wright. All bunkers were renovated, including all new sand. Pebble Beach changes out the sand every 10 years. The old sand, PB White, was no longer available for the recent changes. The new variety is Idaho White. “It (PB White) became so popular, the vein went dry,” Wright says. “The Idaho White matches our old color, so the aesthetics remain the same.”

Also, every forward tee was renovated on the property. Green complexes on the eighth and 11th holes also underwent renovation, allowing for more pin location options.

Pebble Beach received 30 inches of rain from November through April, which has set the stage for conditions that suit Wright. Although he lost a few trees here and there and there was some salt intrusion along the ocean at the iconic 18th, Pebble Beach is ready to rock. “We had late-winter rains. The golf course reaped the benefits,” he says. “The course is dense, healthy.”

Wright is flanked by some veteran team members. Rick Pieper, spray technician/greenkeeper, and greenkeeper Miguel Rosado each have more than 40 years of experience there. Wright’s assistant superintendents are nine-year GCSAA member Ryan Sherbert, five-year member Michael Knoll and Cole Petrick. Also, Wright is continuing the tradition of welcoming women volunteers to the maintenance team for tournament week. It all began in 2021 when Troy Flanagan, the director of golf maintenance at The Olympic Club, invited 30 women to volunteer at the San Francisco course for the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open. In 2022, David Fruchte, CGCS and director of grounds, had 30 women on board for the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.

This year, even more women will volunteer. Thirty-seven in all, according to Wright. They will be among 60 total volunteers. Add Wright’s staff and maintenance is well-covered. “It motivates our team. Now, we’ve just got to execute,” Wright says. “I’m looking forward to seeing this team come together.”

Howard Richman is the associate editor for GCM.