It likely won't appease those with tee times at Pebble Beach Golf Links, but it is a necessary evil that the iconic 17th green (think Jack Nicklaus, 1972 U.S. Open and Tom Watson, 1982 U.S. Open) is closed for renovations, requiring play to a temporary green.
Greens tend to shrink over time, as has happened at Pebble's 17th hole. It had diminished to about 3,800 square feet, according to a source, and will be restored to 5,000 square feet. There also will be renovations done to the bunkers that have changed as a result of an accumulation of sand over the years. The regular green is expected to reopen for play on July 24.
The hole will play 30 to 40 yards shorter, by one estimate, with the temporary green having been placed in front of the regular green. The temporary green, a source said, is "nice, flat, 100 percent bent, unlike any other." The greens at Pebble Beach are poa annua.
Gary K. McCormick took a screen grab from Pebble Beach's 17th hole Webcam and posted it on Twitter:
Golf course architect Ted Robinson Jr. explained on his website why greens shrink:
"One of the initial causes is the general maintenance practice of mowing slightly inside the existing edge in an effort to avoid scalping the apron…Top dressing also raises the putting surface and will tend to flatten and crown the green over time…Successive layering over the years can raise the putting surface by many inches. The better and more regular the maintenance practice, the greater the change."
Pebble Beach has used temporary greens in the past, most recently in 2013, when the ninth green was being renovated.
Even with a temporary green, the green fee remains the same: $495.