The Pacific Grove Golf Links began as a simple idea – give the citizens of the City of Pacific Grove and the surrounding area a place where they could enjoy the open-air and the game of golf. Little did the City of Pacific Grove’s and its Chamber of Commerce know, that the course which was founded on a $10 gold coin and a handshake, would grow into one of the most popular and beautiful courses in California.
The idea of the Pacific Grove Golf Links began in 1929, when the Del Monte Properties Company and its owner S.F.B. Morse, decided to make their beach tract more desirable by introducing a golf course to its ocean-side parcel of land. This plan did not gain traction until the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce began discussing the creation of additional recreational facilities within the City. In 1931 Morse agreed to sell the property, which encompasses the current front nine, to the City for a $10 gold coin with one condition, that the City maintain and irrigate the property as a golf course for a minimum of five years.
United States Amateur Champion H. Chandler Egan was selected as the architect of the original nine holes. Egan was a prolific amateur champion having twice won the U.S. Amateur in 1904 and 1905 in addition to many of the country’s top level tournaments. Still competing at a championship caliber, Egan then began to design a series of award-winning courses in the Pacific Northwest. His first introduction to the Monterey area was a redesign of the Pebble Beach Golf Links with Alister Mackenzie in 1929. Captivated by the area he returned in 1931 to begin the design of the Pacific Grove Golf Links. It took over 200 men to shape the classic out and back figure-eight routing and on May 9, 1932, the course officially opened for play.
The Pacific Grove Golf Links’ first Head Professional was Fred X. Fry, one of the “Five Frys”, a group of golfing brothers who were extensively involved with the game in the Bay Area. For the next 30 years, Fry oversaw the growth of the game and the course for the City of Pacific Grove. Under his watchful eye he saw the expansion of the course from 9 to 18 holes and the building of the then new clubhouse. He retired in 1962 as the father of golf in Pacific Grove. The course continued to delight residents and visitors alike, but it took almost 30 years for the Pacific Grove Golf Links to truly become complete. In 1960, well- known California golf course architect, Jack Neville appeared before the Pacific Grove Rotary Club. Neville, who was an accomplished amateur golfer in California and had famously paired with Douglas Grant to create the Pebble Beach Golf Links, proposed the addition of a seaside nine to complement the existing nine hole course.
This nine, he contended, would be created much the same way the historic courses in Scotland and Ireland were designed. Let the natural terrain of the windswept dunes dictate the routing and minimal construction would be needed. Neville’s proposed site surrounded the base of the Point Pinos Lighthouse on land leased by the City from the U.S. Coast Guard. “I was very enthusiastic when I first studied the terrain and still am,” said Neville in 1960 . Coming off a redesign of Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course in 1959, Neville was confident that play could begin in nine months. Neville was true to his word and the second nine of Pacific Grove Golf Links opened for play in 1960. In 2006, the Coast Guard officially deeded the Point Pinos Lighthouse and the back nine to the City of Pacific Grove under the Excess Military Property Initiative. As part of the deed, The City of Pacific Grove pledged to re-introduce many native and endangered plant species to the dunes surrounding the course. This ecological preservation ensures that the Pacific Grove Golf Links will continue to flourish as a responsible environmental steward and compelling recreational option for residents.