1 The first hole of Pebble Lake presents an optimal opening tee shot, as the elevated tee and well-framed fairway fill the player with confidence. While the landing area is generous, the fairway bunker on the left and mature tees on both sides will provide difficulty for shots that stray. Long hitters will have a wedge or short iron to the green, which plays slightly more narrow than it appears due to a slight fall on the right side of the putting surface
2 Trees surround the large putting surface of the par-3 second hole. The relatively short tee shot can be tricky to judge due to a dramatic fall and rise of the area between tee and green. While the green is an inviting target, the slope from back-to-front rewards the approach that is below the hole. A ball that finishes hole-high will leave a putt that requires considerable borrow.
3 The third is a terrific risk-reward 5-par. The hole doglegs right off the tee, with a thick stand of trees that punish the drive that misses to that side. Even moderate-length drivers of the ball will be encouraged to attack with the second shot if the drive finds the fairway. But beware; trying for the green in two involves a blind shot, and any ball that finishes above the hole will leave a chip or approach putt with a very high degree of difficulty.
4 An outstanding par-4. Off the tee, a draw by the right-hander (and, conversely, a fade by the lefties) works best with the natural terrain. Trees right and thick rough on the left make hitting the fairway a key to success. Club selection is a challenge on the approach due to the degree to which the fairway sits above the green, which is one of the most undulating on the course.
5 Long hitters will often attempt to fly the fairway bunker on the right side of this par-5, with the reward being extra roll as such a shot will clear the crest of the hill. A pond guards the left side on the second shot. The narrow green has a back-to-front slope that becomes more dramatic in the back half of the green. Another excellent birdie - or even eagle - opportunity awaits the player who executes the first two shots as planned.
6 There are no tricks to the tee shot at the sixth, but the same cannot be said about the approach. Though moderate in distance, this par-4 provides a stern examination on the second shot. A steep climb to the green leaves a difficult play for the short-to-average length driver. While the longer player gains the distance advantage, the longer the tee shot the more likely that even the top of the flagstick will be hidden from the player’s view. The green is one of the more modest in size, which increases the difficulty. Having safely arrived at the green, the player may be relieved to find one of the more level putting surfaces that Pebble Lake offers. Since the green is hidden from the players view from the fairway, be aware that a bunker guards the right side of the green, and a ridge behind the green leaves a tricky chip for the shot that goes long.
7 The seventh is the third par-5 of the front nine. This hole doglegs dramatically from right-to-left with trees guarding both sides of the fairway, particularly on the second shot. A roller-coaster of hills will challenge any player as there are few level lies from this fairway. While the long drivers may attempt to reach the green in two, the primary feature of this putting surface is it’s lack of depth. Even wedge shots require precise distance control, especially if the hole is located on the left half of the green.
8 The eighth is a picturesque, medium-length par 3. The green is large and flat, but players are severely penalized if they miss green-high on either side. Left of the green brings dramatic slopes and a bunker into play, and a thick stand of trees right and behind rarely leave an open pitch back into play.
9 While visually pleasing from the tee, the fairway of the ninth plays much more narrow than it appears. The fall of the land towards Pebble Lake will funnel most any shot that lands on the right third of the fairway into rough, which often is some of the thickest on the course due to runoff of moisture. The green looks innocuous, but never fails to befuddle anyone who hasn’t played the hole. Even long-standing members will frequently under-read the affect of the terrain of this green that appears more level than it plays. Most players have heard the refrain that "putts break towards large bodies of water." This hole proves it.
10 One of the more intimidating tee shots at Pebble Lake. This is a beautiful hole but strikes fear into even the most accomplished players. Large trees right and out-of-bounds left leave little margin for error in accuracy off the tee. Once safely in the fairway, the approach shot is unique due to the fact that the green funnels shots into the middle of the surface. This feature often rewards marginal misses but creates extreme difficulty for the approach that finishes off the putting surface. Bunkers guard the front of either side, and the only safe chip or pitch is found in the fairway in front of the green.
11 The eleventh at Pebble Lake is not only the most difficult 3-par at the course, but may be one of the most difficult in west-central Minnesota. Moderately long, the hole plays into summer’s prevailing south wind. Out-of-bounds hugs the left side of the hole, and there is a steep fall off the putting surface both right and behind the green. Most are elated to walk away with par.
12 It’s "bombs-away" from the tee of hole twelve. The elevated tee and one of the more open landing areas on the course encourage an aggressive swing on the drive. The hole doglegs right around a well-positioned fairway bunker. There is a gentle rise to the green, the front of which is narrow and guarded by two bunkers. The green widens as one progresses back, with the subtle left-to-right slope following the natural lay of the land.
13 Another outstanding risk-reward tee shot, with a beautiful view from the tee area. The drive from the men’s tees requires a direct carry over a lake, and the longest drivers will often take an aggressive line over the trees. The more daring the line off the tee, the shorter the approach to this slight dogleg left. But consider carefully the fact that an aggressive line requires a longer carry, complicated by the fact that the elevated tee gives the optical illusion that the lake carry is shorter than it is. The putting green is large and relatively flat.
14 The final par-5, and the only one on the back nine. The tee shot is blind, with a left-to-right dogleg. Though the landing area is wide, there is a boundary fence left and a narrow line of trees right. The green slopes back-to-front, severely so on the "false front".
15 The fifteenth is a short 3-par featuring a common challenge at Pebble Lake; club selection complicated by a significant elevation change. The front of the tee gives a perfect view of the green - and the pond that is closely located on the left side. The front half of the green is relatively flat; not so of the back, which has a steep slope towards the front.
16 Don’t let the modest yardage of the sixteenth give a false sense of ease. The tee shot is demanding due to "The Wall" on the left and mature trees protecting the right of one of the more narrow fairways on the course. The green is small, and the deep grass bunker on the left side is not easily visible from the fairway. Accuracy is rewarded far more than distance on this par-4.
17 The seventeenth hole shares one feature of the previous hole: The Wall. But where the sixteenth does not require distance, that is not the case on seventeen - particularly if one is playing from the championship tee. A pond will collect the drive that tries too hard to avoid the wall, and the slope of the fairway towards the water will run many tee shots into rough. The approach is often played with a long club, to a green that does not treat kindly a shot that goes past the hole. Par is never a disappointment on this hole. Birdies are rare and cause for celebration.
18 It is hard to find a better finishing hole than the eighteenth at Pebble Lake. In 2007 the hole was featured in the Minnesota Golfer Magazine "Great Drives" feature, and for good reason. The tee is elevated and offers a beautiful view of the tree-lined fairway. The hole doglegs left around a tall strand of strategically placed trees. While the fall in elevation assists the tee shot, the approach is dramatically up-hill to a two-tiered putting surface. A reasonable birdie attempt requires two very well-played shots. Merely making the putting surface does not suffice as the green presents a putting challenge that will range from moderate to extreme. The eighteenth offers the potential for a wide array of scores, making it an ideal closing hole.