Pebble Beach in a Golf Simulator : How close to the real thing?

As the golf season is still stuck in low gear due to snow and cold weather, some golfers head for the golf simulator. Guest author, Brain Benko, owner of is happy to see them arrive. But has this advice to pass on:

Pebble Beach Golf Links, called the greatest public golf course in America, offers golfers an experience unlike any other course. Perhaps the greatest to play the game, Jack Nicklaus, summed it up best when he said, “If I only had one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach. I’ve loved this course from the first time I saw it. It’s possibly the best in the world.” But how does playing Pebble Beach on a golf simulator compare to the actual course?

simulator1One of the biggest differences is controlling the weather. As we all know, everyone complains about the weather but few do anything about it. That’s not the case when playing Pebble Beach on a simulator. If a golfer wants perfect conditions he just adjusts the simulator and it’s done. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way on the real course. Any golfer who has played 18 holes knows how cruel Mother Nature can be. One minute it’s sunny and warm, with just a slight breeze off the Pacific. The next minute the wind is blowing so hard golfers almost fall over. Just ask those who have played the 17th hole. Everything from a wedge to a 1-iron has been hit to the postage stamp green. (Want to see a live-cam view of the 17th green at Pebble Beach? Click here.)

Another difference is the feeling one gets when walking the course. The feel of the ocean breeze hitting you on the 18th tee is exhilarating. Those who were fortunate to play during the glory days of Bing Crosby know how much he loved the course, and participation in the Pro-Am was an honor then as it is today.

Perhaps nothing differs more between the simulator and the actual course more so than standing on a tee or in the fairway, club in hand, staring at the cliffside and the ocean surf banging on the rocks. As much as one tries, it’s not easy to block out seeing your shot heading into that treacherous area. On a simulator, despite seeing that image, it’s just not the same. Pebble Beach is, as the Golden Bear said, the best in the world.

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Brian Benko is the owner of (since 1997), a golf enthusiasts website and blog that’s dedicated to the golf players motivated to improve their game and jump in heads first in a Golf Simulator. When Brian’s not on the golf course, or using his golf simulator, he’s working within the internet/tech industry in New York.

Have you ever played a game in a golf simulator? What was your experience like? Add your comment below.

  2 comments for “Pebble Beach in a Golf Simulator : How close to the real thing?

  1. David
    January 22, 2014 at 1:59 am

    I have played on various simulators and the Pebble Beach course looks different on every simulator. Bogolf was the closest I could find when it came to realism of golf courses.

  2. Glenna
    March 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    My Thursday evening group recently played at Pebble Beach indoors at the same time the PGA tournament there was being telecast. Lots of fun comparing our scores with the pros. We were especially pleased to post a better score than Phil Mickelson on the famous 18th hole.

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