The Pros Love the Poppy Hills
Oct. 3, 2014
From 1991 to 2009, Poppy Hills co-hosted the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. So when the Champions Tour played Poppy Hills last week, most of the field was familiar with the property.
But that was before its recent renovation by Robert Trent Jones II.
The focal point of Jones’ 13-month project – conducted between March 2013 and April of this year – was water conservation and improvement of the drainage system. But the entire course was rethought, with some old critiques in mind.
What did Champions Tour pros think about the new Poppy Hills?
Olin Browne, 2011 U.S. Senior Open champion
“I loved it. I never thought I’d say that about Poppy Hills.”
Mark O’Meara, five-time AT&T winner
“I think it’s amazing. Nothing beats being on the Monterey Peninsula. And this golf course now is really beautiful, really nice. I really liked it.”
Ben Crenshaw, two-time Masters champion and course designer
“I like what I see. There was a lot of work done out here. I think it’s a good, strong golf course. It’s beautiful. Bobby (Jones) did a very good job.”
Davis Love III, two-time AT&T winner
“It’s a bit like what Crenshaw does. You’ve got the fairway and then waste areas and trees. At times, you’re like, ‘Wow, it looks like Augusta.’ The 16th to me has an Augusta look with its big amphitheater and the no rough.”
Nick Price, three-time major champion
“It’s a huge improvement on the old course. It looks beautiful. They deserve a pat on the back for the terrific job they did, and the superintendent has done a great job. There’s a big change on the back nine, and it is really fun to play.”
Tom Lehman, 1996 British Open champion
“I like the course a lot. It’s a huge improvement. It’s fun to play, and I never thought that before. There’s a way more natural feel to it.”
Jeff Sluman, three-time First Tee Open winner
“I think the changes are terrific. This was one of my least favorite golf courses of all time. It’s a world of difference. The course is very pleasing to the eye.”
Skip Kendall, tied for third at 2014 First Tee Open
“The changes warrant bringing it back to the AT&T.”