Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 2
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Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 2
The elevated second green reveals the beauty of Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill G.C. - hole 1
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Spyglass Hill G.C. - hole 1
The first hole of Spyglass Hill Golf Course tumbles downhill and turns left to reveal this view. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 3
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Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 3
The 172-yard, par-3 third hole at Spyglass Hill Golf Course plays downhill directly into the ocean's breeze. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill G.C. - 4th
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Spyglass Hill G.C. - 4th
Dunes surround the famous par-4 fourth hole of Spyglass Hill Golf Course at Pebble Beach Resorts. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill Golf Course - fourth green
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Spyglass Hill Golf Course - fourth green
It's a treacherous road to reach the fourth green at Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill G.C. - 5th
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Spyglass Hill G.C. - 5th
The par-3 fifth at Spyglass Hill Golf Course is the last adventure in the dunes before the course heads into the Del Monte Forest. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 6
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Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 6
The 446-yard, par-4 sixth hole at Spyglass Hill G.C. climbs uphill into the Del Monte Forest. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill G.C. - 7th
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Spyglass Hill G.C. - 7th
A pond guards the seventh green at Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 10
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Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 10
Bunkers ring the 10th green at Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill G.C. - 11th
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Spyglass Hill G.C. - 11th
Shadows and bunkers creep in from the right side of the 11th green, the end of a strong par 5 at Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 12
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Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 12
The par-3 12th hole at Spyglass Hill Golf Course is tucked below a set of elevated tees. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill G.C. - 15th
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Spyglass Hill G.C. - 15th
The 130-yard 15th at Spyglass Hill Golf Course is short but sweet. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 16
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Spyglass Hill Golf Course - hole 16
The 476-yard 16th hole is one of the toughest par 4s at Pebble Beach Resorts' Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Spyglass Hill GC - no. 17
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Spyglass Hill GC - no. 17
The 325-yard 17th hole is the shortest par 4 at Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Jordan Spieth - Spyglass Hill GC - 18th
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Jordan Spieth - Spyglass Hill GC - 18th
Jordan Spieth hits an approach shot to the 18th green at Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
15 Images

Is Spyglass Hill really the second-best golf course at Pebble Beach Resorts?

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- So why does Pebble Beach Golf Links always edge out Spyglass Hill Golf Course as the headliner at Pebble Beach Resorts?

They both regularly host the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and there isn't much difference between the two in popular course rankings by major publications. Golf Magazine rates Pebble Beach second and Spyglass Hill 10th in its 2014 rankings of the Top 100 Courses You Can Play. Golf Digest has the duo first and 11th, respectively, on its 2013-14 list of America's 100 Greatest Public Courses.

Golfers wouldn't be wrong if they favored playing Spyglass Hill, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1966. Spectacular coastal dunes frame the first five holes. The views of the Pacific Ocean from these opening holes are just as inspiring as those at Pebble Beach.

Several of Spyglass Hill's inland holes through the Del Monte Forest are better than Pebble Beach's inland holes framed by mansions and roads. Ponds add beauty and drama to Spyglass Hill's short par 3s at nos. 12 and 15. Two other water hazards guard a pair of greens on par 5s at 7 and 14. When it comes to difficulty, even pros fear the uphill climbs and elevated greens at Spyglass Hill, one of the toughest courses annually on the PGA Tour.

Pebble Beach ultimately wins the debate, though. The ocean is actually in play on its most famous holes, 7-8 and 17-18. And, as the host of five U.S. Opens, Pebble Beach has witnessed some of the game's most memorable moments.

Spyglass Hill seems destined to forever be a bridesmaid on the loaded Monterey Peninsula. Still, the 6,960-yard course would be the star attraction just about anywhere else.

Video: Matt Ginella on the ultimate itineraries around Pebble Beach

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

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Is Spyglass Hill really the second-best golf course at Pebble Beach Resorts?