Poppy Hills Golf Course
Poppy Hills Golf Course Holes #4, #5 & #6
Holes #4, #5 & #6 | Photo: Joann Dost

Poppy Hills Golf Course


3200 Lopez Road
Pebble Beach CA 93953 United States

Portfolio open date
Portfolio renovate date
Course setting
Design style
Course type
Course category
View our Championship course collection
View our Renovation course collection
Extra course information

Northern California Golf Association Members’ Course

Teaser image
Hole #18
Hole #18 | Photo: Courtesy of Poppy Hills Golf Course

Poppy Hills golf course is tucked into the Del Monte Forest on California’s Monterey Peninsula which features stunning views of the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains. Poppy Hills Golf Course is well known to fans of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am as one of the hardest courses faced by PGA TOUR players. It’s also a rare location where the public can test itself on the same course it has seen the pros play on television. Poppy Hills Golf Course was the first golf course in the U.S. to be owned and operated by an amateur golf association. It was originally built as the home course for the Northern California Golf Association.

Design Challenges and Environmental Sensitivity

Several unique challenges confronted Robert Trent Jones II in designing Poppy Hills. First, we sought to create a golf venue that would prove worthy of its renowned neighbors, including Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Simultaneously, we wanted to design a course that could host tournaments while still providing a fair and manageable round to public golfers (golf carts are allowed). In building Poppy Hills, we also committed to protecting the dwarf cypress, a rare species of tree located on the site. Demonstrating the environmental sensitivity that has characterized so much of our work over the past four decades, we mapped these trees and routed the golf holes and water channels around them.

Poppy Hills Course Features and Challenges

Playing through forests of pine and cypress, Poppy Hills affords some protection from Monterey’s ocean breezes but still proffers occasional views of the Pacific. The 6,833-yard layout boasts lakes and vertical hazards (trees) en route to large, rolling, compartmentalized greens guarded by water and sand. As per our client’s wishes, the greens were inspired by those at Augusta National. Deep, strong bunkering close to the putting surfaces demands short game finesse. A number of sharp doglegs force players to shape their shots. Five par threes and five par fives (including back-to-back par fives at holes nine and ten) lend additional interest.

Renovations and Continued Excellence

Ron Whitten, the architecture critic for Golf Digest has said of Poppy Hills, “Architecturally its routing fits its hilly, ravine-slashed location, which was no easy feat. Almost every hole is tree lined but it’s never been a tight, claustrophobic course. The corridors are wide and selected trees were left in play. Whitten calls it “the best bargain on the coastline.”

In 2022 Poppy Hills had several course refinements and the original golf course designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr was there to check in on the current project. Robert Trent Jones Jr. originally designed Poppy Hills Golf Course and it opened in 1986.