Two Decades Ago, a Freshly Formed Ownership Group Put Pebble Beach Back on Course

100 years old and never looked better.

The U.S. Open made a triumphant return to Pebble Beach in June, the first time since 2010 the tournament has been held at the prestigious course. With the U.S. Women’s Open scheduled there in 2023 and another U.S. Open in 2024, the historic course is back on top. Twenty years ago, that reputation was much less clear. 

According to a story in WSJ, the course was up for sale only seven years after a Japanese company made the purchase. Peter Ueberroth, a former Major League Baseball commissioner and the mastermind behind the ’84 Olympics in Los Angeles, didn’t want to see the course shuffled around by different ownerships in years to come. 

“That simple idea—that Pebble Beach is not an asset to be flipped but rather one to be preserved—has changed the course of its history.

“It was powerful enough to help Ueberroth assemble an ownership group that included actor and director Clint Eastwood, late golf legend Arnold Palmer and former United Airlines chief executive Richard Ferris. It was compelling enough to clinch the deal at a price of around $820 million, despite higher offers from rivals. And it solidified Pebble Beach, now in its 100th year, as one of the country’s most reliable hosts of championship golf.”

The Pebble Beach Company has spent $500 million on upgrades and maintenance to the course and adjacent hotels, as well as the addition of a practice facility. The 635 acres of surrounding forest as remains untouched. According to the company, the endeavor remains profitable.

“Some people would have bought it and, if they had hedge fund money or whatever, would have to show a return,” Ferris said. “Our focus has been on the preservation of this natural treasure in an economically sound manner. I would say we are patient.”

You can read more on Pebble Beach’s 100-year history and the investors who saved it here.