Perhaps nothing could be more iconic to pro golf fans than the dramatic cliff faces and ocean swells of Pebble Beach. It has hosted 6 men’s U.S. Open Championships and 3 men’s U.S. Amateur Championships. But never has it hosted the Women’s U.S. Open as we know it today, until this year!

On July 6-9, the stunning vistas of Pebble Beach will be the backdrop of the 78th Women’s Open. This year’s Open boasts, according to James Raia of the Monterey Herald, “the first time NBC will broadcast a women’s golf championship in prime time.” Mike Whan, the USGA CEO, says he thinks the 3-9 pm ET coverage may be “the longest continuous NBC network coverage for a women’s event.” And the golfers are excited. Mina Harigae, the 2022 Women’s Open runner-up and a local of Monterey, has played Pebble Beach, according to her calculations, at least 50 times and said, “It’s my favorite place on earth!”

Golf history buffs may remember that Pebble Beach hosted the 1940 and 1948 U.S. Women’s Amateurs, but this is the first Women’s Open played in its current form at the Club. Women’s professional golf, which was pioneered by Opal Hill when she turned professional in 1938, saw the first Women’s U.S. Open created in 1946 by the then-Women’s Professional Golfer’s Association. The tournament was played at the Spokane Country Club in Washington state and offered a $19,700 purse provided by The Spokane Athletic Round Table’s slot machine proceeds. By 1949, the Ladies Professional Golf Association was founded by 11 women who ran the tournament for the following four years.

But in 1953, Rochester Country Club (New York) hosted the first Women’s Open under the governance of the United States Golf Association (USGA). Since then the tournament has skyrocketed. The purse of that first Women’s Open has grown to what is expected to be in excess of $10 million dollars for the Pebble Beach tournament. This year’s tournament also boasts a record-setting 2,107 entrants, the first time entries have gone over 2,000. Compare that to the 1953 Open, which hosted 37 contestants. 

The tournament has become increasingly global over the years, seeing thirteen foreign champions since 1995. The Pebble Beach coverage speaks to the Women’s Open’s international appeal. The tournament, which was first broadcast in 1965, televising only the final round, will be broadcast to “more than 190 countries and territories” and is expected to have a viewership in excess of 330 million households worldwide.

The women’s U.S. Open has a rich history of great moments. Who can forget Babe Zaharias, who not only won 10 major golf championships but also two Olympic gold medals in track and field, beating Betty Hicks for her third championship–and just having recovered from colon cancer surgery. Or how about Catherine Lacoste’s 1967 win to become the only amateur to date to win the Open? With names like New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, the U.S.’s Nelly Korda, and South Korea’s Ko jin-Young vying for a chance at this year’s record-setting purse, the Pebble Beach Women’s U.S. Open is likely to provide more memorable moments in this oldest of women’s tournament’s history.

For more information about Pebble Beach’s wonderful history and any questions about buying or renting a house in Pebble Beach, Carmel by the Sea, or the surrounding area, contact Tim Allen at 831-214-1990 or email [email protected].

Written by Ivan Young in partnership with Chitton’s athleisure