Pebble Beach is an unincorporated community in Monterey County, California. It lies at an elevation of 3 feet (1 m). Pebble Beach is a small coastal resort destination, home to the famous golf course, Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Technically, Pebble Beach is not a city at all, but rather a corporation owned by the Pebble Beach Company, a subsidiary of Plaut Inc. Residents therefore pay homeowners' fees for road maintenance as well as Monterey County property taxes. The community's post office is named Pebble Beach, but the U.S. Census Bureau aggregates census returns from Pebble Beach as part of the larger census-designated place of Del Monte Forest.
The area is also partly administrated by the Del Monte Forest Foundation, a non-profit organization designated by Monterey County and the California Coastal Commission, and comprising a volunteer board of 12 members working to preserve the open space within the Del Monte Forest. Except for two representatives of the Pebble Beach Company, all must be property owners and residents of the Forest.
The Pebble Beach Company was originally created as the Del Monte Properties Company in 1919 by F.B. Morse, grandson to Samuel F. B. Morse, an American painter and the inventor of the Morse Code and telegraph. In the early 1900s, Morse was appointed manager for the Pacific Improvement Company, an affiliate of the vast Southern Pacific Railroad, which had extensive real estate holdings on the Monterey Peninsula, and in 1919 he formed the Del Monte Properties Company and acquired those holdings, which included the Del Monte Forest and the popular Hotel Del Monte (now the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey).
F.B. Morse died in 1969. Alfred Gawthrop, Jr., was Chairman of Del Monte Properties for some time before its sale to Marvin Davis.
In 1978, 20th Century Fox, then chaired by Davis, purchased the company and renamed it Pebble Beach Company. When the film company was sold to Rupert Murdoch in 1985, Davis kept several company assets not directly related to the film and TV industry, including the Pebble Beach Company and the Aspen Skiing Company.
In 1990 Davis sold the Pebble Beach Company to the Japanese businessman Minoru Isutani, who made it a subsidiary of the Japanese resort company Taiheiyo Club Inc. under a holding company called the Lone Cypress Company.
In 1999 the Pebble Beach Company was acquired from Lone Cypress by an investor group led by Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer, and Peter Ueberroth. In 2000, the company initiated Measure A, a controversial development proposal. Eastwood appeared in a $1 million advertising campaign urging voters to help save the forest. In 2006, the plan went before the California Coastal Commission for approval. On June 14, 2007, the plan was submitted again. Commissioner Sara Wan called it "wholesale destruction of the environment," and Measure A was denied in an 8 to 4 vote.
The community has 4,531 residents and is relatively affluent, home to many retirees and well-educated workers in the social service (education and health care), management and finance sectors. While Monterey County has a very large Hispanic population, Pebble Beach is more ethnically homogenous, with 91.4% of the population being White, 5.3% Asian, 2.3% Hispanic or Latino and 0.4% African American. The median household income is $99,788, with 54% with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 and a little more than a quarter of households, 26.2%, with incomes exceeding $150,000. Household income figures, however, may not accurately reflect the area's wealth as 50.8% of households received social security income and 30.8% were retired. Less than half of the population 16 or over, 46.4%, are employed. Of those who work, the plurality (25%) are employed in the social service, education and health care sector, followed by the management (15%) and finance sectors (15%). 2.3% of the population lives below the poverty level. The area's adult population is fairly well-educated, with 61% having at least a Bachelor's degree, and 98% having a high school diploma, compared to 25% and 80% at the national average, respectively.
Pebble Beach has seven public and private 18-hole golf courses. Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Links at Spanish Bay, and Spyglass Hill are owned by the Pebble Beach Company and are all public courses. Poppy Hills is also a public course. Private courses located at Pebble Beach are Cypress Point Club and the private Monterey Peninsula Country Club's two courses, the Dunes Course and the Shore Course. The Pebble Beach Company also owns a nine hole par-3 course in Pebble Beach called the Peter Hay course, and Del Monte Golf Course a few miles away in Monterey, which is the oldest continuously operating course in the Western United States.
Several of these courses are widely celebrated, especially Pebble Beach Golf Links. Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, it is the most famous course in the Western United States, and the only course which has ever beaten Pine Valley Golf Club to top spot in Golf Digest's biennial list of America's 100 greatest courses. Pebble Beach Golf Links has been the site of the US Open in 1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, and will be the location again in 2010.
The annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance auto show has been held in Pebble Beach since 1950. The event focuses on classic cars, and each year features a particular marque as its focus. In addition to the car competition, there is an auction, a classic car tour, and an automotive art exhibit.
Pebble Beach is in Monterey County on the Monterey Peninsula at . It is bordered by Carmel-by-the-Sea to the south, Pacific Grove to the north, the City of Monterey to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Big Sur is about a 40 mile drive south on scenic State Route 1. Santa Cruz and San Francisco are about 45 and 120 miles to the north, respectively.
Pebble Beach owes much of its picturesque qualities to the granitic rock outcroppings visible along the coast. These are characteristic of the Salinian Block, a geologic province which runs from the Baja California Peninsula and up through California west of the San Andreas Fault.
There are several habitat types within Pebble Beach, including intertidal zone, littoral zone and pine forest. The Monterey Pine forest is habitat to numerous rare and endangered species including Hickman's potentilla and Yadon's piperia, both of which are federally protected species. Hickman's potentilla was first discovered within the Del Monte Forest in present day Pebble Beach by Alice Eastwood in the year 1900. After a survey in 1992 by Earth Metrics Inc. this plant was listed as a protected species by the U.S. Government.
The public schools serving Pebble Beach are Carmel High School, Carmel Middle School, and River School, all located in Carmel, and Forest Grove School, Pacific Grove Middle School, and Pacific Grove High School, all located in Pacific Grove. Pebble Beach is also home to Stevenson School, a coed half-boarding, half-day private high-school. The high school runs alternative radio station KSPB, which broadcasts BBC World Service when students are not operating the station.
Pebble Beach has few businesses apart from those owned by the Pebble Beach Company (except the golf courses, a private school, one gas station, and a deli) and no sidewalks. Most of the very expensive houses are hidden behind old-growth trees. It is quiet, secluded, and somewhat gloomy in foggy weather, which occurs quite frequently on the Peninsula in general, and in particular here where it meets the Pacific head-on.
Pebble Beach is a gated community, but differs from most gated communities. The Pebble Beach Company gets $9.50 in revenue per car from tourists driving along the 17-Mile Drive. Residents are issued small license plate badges that are attached near their cars' license plates.