Pebble Beach is where pros and amateurs can mix: Owner

On the green
On the green   

Pebble Beach is unique, and not just because of the breathtaking views the historic golf course enjoys, nestled along California's Monterey Peninsula.

What makes the resort unique, co-owner Peter Ueberroth tells CNBC, is its status as the top-ranked golf course where "anyone can play."

The course is home to five U.S. Open Championships and other professional golf events, such as this weekend's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Pebble Beach is also a public course.

"Any amateur golfer, anybody from the public can go walk in the same footsteps that people won the U.S Open here," said Ueberroth, who is also the former head of Major League Baseball (MLB). "For an amateur player … to participate in a real sport, it just doesn't happen" in any other sport, he says.

He compared golf to baseball. After leading the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Ueberroth served five years as the MLB's commissioner from 1984 to 1989. Even in those years as the top executive of MLB, Ueberroth says he never got on the field.

"I was baseball commissioner and I never could play one inning," he said. "I wouldn't have been very good, but I still couldn't play one inning."

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Peter Ueberroth
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Peter Ueberroth

Between the years of 1972 and 2010, Pebble Beach has hosted the U.S. Open five times. The golf course is scheduled to host the event a sixth time in 2019.

However, it was in 1999 that Ueberroth led an investment group, including golfing great Arnold Palmer and Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, to buy the historic course. The group paid $820 million dollars, and formed the Pebble Beach Co.

"When I had a chance to buy this great property, 5,000 acres … it was a dream for me," the former baseball regulator said.

The property was acquired "with the understanding that the plan was to never again sell Pebble Beach Co. to another ownership group."

Ueberroth told CNBC that plan hasn't changed: "We're never gonna sell it." When asked how the owners are balancing preservation of the site with future development needs, Ueberroth said they don't intend to develop more of Pebble Beach's land.

"Half of this is totally open space. And that's the way it's going to stay," he said. "This place of 17 Mile Drive and 5,000 acres needs to be preserved for people for many generations."

Pebble Beach will celebrate its centennial in 2019. The course was founded in 1919 by Samuel F.B. Morse, a distant cousin of Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph.

On the Money airs on CNBC Sundays at 7:30 p.m. ET, or check listings for airtimes in local markets.