Pasatiempo Golf Club is located in Santa Cruz, California- less than an hour from Pebble Beach and the famous courses of The Monterey Peninsula.
It was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie, who of course is renowned for his work at Augusta National, Cypress Point Club and Royal Melbourne..
Marion Hollins was responsible for identifying the land and engaging Dr MacKenzie
Pasatiempo opened for play in 1929
Between 1996 and 2007 Tom Doak and his team at Renaissance Golf restored and updated the course
Pasatiempo has hosted:
- the 1986 U.S Womens Amateur Championships
- the 2004 USGA Senior Womens Amateur Championships
Dr MacKenzie is recognised as being a master of strategic design.
His green complexes and bunkering are the focus, offering a variety of challenges to approach different pin positions.
Play Royal Melbourne or Augusta National and you will soon recognise that positioning off the tee is paramount in playing those approaches.
While the fairways at Pasatiempo are not as wide as the likes of Royal Melbourne, the same principles apply- the angle of approach will determine the difficulty of getting home..
The first thing that struck me about Pasatiempo was the hilly nature of the site.
The round starts with the first hole heading straight down the hill and of course you must make your way back up as the round progresses.
The next thing that struck me was the spectacular white sand bunkers- they certainly add to the drama and lift the look of the course.
Perhaps my expectations were too high, but the front nine underwhelmed me a little.
I thought it was good golf, but not world class.
The back nine steps it up with a variety of unique holes in undulating terrain- the barrancas, blind shots and superb green complexes combined with gorgeous bunkering make the back nine a real adventure
I would recommend the back nine to any golfer!
Notable holes include:
- hole 3, a long par 3 with spectacular bunkering (see pic top of page)
- hole 6, where everybody has to take a snap of MacKenzie's home! (see also pics of home below)
- hole 11, a long par 4 with approach over a barranca
- hole 15, a pretty par 3
- hole 16, perhaps the signature hole at Pasatiempo is a strong par 4 with a blind tee shot and a unique three tier green complex with wonderful bunkering
- hole 18, a dramatic par 3 over a barranca to finish
Pasatiempo has long been in the mix in any discussions about the best courses in the USA, and the world.
Whilst I don't rate it in such rarified air, it is a very good course.
Students of the game will play enjoy seeing another quality MacKenzie design, and seeing his final home on the 6th hole.
And Pasatiempo is perfectly located as a stopover on the commute between San Francisco and Monterey
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