Cypress Point - California - USA

Cypress Point Club,
17 Mile Drive,
Pebble Beach,
California (CA) 93953,
USA


  • +1 831 624 6444

  • No website available

  • 2 miles NW of Pebble Beach

  • Members and their guests only


Every true golfer would love to play Cypress Point, but the reality of the matter is that unless you are in the know, only a lucky few will ever get the chance to tee it up on the 1st. Folklore has it that J.F. Kennedy was once refused entry to the restaurant and, with only 250 members, mere mortals find it hard to get a game.

Cypress Point Club is set at the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the very tip of the Monterey Peninsula and the cliff top terrain is varied and thrilling. Almost as many superlatives have been used to describe the beauty of the location as the course itself.

Masa Nishijima, co-author of Tom Doak’s Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, commented as follows: “Seth Raynor was under contract to do the course, but Raynor passed away in 1926 before the start of construction, and Robert Hunter managed to convince the client to let Dr. MacKenzie have a look at the course when he made his first visit to California later that year.”

“The best 17-hole course in the world” is how Cypress Point has been described. The closing hole is considered by some to be little more than a route back to the clubhouse and perhaps the 16th hole is a weakness too, especially if you can’t carry the ball more than 200 yards into the prevailing wind. The Pacific is the ultimate water hazard on this 231-yard one-shot hole. It’s considered the best golf hole in the world or the worst if you dump your third tee shot into the sea.

David commented on our Cypress Point article. We feel his points are valid and worthy of sharing:

“While most of your course intros seem ok, this one is really off. It was one guy, Jimmy Demaret that called Cypress Point the best 17-hole course he's ever played. He was a great pro, but not an expert in golf course architecture by any means. Granted the 18th might be a little strange, but it's a great hole in its own right. At most courses maybe even their signature hole. A blind tee shot over Cypress Trees to a narrow fairway the dog legs steep up a hill to a green sloping form back to front with a huge cypress tree blocking out the entire left side of the green requiring a perfect drive to have a chance at the green with a shaped approach from an uneven lie. Land it too deep above the hole and you’re faced with a treacherous putt, miss right while shaping your shot and you are in one of the bunkers guarding the green. Does that sound at all like a weak hole?

Also the 16th is not properly described. In typical MacKenzie fashion this hole can be played many ways. He always leaves a way for weaker golfers. The 16th is no different. If the carry is impossible for your ability level you can play left requiring a carry of around or less than 100 yards to a partially hidden fairway and play this hole as a par 4. Any level can do this. I watched a 92 year old man par the hole with no problem in that fashion. So I'd argue this is not my opinion even, it's just plain fact which makes the intro you have incorrect and a bit unfair to Cypress Point and to MacKenzie.”

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Cypress Point

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Cypress Point Club is set at the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the very tip of the Monterey Peninsula and the cliff top terrain is varied and thrilling. Rating: 9.8 out of 10 Reviews: 32
TaylorMade
David Wilkinson
There are plenty of par 3 tee shots to get the adrenaline going in every golfer: Perhaps the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, the 12th at Augusta or the ‘postage stamp’ 8th at Royal Troon. However, nothing can compare to the daunting task of carrying 215 yards of open Pacific Ocean as the waves crash onto rocks far below the cliff on which you stand. Not to mention that five bunkers surround the green, should you be so bold as to make it there. Of course, there is a bailout option with a shorter carry to the left, but this is a par 3 and which self-respecting golfer would shy away from the challenge? After all, this is the 16th at Cypress Point!

Course reviewer David donates a ball to the PacificLike many before and many to follow, I gifted the Pacific yet another ball after it cannoned off the cliff face, just a couple of feet below the green. Despite my heroic attempt failing, this was the most exhilarating and fulfilling experience of my golfing life. Of course it’s not a purist’s par 3, as you need to be a long-hitter and a straight long-hitter at that, just to have a chance of making the green in regulation. The 16th is pure fantasy and the feeling as I emerged from the cluster of Cypress trees to see the most glorious sight in golf will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Make no mistake though, the holes leading up to and following the fabled par 3, are far from a support act. In my opinion, this is the most perfect golf course on earth, with eighteen beautifully-crafted holes forming Alister Mackenzie’s most thrilling progression of twists and turns. Unlike many of its neighbours, Cypress Point does not boast a palatial clubhouse. It is a relatively small building with its locker room appearing unchanged in a hundred years and a tiny pro shop, with odds and ends of club merchandise crammed-in on rails and tables. Whilst guests are not allowed in the clubhouse without being accompanied by a member, I found all of the staff and caddies to be incredibly friendly and welcoming. Their guidance was crucial at the 1st tee, where a six-foot hedge stands between you and the fairway. Only after emerging from behind this obstacle does it truly feel like you are on the course.

The par 4 1st serves as a gentle introduction before McKenzie tests you with the longest hole on the course, a tricky par 5 which climbs steadily away from the ocean and towards the forest. The 3rd is a relatively straightforward par 3, requiring a decent mid to high iron shot to avoid a series of sprawling bunkers, which will punish anything falling short and right. Following a tight tee-shot on the par 4 4th hole, you journey into the forest and face a tricky uphill approach into an undulating green. It feels like a different course here, as the tall Monterey Pines grow denser and narrow the fairways on surely the best back-to-back par 5s to be found anywhere. The 5th hole perfectly divides each one of your shots to the green with three distinct plateaus, separated by steep uphill climbs and classic McKenzie bunker complexes. Number six curves gently to the left and swoops softly down back towards the dunes, with a long and narrow bunker cleverly-positioned behind the green to deter longer hitters blasting a 3-wood at the pin. These par 5s are designed to be played as such and with steady, straight shots, I managed to play them in regulation. The tree-lined fairways and measured terrain changes test your accuracy before progressing onto the dunes, where the par 3 7th leads onto a ledge, from which you hit a blind tee shot on the dog-leg 8th over a monstrous dune. It is not necessary to shape your shot left to right here, but simply to take a line from the caddie and hit a straight drive which will set you up for a short iron or wedge up to the T-shaped green.

The 9th tee provides one of the great vistas of Cypress point, looking over the picturesque bunkering around the 13th green with the Pacific Ocean in the background. 9, 10 and 11 all present choices on line and length to be made from the tee, but the way in which the holes lie mean you can map out your route to the green, without any blind shots to contend with. McKenzie’s philosophy on minimising blind shots is then displayed alongside his belief that a course should utilise natural beauty, as the 12th and 13th feature remarkable examples of bunkers blending seamlessly into sand dunes.

Cue scene change again, as you leave the dunes behind and begin the stunning sequence of ocean holes. A wide open fairway on 14 invites you to open your shoulders before steering your approach shot through a narrow gap in the Cypress trees to a small green which slopes significantly back to front. Now onto the most idyllic and thrilling three-hole progression in the world, due in large part to the incredible scenery, dramatic cliffs and invigorating ocean breeze. The way in which McKenzie utilised the jagged coastline here though is nothing short of genius. Only Amen Corner at Augusta National can come anywhere close to the notoriety of this trio. With back-to-back par 3s at 15 and 16, you are challenged by tee shots over gushing waves and families of seals on the rocks below, but also by undulating greens and intricate bunkers which drain balls from the edge of the putting surface.

Cypress Point 15th - photo by DavidDespite being the shortest hole on the course with the highest stroke index, I would argue that the 15th is far from the easiest. A short and high flight is required to battle with the ocean wind off the tee and no less than eight bunkers surround Cypress Point’s smallest green. It presents a totally different set of challenges to the 16th, which requires a solid fairway wood or even driver, for most amateurs to consider getting close to the green. The 17th then gives no respite as it demands yet another tee shot across the ocean to a fairway aligned tightly with the cliff-top. However, the biggest hazard here is a clump of trees which break up the direct route to the green. They force a choice of playing safely around to the left, or flirting with another steep drop into the water by cutting the corner from the right of the fairway. Whilst my approach came up short of the green here, I was saved from losing another ball by a greenside bunker with a thirty-foot drop from its back lip onto the rocks below.

Before playing Cypress Point, I had seen the 18th described as little more than a walk back to the clubhouse and the one weakness in McKenzie’s masterpiece. I beg to differ, as it is perhaps only because of the dramatic progression leading up to the final hole that a golfer leaves slightly disappointed with the finale. The 18th actually requires precise placement off the tee, where a drive to the left half of the fairway will set up a straight shot up through the tight chute of tall Cypress trees to the green. After watching my trademark fade/slice return on this hole though, I was left with no line to the green and had to play sideways before making my approach. The final green slopes consistently back to front and sits in the shadow of the understated green and white clubhouse. Faced with a long putt here, I pictured Ben Hogan draining his lengthy birdie effort in 1956, when he set the course record of 63 which still stands today. Try telling the ‘Hawk’ that the 18th is a stroll back to the clubhouse!

Granted, the vast majority of golfers will only ever dream of playing Cypress Point. I count myself as immensely privileged to have been invited through the gates to experience the majesty of Monterey’s crown jewel. The vivid detail I have recounted in this review bears testament to the elation and excitement on every hole. Cypress Point filled me with a sense of awe that I am sure no other golf course on earth could match.
June 08, 2010
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Sam
November 25, 2010
I know this sounds stupid but is it possible for anyone who has played this course, or any private courses in USA that are in the top 100, to put a few examples of green fees on here. Being from the UK we are not used to this 'members and their guests only' and would love to know how much people have to pay to be a 'guest'?
JAS
January 24, 2011
Doesn't sound stupid at all Sam, The exclusivity of the top American Courses is something that wrankles with me as I've always viewed golf as a peoples game to be enjoyed by millions not be the preserve of the few. Quite frankly a members only course should automatically lose a ball for it's lack of access. Furthermore if a Cypress, Augusta, Pine Valley or Shinnecock member rolled up at St Andrews or Carnoustie (Municiples & therefore owned by the people) and wanted a game should be met with a "let us play yours and you can play ours"
Sam
January 25, 2011
To be honest it surprises me greatly that the limits on the availability of golf in America doesn't cause more fuss. If it became par for the course in the UK I know the game would greatly suffer and dissolve. We have hardly any totally private courses and I am very proud to say that! I know people pay obscene amounts to be members of exclusive courses, and that I'm guessing is the status and bragging rights of it, but golf, in the UK, is still the peoples game and I hate the fact that people can't get the chance to step in the footsteps of their heroes. Surely one 4-ball a day won't hurt!
chappers
April 17, 2011
Sam guest fees are usually in the region of $150 to $250 plus caddie
Javier Pintos
June 09, 2011
Sam I was invited last month and paid u$250 for green fee plus u$100 for caddie (u$80 plus tip). You will have my review soon
Ian William Halliwell
Yes Cypress is possibly, nay probably the best course I have played. I have recently completed a Round the Word Extravaganza...... starting at Sngapore, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Canada, California, Vegas, Florida, Bermuda, Spain and back to the UK..... Certainly drop dead sensational, shocked at 18th hole, pales next to Pebble and Koolau.... but views sensational, better than NSW, Kauri or Kidnappers or Pebble.... as good as but not significantly better. My main quibble remains exclusivity. I wanna play in the footsteps of my heroes not Carmel's millionaires. One of the greatest yes, the best maybe.
April 18, 2010
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

John Garrett
I played CP in 2000 and they were kind enough to lend me some clubs. I wouldn't say they were old but the woods really were woods. We were a 4 ball and made up half of the course players on this pleasant Saturday afternoon. The course itself is a treasure meandering along the Pacific beach and past Clint's old house. The picture hole is the 16th par 3 over the pacific. I was playing with Jay Townsend and a couple of business colleagues. On the 16th Jay hit a two iron into the Pacific while my borrowed 3 wood gave up the ghost and broke in two. Jay then hit a driver to within 5 feet while my next effort was less dry. There was no visitors' shop, changing room, bar or restaurant. I adored the course, the stillness only broken by the waves crashing against the rocks.
January 19, 2010
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

matt odell
Played in April 2009, with what is the best golfing experience of my life. We played Pebble a day later and it does not compare. We were lucky to be able to play and thank the gofling gods for this every day. The hospitality was second to none all the way round, which made the visit all the better. Then we played the course, the course winds its way through the forest and the out into the ocean holes, the forest holes themselves are wonderful leading into the best stretch of golf I have ever played, to have goose bumps all the way round the course will only tell you how good it was.. For me it was magestic the way as we played 14(the first of the ocean holes) that the sun came out for the first time and then having birdied 15 was lost for words as I stood on number 16(the best par 3 in golf) and tried to have the courage to hit a hard 3 wood.. Someone once wrote that if given the chance to play at Cypress on the day of your Daughters wedding you cancel the wedding.. It might have to be an option, trust me.. Thanks to all that allowed to experience a once in a lifetime day..
November 16, 2009
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Tom Birkert
Incredible. Although Pine Valley is a sterner test of your golf game (as indeed are the likes of Shinnecock, Muirfield, Merion etc), nothing I've played thus far tops Cypress Point. It's justly celebrated for the 15th and 16th, but the earlier holes are fantastic. The whole atmosphere makes it a special place. If you ever get the chance to play it then drop everything and do it. Golfing heaven! Oh, and as for how to be invited, it's not what you know, it's who...
November 30, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Mike
January 29, 2012
You dont have to know anyone in the UK to play some of the best courses in the world - The home of golf, the peoples game, not the elect few !
eric olson
I was lucky enough to be on the course maintenance staff form 99 - 01, and with that got to play the course many times. During my time there, we were very active in the renovation of the course to what A.M. designed in 1928. Dunes were restored, bunkers replaced, and greens returned to the original contours. The course has been described as the holy grail of golf, and I will tell you it is better than that!! First of all, 18 is not just a walk back to the clubhouse. Granted the originally designed tee, on the cliffs, would have been more dramatic and more dangerous, I think people don't like the hole because you have to think and not just pull out the $400 driver. A tee shot must be acurate in distance and direction to even have a chance at getting in the correct positon on a very difficult green. The walk up the Fwy to the green is incredable, with an unblocked view back to the Pac Ocean and the Fwy lined with the charicteristic bleached skeleton Cypress trees, you will not forget the 18th. Once at the green complex you will love newly renovated bunkers, I was in-charge of restoring those. The rest of the course has been talked about enough for everyone to know it is increadble, but the feeling of walking those Fwys when your group may be the only one on the course is electric. And when you cross 17 mile drive from 14 green to 15 tee , it it all you can do to catch your breath. It is an old golf course that some modern players may not like, or understand, but you have to think your way around it and not just hit driver!! Without a question the best course in the world, and I have been lucky enough to play Pebble, nextdoor to Cypress and Monterey Penn CC, Pasatempio, Muirfield, Crystal Downs, St Andrews and The Brabazon in the UK. Benifits of being good at Golf Course Managemnt. I will never forget my time at Cypress, and still remember the lump in my throat I had the last time I got to walk up the 17th Fwy and looked around at the Pacific and the Cypress Forest.
May 18, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Andy Pollock
February 28, 2013
Great to read all the reviews but the best summary is by the member of the green staff involved in the changes around 2000. Some people dismiss the eighteenth but his summary is spot on, it is both a tricky and good looking hole. A great summary and I could do no better just to add that Cypress is the greatest golfing experience matched only by driving off the first at St Andrews for the first time!
Tom Way
I felt that cypress point was without a doubt the most compelling assortment of holes I have ever been lucky enough to step foot on. The 16th drop par 3 over water with bunkers surrounding the edge of the cliff was magnificent and although the relatively short par 4 second was on paper the easiest on the course it in no way played that way. The endulating hills, dips and bunkers along with the roaring cyprian ocean below all came together to produce a fantastic sensational course.
December 01, 2007
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Tim McDonald
The first six holes start eastward and inland and feel grand like Augusta National, the next six holes are links styled as you head back towads the Pacific Ocean and the final six holes feel similar to Pebble Beach.
October 03, 2007
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

meilers
I had the opportunity to play the course in June of 2006...what a treat. From the first tee shot to the last approach shot the course is spectacular. We had wonderful weather which made the day all the more enjoyable. Although not the longest of courses, you have to work your ball around the course if you want to score. I was lucky enough to hit a rescue club on 16 to 20 feet and make the putt.
August 30, 2007
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Rob
Cypress Point Club has got to be the most beautiful set of 18 holes I have had the honor of playing. I got the chance to play the course earlier this month with my father and can honestly say that it is a memory I will carry with me wherever I go. The finishing holes are some of the most scenic in all of golf. Nothing compares to the sites and the sounds of playing golf right beside the Pacific ocean. If you ever get the chance to play, do not even think twice about it.
July 19, 2007
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful