20 Clubhouse Road,
California (CA) 95060,
- +1 831 459 9155
2 miles N of Santa Cruz
Welcome - contact in advance
Pasatiempo was the vision of expert horsewoman, lady golfer and entrepreneur Marion Hollins – the only woman in America with a men’s polo handicap. The great Alister MacKenzie designed the course and it opened for play in 1929 with a mixed exhibition foursome between Marion Hollins, Bobby Jones, Glenna Collett and Cyril Tolley.
The course is set on the rolling southern hills near Monterey Bay and it’s these slopes that provide much of the Pasatiempo drama. Pasatiempo has a number of Spanish meanings including, “hobby”, “pastime” or a “relaxed passage of time.” Certainly the front nine is a relaxed affair that offers straight tree-lined fairways, but the back nine is a monumental challenge with deep intimidating ravines – known as barrancas in Spanish – which cut across the fairways and greens.
In the early 1990s, club historian Robert Beck discovered many old course photographs and so Pasatiempo embarked on a lengthy restoration programme. The club entrusted Tom Doak with the task. Doak is an admirer of MacKenzie’s work and was therefore the perfect man for the job. The restoration of Pasatiempo completed in 2007 and Doak commented as follows:
“The restoration project was unusual in that we did the work over a period of years in order to keep the course in play throughout. We had the challenge of working with several green committees through the process, but their vision was always clear and consistent — to restore MacKenzie's design as closely as possible. Moreover, I would like to thank the three men who were a part of the project from beginning to end — club historian Bob Beck, who kept digging throughout the project for more photos to help us get things right; superintendent Dean Gump, who kept us organized and got us whatever we needed; and my lead associate Jim Urbina, who managed to keep finding time to get back to Pasatiempo in between building some great new courses for us. Dr. MacKenzie would be proud of them all.”
Undeniably, Pasatiempo is an entertaining course that holds the attention from the opening drive to the last putt. This semi-private club is one of the greatest public access courses in America and, in this day of so many closed and private Top 100 Golf Clubs, we raise our glasses to Pasatiempo.
Thank you Pasatiempo for opening your Dr. Alister MacKenzie Design to the public. Had to play this course that was the inspiration for Bobby Jones to ask Dr. Mackenzie to design his Augusta National. The design was excellent and the bunkering around the greens was outstanding. The undulating greens had character and the course blends in naturally with the sand hills that overlook Monterey Bay. The condition of the course was outstanding and enjoyed every minute of my two rounds here. Pasatiempo is now one of my all time favorites that I have played. I can see why Mackenzie lived here until his death (his ashes were spread on the course) and as he said "I have always wanted to live where one could practice shots in one's pajamas before breakfast." Great job Dr. Mackenzie and thanks Pasatiempo for restoring the course to the original design.
The first 2 holes are downhill solid par 4s that measure 457 and 437 yards. The third is a slightly uphill 235 yard par 3 that is protected by 5 bunkers and is a true test. The fourth is a slightly downhill 378 yard par 4 with a long narrow green again protected by 5 well placed bunkers. The fifth is another solid 190 yard slightly downhill par 3 that is again protected by 5 bunkers. The sixth is an uphill 567 yard par 5 with Dr. Mackenzie's home on the left side of the fairway. This is a good birdie opportunity with the green surrounded by 3 snakelike bunkers. The seventh is an uphill 348 yard par 4 with trees framing the fairway and a long narrow green protected by 3 bunkers. The eighth is a downhill 176 yard par 3 that I thought was the easiest of the par 3s on the front nine. The green was one of the largest on the course protected by 4 bunkers. The ninth is a 500 yard par 5 that goes back to the clubhouse and is a slight dogleg to the right and another good birdie opportunity to this elevated green.
The back nine starts out with a strong 440 yard par 4 with a large almost square green and a unique design of 6 bunkers short left of the green and a single bunker over the green. The eleventh is an uphill 392 yard par 4 that I thought was the most difficult par 4 on the back. The downhill twelfth is a reasonably easy 373 yard dogleg left par 4 with the green shaped like a bell and protected by 3 bunkers. The thirteenth is a slight dogleg left 531 yard par 5 with 5 large bunkers protecting the green. The green was one of the most interesting on the course and the greens crew could have a lot of interesting pin placements. The fourteenth is a 429 yard par four with a long narrow green protected by 3 bunkers. The fifteenth is a nice short 141 yard par 3 with a large bunker protecting the back of this long narrow green. The front was protected by another 4 bunkers that just seemed to fit in so naturally with the terrain. The 387 yard par 4 16th was one of my favorites on the course. The tee shot was the only blind tee shot of the day and getting to the top of the hill was one of the most outstanding green complexes I have ever seen. The three tiered green is protected by a large bunker to the right of the green and another short left. The uphill 371 yard par 4 seventeenth was relatively easy with the long narrow green the only on the course without any bunkers. The round finishes with a downhill 169 yard par 3 where accuracy is key. A canyon is in front of the green as well as 2 bunkers in the front and 2 bunkers over the green.
Would highly recommend Pasatiempo to any golfers that want to play a classic Dr. Alister MacKenzie Design. A truly enjoyable experience that may be as close as I will get to playing Augusta National.
Click to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
In 2011 I came by accident to this course and was marvelled by its beauty and challenge. Last week I had the chance to play it twice in 5 days and all I need to say it that I´m in deep love with this place and course. I was really looking forward to the replay and when I arrived to my first round it was like the first time taking many pics of the Club House and of course from this very well designed layout. The second day we played sun came out during nthe round and got some fantastic shots from the last holes, specially 16 and 18 maybe the best 2 holes on the back 9.
This course offers both beauty and challenge, specially around the greens and when putting. I got beaten both times not being able to score but all the same it was a fantastic time, It is a must play if you come here. And there are many holes which from the tee feel short or easy but when you play them you see the challenge is very big.
One last recommendation: if you come to the area, play it twice!!
In 1993, Pasatiempo was rated No. 100 on the list. Would it still be on next year, or the next? I wondered. Was it worth the chance that it might drop off? An unusual combination of public and private, it’s not cheap to join but allows public play. It’s located in Santa Cruz, California, about 50 miles up the coast from the more famous Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Cypress Point. I was in the vicinity, so I decided to play it. Am I glad I did! I’ve been back twice and would play it again in an instant.
Holes Number 1 and 2 work their way downhill toward the pacific, framing the ocean with Cypress trees the entire way…
As you walk up the 6th fairway, approximately 100 yards from the green, you see the home in which MacKenzie once lived, a fitting shrine for the world’s greatest golf course architect. Number 16 was MacKenzie’s favorite hole in golf, which is saying something since he designed some of the most famous par 3’s in existence. “The 16th green is a garden spot,” he once said. “After playing a drive over the point of the hill, you hesitate to spoil the delightful quiet of this grassy velvet nestling in the trees. It is indeed a beautiful par 4.”
None of the other courses MacKenzie designed are public. So if you get a chance to play Pasatiempo, don’t hesitate! Larry Berle.
We arrived early in the morning and when got into The Club House you already feel there is something special about it, you can see pictures, drawings, souvenirs, history about not only the course but also about Dr Mackenzie as well. And a lot about LPGA Star Juli Inkster who won 7 Career Majors and is the Club Pro! After warming up, we started the game to the first two downhill par 4s, which are wide and generous, but with very tricky greens, the breaks of the putting surfaces are very tough to find. It is fair to say that greens were in superb shape and rolling at a speed of at least 10ft in the Stimpmeter. The first true test came on 3rd, a 235yds par 3 into the wind and uphill, with a very narrow entrance and plenty of bunkers. Although all of us 4 are scratch golfers, only one could score bogey, the other 3 made double bogey!!! Then we came to the very special place of the course, par 5 hole 6 where Dr Mackenzie’s house is located. It is a very simple building but it really shows how simple and special he was. What will make it even better is that I scored my only birdie after drive, drive and a lob wedge towards 20 inches from the hole.
Tee number 10 is where the golf courses starts, and what is even better is that it is not a long course, but yes a very strategic one, and there is were I failed scoring 5 consecutive bogeys from 10 to 14. Although Allister says par 4 16th is the best “two shot hole” he ever designed, I believe 11 and 12 should get some credit as well. All together these back 9 give you the best golfing experience you can imagine. And the best comes the last for that dramatic par 3 18th, where you need a yes-or-yes 160yds carry, if you miss start to count in double bogey again. But job is not finished if you hit the green, as you will find a very tricky one: I had a 10 footer for birdie and could not make it in 5 tries, you could not believe how big the break was. And after golf a huge burger at the Club House ended a perfect day: amigos if you love Augusta, you need to visit Pasatiempo at least once!!!