Pasatiempo Golf Club Course Review
Pasatiempo Golf Club opened for play in 1929 and was designed by the legendary Alister Mackenzie, Mackenzie called Pasatiempo Golf Club his greatest creation even ahead of Augusta and Cypress Point Club. The course is located in Santa Cruz, California on what was a old farm site owned by Marion Hollins the creator of Cypress Point Club 40 miles to the south on Monterrey peninsula. Originally she wanted to use the land as a horse training facility but Mackenzie convinced here otherwise and Pasatiempo Golf Club became a reality. Pasatiempo Golf Club is where the idea for Augusta National was born, on the way to the US Amateur in Pebble Beach Bobby Jones stopped here and visited with Alister Mackenzie about the idea of creating a world class golf course and the rest is history. Mackenzie lived on the six hole at Pasatiempo right up until his passing in 1934, you can see his house as you walk towards the green you can miss it, its the house with the green shutters.
The course itself is very technical and requires solid course management skills and shot making to score well, the fairways are generous at Pasatiempo, its the second shot where the course really shows its teeth. The good doctor would get the ideas for is bunker shapes from cloud formations in sky and thus no two bunkers are the same shape here. The greens at Pasatiempo have some incredible slopes to them, if you don’t put you ball in the correct spots you can end up a lot further from the hole from where you shot landed and have a very difficult putt back to the pin. The holes wind their way up and down hills here and extra clubs are needed on a good majority of the holes. Julie Inkster grew up playing Pasatiempo as a child and if you get a chance to play here you can see why she turned into the star she is on the LPGA tour.
In the last few years Pasatiempo has been under a water restriction as a result of prolonged drought in California, the greens and surrounding area are watered as well as the tee boxes, but the fairways receive minimal watering making it play fairly hard and fast.
Hole Descriptions and Photos
1st Hole 457 yds Par 4
The first hole at Pasatiempo is a long downhill par 4, the tee box is elevated above the fairway, the fairway itself is fairly wide giving you the opportunity to get that opening drive into short grass. The second shot into the green will be played with a long iron or hybrid, there is a bunker short left of the green that catches any shots short left of the green. Your second shot should optimally land left of the pin giving you the best opportunity at birdie and if you miss the green left it easier to get up and down. This green has some slope to it particularly on the right side and small slope front left of the green.
2nd Hole 437 yds Par 4
The second hole is another long hole but doesn’t play its yardage, this fairway is slopes down towards the green and is cantered heavily right to left here, your drive should be aimed at the last cypress trees down the right side. The fairway is fairly wide here so you shouldn’t find any trouble with a good drive. The second shot into the green here requires an accurate shot as there is no real bailout area here, shot landing on the far right side of the will generally come down towards the middle of the green. The green surface is on the smaller side and has slope in various spots.
3rd Hole 235 yds Par
At 235 yards, this hole is by far the toughest green to hit as Pasatiempo, the hole is all carry to the green forget about all the bunkers guarding all sides except the front of the green. A well placed shot here is at the left front corner of the green if you ball doesn’t make the green at least you second shot should be played from the green stuff. The green surface itself doesn’t have as much slope as some of the other greens so if you miss the green you still have a good opportunity to hit the green with a well executed recover shot.
4th Hole 378 yds Par 4
This shorter par 4 is not about length of the tee its about the placement of your drive. A well placed driver here is at the left green side bunker giving you the best angle attack on every pin on the green. The second shot here requires an accurate shot into this smallish green, the green is well bunkered and missing the green can cost you. The green surface is flat around the middle with the edges being slanted towards the middle.
5th Hole 190 yds Par 3
This another par 3 that will test all of your skills, you must carry the ball to the green here or run the risk of finding one of the green side bunkers. This green is very deceiving, from the tee it looks like there is lots of space on the right side of the green but in fact except for the back portion of the ride side the green is basically giant false front, anything landing short of the top tier will most likely come back off the front of the green. The left portion of the green is the highest point on the green as you can see by the second picture. If your ball gets above the hole here expect to make a bogey.
6th Hole 567 yds Par 5
This long par 5 is straight away, you aim your ball at the two palm trees in the distance, the fairway slopes from right to left in the landing area down the right side and there is a hidden bunker that you don’t see from the tee down the left side of the fairway from the tee. Your second shot should be played 100yds short of the green to avoid the bunker located 50 yds from the green on the right side of the fairway. The aim point is at the palm trees again, the left side is all OB running up to the green. The third shot into the green is wide open for a shot coming in from close to the green and gets tougher the further away from the green you get. The green surface is fairly flat except for the back right corner where there green runs up to a small tier.
7th Hole 348 yds Par 4
This short par 4 is setup by the drive, the longer hitters can layup with a long iron and have a wedge in for their second shot. The fairway slopes from left to right so your drive must be played up the left side of the fairway. The second shot into the green is uphill here and be sure to take enough club as there is bunker front right that protects any shots into the middle and back pin placements. The green is surrounded by bunkers here so an accurate shot is mandatory if you want to make a par or birdie. The green surface is flat in the front portion and as you move to towards the back the green slopes from right to left on the right side.
8th Hole 176 yds Par 3
This short par 3 has a very Cypress Point feel to it, bunkers surround the entire green here, this is the type of golf hole that would look better in black and white, talk about golden age golf architecture. The best shot here will always be below the hole, if your above the hole anywhere here you’ll be looking at a three put. The front portion of the green has a very nasty slope that will bring your ball of the front of the green. Its too bad we only see this type of hole on a select few courses in the US and Australia.
9th Hole 500 yds Par 5
When I first saw this hole it almost immediately reminded me of 15th and 18th hole at Bethpage Black at least this hole is a par 5. Your tee shot here must be threaded between the two fairway bunkers in the landing zone. The bunker on the left is more in range for the majority of players, the bunker on the right is only in range for the longer hittters. The second shot is uphill to a very generous fairway that allows you to hit whatever club you feel comfortable hitting. Favour the far right side of the fairway for a good angle of attack on your third shot. The third shot is played uphill again and over a couple of bunkers make sure to take at least one club extra to reach the green. The green surface has some slope to it but nothing like some of the other greens on the front nine.
10th Hole 440 yds Par 4
Another one of Pasaitempo’s golf club’s famous holes, your drive here is hit over a gulley to a fairway that bends towards the left, your aim point here is at the chimney on the house down the right side. Depending on how far your tee shot goes you may find you ball in the left rough as a result of the cantered slope towards the left side of the fairway. Your second shot into the green is slightly downhill to a green guarded by a bunker that well below the green surface. The best play here is to aim at the back bunker on the right side of the green. The green surface here is a typical Pasatiempo green with lots of undulation.
11th Hole 392 yds Par 4
The toughest hole at Pasatiempo golf club, both the drive and second shot are uphill, the drive is straight away and a 230yd shot will put you in good position for the second shot, to make the drive tougher the left side of the fairway is all hazard up to the cross bridge. The second is uphill to a green that is 15ft above the fairway and taking at least 1 club extra is necessary here in order to reach the green surface. The shot is made tougher as a result of a bunker front the right side of the green and a ball must carried over this bunker in order to reach the putting surface. The green in general slopes from back to front here with a bit up undulation spread throughout the green.
12th Hole 373 yds Par 4
This short downhill hole is setup by the drive. Favor the right hand side of the fairway here, if you down the left you might not have a clear shot into the green. A shot around 230 yds will setup your second shot into the green. The second shot into the green has bunkers on both side here and a small little hollow at the front of the green. This green has ample room, a shot hit at the middle of the green will never hurt you here. The green surface here is for the most part flat expect the back left corner with has some slope to it and provides a good example of a sucker pin.
13th Hole 531 yds Par 5
The only par 5 on the back nine at Pasatiempo is a great example of course strategy at its finest. Your drive here must be played over the bunker on the left side of the fairway or go around it on the right side. The best angle here is between the flag and the tallest tree on the right side. The fairway canters from right to left here so any shot down the right will filter back towards the middle of the fairway. Your second shot here should be layed up at least 100 yds short of the green. There are a series of bunkers short of the green that if you found gives you those dreaded 50-70 yds bunker shots that you don’t want. The third shot into the green is also no bargain. The green is surrounded by some incredible bunkering very reminiscent of the good doctors bunkering style. The green surface isn’t very large and does have some nice slope to it in the back right hand corner.
14th Hole 429 yds Par 4
This par 4 is one of the only flat holes you’ll find at Pasatiempo, at 430 yds its one of the tougher holes here. Your drive should be kept right of the green side bunkers as there is a hollow down the left side that makes it difficult to get the ball in the air for your second shot. The shot into the green here is open in the front and left portions giving you a good opportunity to make par even if you don’t get on the putting surface. The green surface sits at a 45 degree and from left to right making a back pin very hard to get to.
15th Hole 141 yds Par 3
This hole reminds me of some another famous par 3 that Mackenzie designed, I wonder if the idea for the 12th at Augusta came from this hole. Like the 12th you have to carry your ball over a small hazard to a green guarded in the front and back by a series of bunkers. The green surface is elongated and narrow front to back, this green has a large amount of undulation all over the green. to give you any example my put was 20ft away on the right side and my putt broke 6ft. Its a tough hole even if you hit the green a par is not guaranteed.
16th Hole 387 yds Par 4
This hole is one of Mackenzie’s most famous greens, from the tee the hole is under 400 yds and a driver is not required here, any shot around 230 yds will put you in a good position to attack the pin. Your drive should be take just to the right of the largest tree down the right side of the fairway. The second shot is to say the least very intimidating here, there are two bunkers that protect the left and right sides of the green here and the good majority of pins on this hole are on the very back level. Any shot coming up short here may roll all the way down to the front of the green, a good majority of the green is basically a false front. There is one other pin location just below the top tier on the left that is sometimes used. You can see in the forth picture just how much elevation change there is between the front and back of the green
17th Hole 371 yds Par 4
The last par 4 at Pasatiempo is a hole that gently moves uphill, there is a bunker down the right side that is in play for the majority of players, the longer players don’t have to worry as they can comfortably carry it. The second shot into the is again gently uphill, there are no bunkers around this green. The second shot play is to take an extra club to make sure you get onto the putting surface. The green surface here is very long with the back portion shaped almost like a rectangle and in general the green slopes from back to front. If the pin is in the front portion its better to stay to the right of the pin.
18th Hole 169 yds Par 3
Your round comes to an end with another outstanding par 3, its another one of the many classic golden age holes throughout Pasatiempo Golf Club. The bunkering here is amazing, no two bunkers look alike. Its not a long hole by any means but your tee shot must be carried over the ravine in order to reach the green. The green itself is large on the right side and get narrower as you move towards the left edge, a good tee shot will stay to the right of the pin most likely giving you a uphill putt.