Proper Golf

Friday, March 2, 2012

Review: Pasatiempo

Pasatiempo Golf Club, 1929
Architect: Alister Mackenzie
Santa Cruz, CA

Pasatiempo has plenty of the artistic artistic flair Dr. Alister Mackenzie is known for as seen in
the bunkering and contouring of the downhill approach to the long par-4 #10

The home of Dr. Mackenzie is one of the best courses anyone can play in the country. Semi-private Pasatiempo Golf Club looks out over Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean from the elevated valley of Santa Cruz. The original routing and greens remain intact, and most of the bunkers restored over the last 15 years, however, the development along the perimeter of the property has cramped a bit of the original feel, especially on the front nine. (see historic photos from the clubs website:

#2 accepts low running shots into the fall away green, playing downhill
and sloped right-left the entire way

The course is separated into two distinct sections of nine holes. The front nine, on the lower half of the property, starts off downhill looking out over the water from an elevated tee next to the clubhouse and has 3 short holes. The better holes on the front are: #2 with a bit of an awkward tee shot to a hidden fairway below and a wild contour short right of the green, and the par3's #5 and 8 which both have lots of movement in and around the green allowing balls to roll in close to pins, or trickle to the far side side of the putting surface.

The most pictured hole on the course, #16, is a real beauty with the massive bunker on the right
approach after not being able to see the green from the tee, but it is the green,
one of the steepest in the world, which makes it great.

The back nine, is a bit of a different story. One of the best inward nines in golf, Mackenzie routed the second half of the course on the higher land above the clubhouse where he takes you over and around the baranca on most of the holes. With some of the most unique par-4's around, the golfer hardly cares how difficult #10, 11, 14, and 16 are because each uses the landscape to create beautiful and strategic golf holes which are indescribably fun. Without a week hole on the side, what makes Pasatiempo such a joy to play, is that 4 of the last 5 holes play at least partially downhill, making the walk in a little more pleasurable when they are most tired.

Playing across the deep barrancas on the back nine, is as exiting a natural hazard as there is.
(# 10 pictured)

... I would try to schedule your round early, because this course is so interesting, you are going to want to play it twice.

A view back at #18 tee and the gnarly hazard the par-3 finishing hole plays across

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