Pasatiempo Golf Club

Pasatiempo Golf Club – Played 2013

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #24, Golf Magazine #53, Golf Magazine Public #13
  • Location: 20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz, California
  • Year: 1929
  • Architects: Dr. Alister MacKenzie & Marion Hollins
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Championship: 6,500 yards, Par 70, 72.4 Rating/143 Slope
  • Middle: 6,125 yards, Par 70, 70.8 Rating/135 Slope
  • Forward: 5,685 yards, Par 72, 68.9 Rating/130 Slope

Pasatiempo was a course I happened upon when reading Top 100 Public Courses lists. I have since heard it raved about by many in the golf media. It is currently ranked #24 on Golf Digest’s Top 100 Public. The name of the course translates to hobby or pastime.

The development of the course involved a dream team of the time. Marion Hollins, the 1921 US Women’s Amateur champion, collaborated with Dr. MacKenzie to design and develop the course. Hollins was a very interesting woman. She was a developer, entrepreneur, and athlete in a time when that was not at all common for women. She was a true trailblazer! I think Dr. MacKenzie’s reputation speaks for itself. That will happen when you design places such as Augusta National, Cypress Point, and Crystal Downs. Something you may notice from that list is that they are all private. Pasatiempo provides a great public opportunity to play one of the great doctor’s courses.

In 1996 Tom Doak was commissioned with restoring the old gem. He worked on it until the fall of 2007. The slow process allowed the course to stay open during the construction, something I am sure all the players really appreciated.

Pasatiempo was the second and last golf stop on my California excursion. I had a 7:30 tee time and didn’t get a chance to hit balls. Who needs it when you are raring to go? I was paired with an employee of the club, which allowed for some great insight into the course. Once again, my wife took the photos of this great course.

There are three teeing options at 6,521, 6,125, and 5,656 yards. I decided to play the middle set of tees, which played to a par of 70. My playing partner mentioned that the course would play longer than the stated yardage.

Hole 1 – 440 yards – Par 4

The course tests you right from the start. This two-shotter plays quite a bit downhill so you will get some roll on your tee shot.

PT 1 - TeeThe second shot is to a raised green. The photo seen here is from about 125 yards. You will see the beginning of a theme with the greenside bunkers. You will want to avoid them.

PT 1 - ApproachHere is a shot of the green, with the pin in the front sitting down in a bowl.

PT 1 - Green

Hole 2 – 420 yards – Par 4

The second is another long hole, but again the tee shot is aided by the downhill slope. A drive down the middle with a little cut works best here.

PT 2 - TeeThe approach shot, seen below, is from about 165 yards.

PT 2 - ApproachThis is a shot of the green from behind. There is ample room on the green, but you still need to avoid the bunkers.

PT 2 - GreenHole 3 – 195 yards – Par 3

The first short hole was really anything but. It played about a club longer than the card said, but we caught a break since the flag was in the front. It was at this point that my playing partner mentioned that Pasatiempo does not ease you into the round. No kidding!

PT 3 - TeeA look at the green from the fourth tee. As you can see in the previous photo, you do not want to be in the front, right greenside bunker. It is about 8 feet below the green surface.

PT 3 - GreenHole 4 – 358 yards – Par 4

Finally a little breather! A 225 yard shot down the middle here is all you need.

PT 4 - TeeThe approach shot, seen below, has a drop off to the right that should be avoided.

PT 4 - ApproachThe green has many undulations as you can see here. This would be another theme of the day. The architect did design Augusta, so it should be no surprise.

PT 4 - GreenHole 5 – 174 yards – Par 3

The fifth hole is a great par three. The green allows for a multitude of pin placements. Yet again, massive greenside bunkers frame this hole. The front right side has a big false front to note when the flag is placed on that side.

PT 5 - TeeHole 6 – 516 yards – Par 5

The first par 5 is right out in front of you. A tee shot played on a line just right of the fairway bunker in the distance will leave a good angle.

PT 6 - TeeThe sixth hole has a piece of history associated with it. It is on this hole that Dr. MacKenzie lived until his death. His home is very close to the edge of the hole and is noted with a plaque as seen below.

PT 6 - MacKenzie PlaqueAnd here is the house of the brilliant course designer.

PT 6 - MacKenzie HouseHole 7 – 335 yards – Par 4

The tee shot, seen here, plays slightly uphill through some mature trees. It had the effect of making me concentrate to hit the fairway. A 200 yard shot up the middle will leave a straight forward second shot.

PT 7 - TeeThe approach plays more uphill than the tee shot. This photo is from about 125 yards. You don’t want to be in those greenside bunkers.

PT 7 - ApproachThe green slopes back to front and left to right. There is a ridge you can somewhat see here. The putt is a lot easier if you are on the correct level.

PT 7 - GreenHole 8 – 162 yards – Par 3

This hole is a great downhill one-shotter. You can see a big slope on the left side of the green. You can take my word for it that you do not want to be chipping from the left side to this flag. My double bogey is proof!

PT 8 - TeeHole 9 – 473 yards – Par 5

The ninth hole bends slightly to the right. A good line is at the players in the distance. This one can be reached in two.

PT 9 - TeeThe approach shot is up a steep hill with the road to the left. This is the hole you pass driving to the clubhouse.

PT 9 - ApproachHere is a zoomed in shot of the approach. Take more club!

PT 9 - Approach ZoomThe green is relatively shallow. Since it’s an older course, this green was meant to accept wedges, not woods and hybrids. It also has a ridge in the middle of the green, just beyond the flag seen here.

PT 9 - GreenHole 10 – 440 yards – Par 4

The tenth is another uphill shot. A well struck tee shot will easily clear the ravines.

PT 10 - Tee

The approach shot into 10 plays really downhill after the peak with your tee ball. Note the massive front greenside bunker. This is another deep one.

PT 10 - ApproachThe green is large and slopes back to front.

PT 10 - GreenHole 11 – 379 yards – Par 4

The eleventh plays up another hill. Are you starting to see a trend here?

PT 11 - TeeThe approach is up a steep hill. My playing partner mentioned this would be the longest 379 yard hole I would ever play. He was right, I hit 3 wood from 195 yards out of the rough, so it was about a four club hill. The players on the right are on the green.

PT 11 - ApproachThe green was too big to get from a close shot. Here is the back section where the flag was on this particular day.

PT 11 - GreenHole 12 – 373 yards – Par 4

Aha! A downhill par 4, just what I needed. According to my partner, at the annual college tournament held here they make this side of the hole out of bounds. I was a little confused. He said that since 11 and 12 run parallel, players would try and hit huge cuts down 11 and try to hit the green. He said it goes back to Tiger when he played at Stanford. This is a crazy tee shot to try. Think about this if you get a chance to play it. For us mere mortals, a hybrid down the fairway mowing line is all you really need here.

PT 12 - TeeThe approach shot here is from about 125 yards.

PT 12 - ApproachHole 13 – 485 yards – Par 5

The thirteenth hole bends to the left. A good line is just right of the fairway bunker.

PT 13 - TeeHere is a photo of the second shot. A long tee shot would allow you to get home in two.

PT 13 - Second ShotThe approach shot here is from about 120 yards. This hole is just another example of exquisite bunkering at Pasatiempo.

PT 13 - ApproachThe expansive green has quite a bit of slope in the front portion. The flag was sitting in a little bowl that funneled my shot close even though it landed 5 yards right of the pin.

PT 13 - GreenHole 14 – 384 yards – Par 4

The tee shot here is straightforward. A shot at the tall trees in the distance will work just fine.

PT 14 - TeeBelow is the approach shot.

PT 14 - ApproachThis shot shows the green from the back right.

PT 14 - GreenHole 15 – 120 yards – Par 3

The fifteenth is a delightful short par 3. Just because it is short, don’t think that it’s a pushover. The bunkering is extensive and there is a hazard along the left side, short of the green, and long.

PT 15 - TeeHole 16 – 365 yards – Par 4

This is one of the course’s iconic holes. I haven’t seen a fairway that is domed like this one. A good line is up the left side at the tallest tee. Balls hit too far right will run out of fairway.

PT 16 - TeeThe photo of the approach shot seen below tells its own story. Note the huge bunkers and three-tiered green.

PT 16 - ApproachHere is a shot of the three-tiered green.

PT 16 - GreenAnd here is a zoomed in shot of the green. You definitely want to be on the appropriate level. I don’t think you could get a putt from the front to the back of the green.

PT 16 - Green ZoomHole 17 – 363 yards – Par 4

This is a straightforward hole. However, if you hit it too far up the right it can go down a hill and there is a cart path there. This is only an issue if you pound the driver.

PT 17 - TeeThe approach shot plays uphill to a flat green. You don’t want to miss to the right of the green.

PT 17 - ApproachHole 18 – 143 yards – Par 3

Pasatiempo is different from many highly rated courses in that in finishes with a par 3. I like the break from tradition. The hole is downhill over a sprawling hazard.

PT 18 - TeeHere is a zoomed in shot from the tee.

PT 18 - Tee ZoomThis shot of the green is from short and right. As with most of the greens, there is plenty of slope.

PT 18 - GreenPasatiempo was a phenomenal golf course. I am not an architecture expert, but the construction of the holes to me was very memorable. If this course was on the ocean, it would be on the every Top 100 list. As I mentioned, the bunkering was extraordinary. They posed real hazards and were in the exact places they needed to be. They framed fairways and greens perfectly.

The club itself is low-key. It was a small clubhouse and it was very relaxed. I have heard good things about the Hollins House for food, but I didn’t get a chance to get in there. Overall, the day was great. I had great insight from my employee playing partner, my wife taking pictures, and 18 great holes in two and a half hours. Days on the golf course don’t get much better than that.

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3 thoughts on “Pasatiempo Golf Club

  1. Pingback: Tiger Golf Traveler December Newsletter | Tiger Golf Traveler

  2. The 16th gets all the love, but I think the 15th is one of the best holes on the course. Looks like the flag was in the front left when you played and I *think* it was there when I played. That makes it a tiny target! I love a short par 3.

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