Sunday, February 05, 2006

Review: Pasatiempo Golf Club

I was born and raised in the southern part of Santa Clara valley. Ever since I started playing golf almost 10 years ago, whenever I drove to Santa Cruz on highway 17 and passed by Pasatiempo, I would say to myself 'i gotta play that course sometime'. I finally did this last Saturday.

View from the clubhouse of Hole 9, Par 5, 489 yds (photo by Dennis Yang)

The course at Pasatiempo Golf Club is a gem. Although the price is a little steep, it is definitely a course you should play once in your golfing lifetime. There is definitely a lot of lore that surrounds this course, being that it was designed by Alister MacKenzie (in fact he owned a house on the course itself). Mr. MacKenzie also designed Augusta National and Cypress Point. Golf Digest rates Pasatiempo as one of the top 3 courses you can play in California, and is ranked #31 in “Golf Digest’s 2005 America’s Greatest Public Courses.”

Pasatiempo offers two unique experiences going out and coming in. The first 9 is more about a few very long holes, but more straightforward in the way they are played. On your first hole, you start on a long 460yd par 4. Although with a nicely elevated tee box, if you weren't hitting your driver well on the range beforehand, this first test could be very difficult. The second hole is 440 yds, also favoring the long hitter. One of my favorite holes was the 3rd, par 3, at 217 yds, all up hill and was into the wind that day for us. From the tee it looked gorgeuos with all of the surrounding bunkers artistically placed. Figuring it was playing more like 250 yds, I was able to rip a 3 wood into the left rough and got up and down with a really delicate chip shot. Walking away with a 3 on that hole was felt like a great birdie.

Hole 3, 217 yd par 3

The front nine of Pasatiempo felt like a great classic course. It looked pleasant to the eye, and seemed fairly straightforward. The back nine was a completely different course in our eye. On the back nine, you are greeted with a large ravine to carry your drive over, and then a fairly deep well protected green. And then #11, probably the most difficult hole on the course, was an uphill par 4 with a long ravine to carry on your second shot to a very protected green with OB on the left and the ravine on the right. A perfeectly place drive and one of the best long irons of your life is a requirement on this hol. Overall, the back nine was quite different than the front in that you were better off knowing where to hit it, especially off the tee, to leave yourself a good angle on the approach. It was a challenge and showed even more character to this great course.

The bunkers at Pasatiempo had a unique look to them. They blended in very naturally, and many of the lips were forgivingly low. The greens were on the slow side, which is common for the type of grass used on greens in the Monterey Area.

Finally, the staff at Pasatiempo were very friendly, and the bar makes a really good Bloody Mary. The course also has a driving range (no grass tees).


At 5:55 AM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

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