All you really have to know about Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz is that it might have been legendary Alister MacKenzie’s favorite among all the famous courses he designed.
MacKenzie, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, loved the place so much that he lived in a house alongside the par-5, 510-yard sixth hole at Pasatiempo for several years before his death at the age of 72 in 1934.
Pasatiempo Golf Coures, which opened in 1929, is one of more than 50 courses designed by MacKenzie and at least three remain among the best-ever—Augusta National (with Bobby Jones), Cypress Point in Monterey and Royal Melbourne in Australia.
Count Pasatiempo as one of his sleepers, although it went through tough times after the Great Depression, with some bunkers eliminated or altered, greens shrunk and tees moved, all to make the course easier to maintain.
However, the course was reworked to MacKenzie’s original design with a $2-million restoration overseen by Tom Doak and Jim Urbina from 2005-07 after vintage photographs were found that showed the course in its early splendor.
Pasatiempo measures 6,495 yards and plays to a par of 70 from the back tees, with a course rating if 72.5 and a slope rating of 141. But with its changes in elevation, challenging greens and fairways with little rollout, it plays more like 7,400 yards.
The course has hosted several USGA Championships, including the 1986 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 2004 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur.
On a clear day, you can see the Pacific Ocean from the clubhouse and first tee, but don’t get caught looking at the scenery because Pasatiempo starts with a 440-yard par-4, a 403-yard par-4 and a 200-yard par-3.
Pasatiempo’s most famous hole might be the par-4, 367-yard 16th hole, which MacKenzie once called “best two-shot hole I know.”
You can take it from the master, or play it yourself. Click here to check out Pasatiempo Golf Course.