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Pasatiempo was the vision of expert horsewoman, lady golfer and entrepreneur Marion Hollins – the only woman in America with a men’s polo handicap. The great Alister MacKenzie designed the course and it opened for play in 1929 with a mixed exhibition foursome between Marion Hollins, Bobby Jones, Glenna Collett and Cyril Tolley.

The course is set on the rolling southern hills near Monterey Bay and it’s these slopes that provide much of the Pasatiempo drama. Pasatiempo has a number of Spanish meanings including, “hobby”, “pastime” or a “relaxed passage of time.” Certainly the front nine is a relaxed affair that offers straight tree-lined fairways, but the back nine is a monumental challenge with deep intimidating ravines – known as barrancas in Spanish – which cut across the fairways and greens.

In the early 1990s, club historian Robert Beck discovered many old course photographs and so Pasatiempo embarked on a lengthy restoration programme. The club entrusted Tom Doak with the task. Doak is an admirer of MacKenzie’s work and was therefore the perfect man for the job. The restoration of Pasatiempo completed in 2007 and Doak commented as follows:

“The restoration project was unusual in that we did the work over a period of years in order to keep the course in play throughout. We had the challenge of working with several green committees through the process, but their vision was always clear and consistent — to restore MacKenzie's design as closely as possible. Moreover, I would like to thank the three men who were a part of the project from beginning to end — club historian Bob Beck, who kept digging throughout the project for more photos to help us get things right; superintendent Dean Gump, who kept us organized and got us whatever we needed; and my lead associate Jim Urbina, who managed to keep finding time to get back to Pasatiempo in between building some great new courses for us. Dr. MacKenzie would be proud of them all.”

Undeniably, Pasatiempo is an entertaining course that holds the attention from the opening drive to the last putt. This semi-private club is one of the greatest public access courses in America and, in this day of so many closed and private Top 100 Golf Clubs, we raise our glasses to Pasatiempo.

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Reviews for Pasatiempo

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Description: The great Alister MacKenzie designed Pasatiempo and it opened for play in 1929 with a mixed exhibition foursome between Marion Hollins, Bobby Jones, Glenna Collett and Cyril Tolley. Rating: Jacket Fleece Boys' iXtreme Color Black Block 5.5333333333333 out of 6 Reviews: 10
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My favorite course of all time. A MacKenzie gem that luckily is public. The front 9 is good but the back 9 is brilliantly routed across several barancas. My favorite is the par 4 11th.

6 / 6
Pasatiempo
September 07, 2018


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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.

Block Black Jacket Boys' iXtreme Color Fleece 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.

6 / 6
Pasatiempo
January 20, 2017


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Thank you Pasatiempo for opening your Dr. Alister MacKenzie Design to the public. Had to play this course that was the inspiration for Bobby Jones to ask Dr. Mackenzie to design his Augusta National. The design was excellent and the bunkering around the greens was outstanding. The undulating greens had character and the course blends in naturally with the sand hills that overlook Monterey Bay. The condition of the course was outstanding and enjoyed every minute of my two rounds here. Pasatiempo is now one of my all time favorites that I have played. I can see why Mackenzie lived here until his death (his ashes were spread on the course) and as he said "I have always wanted to live where one could practice shots in one's pajamas before breakfast." Great job Dr. Mackenzie and thanks Pasatiempo for restoring the course to the original design.

The first 2 holes are downhill solid par 4s that measure 457 and 437 yards. The third is a slightly uphill 235 yard par 3 that is protected by 5 bunkers and is a true test. The fourth is a slightly downhill 378 yard par 4 with a long narrow green again protected by 5 well placed bunkers. The fifth is another solid 190 yard slightly downhill par 3 that is again protected by 5 bunkers. The sixth is an uphill 567 yard par 5 with Dr. Mackenzie's home on the left side of the fairway. This is a good birdie opportunity with the green surrounded by 3 snakelike bunkers. The seventh is an uphill 348 yard par 4 with trees framing the fairway and a long narrow green protected by 3 bunkers. The eighth is a downhill 176 yard par 3 that I thought was the easiest of the par 3s on the front nine. The green was one of the largest on the course protected by 4 bunkers. The ninth is a 500 yard par 5 that goes back to the clubhouse and is a slight dogleg to the right and another good birdie opportunity to this elevated green.

The back nine starts out with a strong 440 yard par 4 with a large almost square green and a unique design of 6 bunkers short left of the green and a single bunker over the green. The eleventh is an uphill 392 yard par 4 that I thought was the most difficult par 4 on the back. The downhill twelfth is a reasonably easy 373 yard dogleg left par 4 with the green shaped like a bell and protected by 3 bunkers. The thirteenth is a slight dogleg left 531 yard par 5 with 5 large bunkers protecting the green. The green was one of the most interesting on the course and the greens crew could have a lot of interesting pin placements. The fourteenth is a 429 yard par four with a long narrow green protected by 3 bunkers. The fifteenth is a nice short 141 yard par 3 with a large bunker protecting the back of this long narrow green. The front was protected by another 4 bunkers that just seemed to fit in so naturally with the terrain. The 387 yard par 4 16th was one of my favorites on the course. The tee shot was the only blind tee shot of the day and getting to the top of the hill was one of the most outstanding green complexes I have ever seen. The three tiered green is protected by a large bunker to the right of the green and another short left. The uphill 371 yard par 4 seventeenth was relatively easy with the long narrow green the only on the course without any bunkers. The round finishes with a downhill 169 yard par 3 where accuracy is key. A canyon is in front of the green as well as 2 bunkers in the front and 2 bunkers over the green.

Would highly recommend Pasatiempo to any golfers that want to play a classic Dr. Alister MacKenzie Design. A truly enjoyable experience that may be as close as I will get to playing Augusta National.

Click to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady

6 / 6
Pasatiempo
June 08, 2016


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John Petrovich
June 27, 2016
This reviewer's comments are right on. Although I played this course before the 2007 renovation, I was amazed at the subtle difficulties the course presented. The course itself may appear mundane on initial presentation but after 3-4 holes a golfer begins to realize the genius behind its design and beauty. The great thing about Pasatiempo is that it presents the ultimate challenge in reading greens, whether by the novice or the professional.

In 2011 I came by accident to this course and was marvelled by its beauty and challenge. Last week I had the chance to play it twice in 5 days and all I need to say it that I´m in deep love with this place and course. I was really looking forward to the replay and when I arrived to my first round it was like the first time taking many pics of the Club House and of course from this very well designed layout. The second day we played sun came out during nthe round and got some fantastic shots from the last holes, specially 16 and 18 maybe the best 2 holes on the back 9.

This course offers both beauty and challenge, specially around the greens and when putting. I got beaten both times not being able to score but all the same it was a fantastic time, It is a must play if you come here. And there are many holes which from the tee feel short or easy but when you play them you see the challenge is very big.

One last recommendation: if you come to the area, play it twice!!

6 / 6
Pasatiempo
June 01, 2016

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After the great Scottish golf course architect Alister MacKenzie had completed work on Cypress Point he was hired to design a course in the hills above Santa Cruz. When Pasatiempo opened in 1929, Bobby Jones played in its inaugural match, and it was after this experience that Jones invited MacKenzie to design his course in Augusta, Georgia.Pasatiempo means hobby or pastime in Spanish but as golf courses go, it's a genuine challenge. Both outstanding and difficult, it deserves to be in any conversation about the best courses in America that are open to the public. I've played it and the greens and bunkering are daunting, so when you make a good shot where you're supposed to, it's exhilarating.The green on the 387-yard par 4 16th hole is truly amazing and one of the best approach shots I've ever gotten to hit. It's built into the side of a hill and has three tiers. You'll first make a blind tee shot before you see it and then when you do, it blows you away. It's a spectacular hole. MacKenzie actually lived at the end of his life in a house off the 6th fairway of Pasatiempo. If I acquired a house bordering this course I'd considering moving there.
6 / 6
Pasatiempo
January 05, 2016


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One of the best courses in the world that you haven't heard of. Pasatiempo is an absolute delight, but a course that despite appearances really packs a punch. We added it to our itinerary at the last minute and despite the cost (it's not cheap at $240) we all agreed we really had stumbled upon somewhere very special indeed. As others have said, this is a Mackenzie course, and he loved it so much he decided to see out his days living next to the 6th fairway. The best way I can describe Pasatiempo is like it's as if you are strolling round a beautifully manicured garden. It's not especially long, at about 6,600 yards from the tips, but the elevation changes certainly come into play, and it no pushover. And the greens. Oh the greens. You will be hard pushed, perhaps outside of Augusta, to find greens that are as wickedly contoured as these. They are not, it is fair to say, to all tastes and even amongst our group opinions were divided. But they might take a lifetime of learning in order to play well - a luxury we did not have. At least the greens staff keep the pace of the greens slower to counteract their severity - anything faster than about 10 on the stimp and they would be unplayable. The routing is wonderful, with the topography of the land rising and falling. The front nine is pleasant and, despite a couple of extremely tough long par threes, eases you in to your round. Once you've climbed the hill back up the 9th fairway, however, the course doles out one enormous shot of adrenaline. The 10th takes you across the first of two or three ravines that feature on the back nine. The 11th, stroke index 1, is just plain difficult. The drive is straightforward, but as with all well designed holes, placement is key. The closer you keep your ball to the ravine on the left, the easier your second shot across the ravine to another seriously sloped green that sits across you. A wonderful hole. The 16th was apparently Mr Mackenzie's favourite hole and it's easy to see why, although he was perhaps a better putter than me, given that here you have to deal with a green that has perhaps four or five distinct sections.The course ends with a par 3 - and what a par 3. Back across the ravine again with an all or nothing hail Mary shot of about 165 yards to, you guessed it, a green under which I can only think a number of elephants were buried. If you play to your handicap here, then sir (or madam), I salute you. Make time in your diary for Pasatiempo - you will not be disappointed.
6 / 6
Pasatiempo
July 03, 2015


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Stephen Sloan
July 14, 2015
It is out of the way and not what you think of playing when you take a trip to California. the course makes you use every club in the bag. There is no way to play any one hole they are all unique it its own way. The architecture is incredible in that the property is on a very small piece of property. The course is always in great condition.
My favourite hole in all golf is here, so much my favourite that I built my home here. Alister MacKenzie, course designer.
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In 1993, Pasatiempo was rated No. 100 on the list. Would it still be on next year, or the next? I wondered. Was it worth the chance that it might drop off? An unusual combination of public and private, it’s not cheap to join but allows public play. It’s located in Santa Cruz, California, about 50 miles up the coast from the more famous Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Cypress Point. I was in the vicinity, so I decided to play it. Am I glad I did! I’ve been back twice and would play it again in an instant.

Holes Number 1 and 2 work their way downhill toward the pacific, framing the ocean with Cypress trees the entire way…

As you walk up the 6th fairway, approximately 100 yards from the green, you see the home in which MacKenzie once lived, a fitting shrine for the world’s greatest golf course architect. Number 16 was MacKenzie’s favorite hole in golf, which is saying something since he designed some of the most famous par 3’s in existence. “The 16th green is a garden spot,” he once said. “After playing a drive over the point of the hill, you hesitate to spoil the delightful quiet of this grassy velvet nestling in the trees. It is indeed a beautiful par 4.”

None of the other courses MacKenzie designed are public. So if you get a chance to play Pasatiempo, don’t hesitate! Larry Berle.
5 / 6
Pasatiempo
October 05, 2014


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Keith Baxter
October 05, 2014
The above review is an edited extract from A Golfer’s Dream, which has been reproduced with the author’s kind permission. A Golfer’s Dream, by Larry Berle, tells the story of how a regular guy conquered America’s Top 100 Golf Courses (following Golf Digest’s 2001/2002 list). Larry has exclusively rated for us every course in the hundred, using our golf ball rating system. However, Larry did not rate the 100 courses against every golf course he has played, but instead he rated them in relation to each other within the hundred. Consequently, in some cases, his rating may seem rather low. A Golfer’s Dream is available in Kindle format and also on Kindle Unlimited via Amazon... click the link for more. 
100 yards short of the 6th green is the location for Alister MacKenzie’s American home prior to his passing in 1934. He clearly wanted to be close to this gem. The club was founded by former US Women’s Amateur Champion, Marion Hollins who continued her partnership with MacKenzie to design the course. Having already teamed up to create Cypress Point and subsequently at Augusta National, the layout at Pasatiempo was destined for greatness. The course is characterized by dramatic elevation changes and natural hazards highlighting MacKenzie’s rugged site, yet they effortlessly blend into the surrounding environment. The design of the bunkers are original MacKenzie and have been wonderfully restored. Of all the MacKenzie courses I’ve played around the world, the bunker complexes are visually stunning and contribute to making each hole so memorable. With that said, the brutality of some of the greens give way to this course being described as “subtly diabolical”. It will break your heart at the drop of a hat. MacKenzie himself has been quoted as saying that the 16th is “the best two-shot hole I know” and described Pasatiempo’s undulating fairways as bearing a remarkable resemblance to those at the Old Course. Be sure to stop by the clubhouse to view the memorabilia case dedicated to this World Golf Hall of Fame architect.
5 / 6
Pasatiempo
December 09, 2013


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This is a fantastic course and I managed to get an online deal with a $70 discount. I chose to walk with a push cart... wish I'd just taken a cart. I was exhausted. It's not overly long, but is very hilly. Carrying my bag probably would have been easier as I could have shortcut the green to teebox paths. The course was in great condition and had just held an National Amateur championship a couple of days earlier so the pins were still in tricky positions. The greens were very tricky in places often with large breaks and multi-tiered. Several times in our group our second putt was hit further from the cup than our first putt! There is a lot of elevation change across the course, so even if you play over a dip to a landing area level with the tee box/ fairway, you have to walk down and up often which made it pretty tiring to walk (I think I'm just out of practice at walking these kinds of courses). When the sun came out and burned off the morning haze there were baetiful views down to the Ocean on the front nine.I thought the bunkering was excellent (pretty challenging) and the fairways often leave you with sloping lies. I guess this is a kind of West Coast Augusta given it was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie. I'd play it again for sure (with a cart) and keep an eye out for a good internet deal on the green fee.
I came to Pasatiempo almost by accident and I have to blame myself for not knowing that this course existed and what it means to golf history. During my last IAGTO North American Convention I was invited to Cypress Point and decided to put a couple of rounds as my invitation was some days after the end of the show. Rick Myles, fellow Tour Operator from California educated me about Pasatiempo and in that moment I realized what a big mistake would have been missing the course, which is a true masterpiece. Long before the trip I already started to read a lot about not only Cypress but also about Pasatiempo and believe me the course holds a lot of history.

We arrived early in the morning and when got into The Club House you already feel there is something special about it, you can see pictures, drawings, souvenirs, history about not only the course but also about Dr Mackenzie as well. And a lot about LPGA Star Juli Inkster who won 7 Career Majors and is the Club Pro! After warming up, we started the game to the first two downhill par 4s, which are wide and generous, but with very tricky greens, the breaks of the putting surfaces are very tough to find. It is fair to say that greens were in superb shape and rolling at a speed of at least 10ft in the Stimpmeter. The first true test came on 3rd, a 235yds par 3 into the wind and uphill, with a very narrow entrance and plenty of bunkers. Although all of us 4 are scratch golfers, only one could score bogey, the other 3 made double bogey!!! Then we came to the very special place of the course, par 5 hole 6 where Dr Mackenzie’s house is located. It is a very simple building but it really shows how simple and special he was. What will make it even better is that I scored my only birdie after drive, drive and a lob wedge towards 20 inches from the hole.

Tee number 10 is where the golf courses starts, and what is even better is that it is not a long course, but yes a very strategic one, and there is were I failed scoring 5 consecutive bogeys from 10 to 14. Although Allister says par 4 16th is the best “two shot hole” he ever designed, I believe 11 and 12 should get some credit as well. All together these back 9 give you the best golfing experience you can imagine. And the best comes the last for that dramatic par 3 18th, where you need a yes-or-yes 160yds carry, if you miss start to count in double bogey again. But job is not finished if you hit the green, as you will find a very tricky one: I had a 10 footer for birdie and could not make it in 5 tries, you could not believe how big the break was. And after golf a huge burger at the Club House ended a perfect day: amigos if you love Augusta, you need to visit Pasatiempo at least once!!!
6 / 6
Pasatiempo
June 07, 2011


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