A walk in the park: Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz
Located just north of the Monterey Peninsula, Pasatiempo Golf Club is one of California's great historic golf courses open to the public.
Designed by Alister Mackenzie and opened in 1929, the semi-private club offers blocks of public times daily to go with its member play. The offer shouldn't be refused, as the course is one of Mackenzie's best, checking in on Golf Digest's "Top 100 Courses You Can Play" list. Mackenzie has said it was his best design.
At less than 6,600 yards with generous fairways, it's a little dated for longer professionals, but it's certainly a worthy test for most players thanks to lots of sand traps and difficult, fast greens.
Pasatiempo Golf Club begins with an elevated tee shot that overlooks the ocean in the background. The course winds through gently rolling, often shady corridors of a residential community. What makes this course so great is its walk-in-the-park setting to go with distinct, unique golf holes and particularly their green complexes. No two holes or greens are alike, and some can be quite breathtaking. The green of the 17th hole, a short par 4, slopes severely from back to front.
Another unique trait in this par-71 design is that it culminates with a short par 3 that plays about 150 yards from the member tees. The tee shot plays over a ravine to a green surrounded with deep traps.
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