Before migrating to the Eastern part of the United States back in 1984, I lived in the Bay Area of Northern California for 20 years. In fact, I learned to play golf there back in the 1970’s, and the one thing I miss about living there, is the availability of quality golf courses in any direction you choose to go.
I lived in the San Jose area for the last 15 years of my tenure in California, and there were dozens of courses within 10 miles where one could walk-on in the middle of the afternoon and find a game, but for an outing to a real championship course, we used to travel down Highway 17(now Interstate 880) to Santa Cruz and the hidden gem at Pasatiempo.
For years, the great thing about Pasatiempo was, no one knew about it. Everyone would drive further down the coast to Monterey, and the great courses on the 17 mile drive, and Carmel. At one time, the “old timers”, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and others rated it as one of the best courses in the US that no one knew about.
Pasatiempo is ranked 12 in Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Courses You Can Play 2006-2007” and ranked 31 in Golf Digest’s“2005 America’s Greatest Public Courses”. Golf Digest also named Pasatiempo Golf Club as one of the top 3 “Courses You Can Play in California” (along with Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill). The magazine ranked Pasatiempo 71 in the “Top 100 Courses in the U.S. (private and public)”, up 13 places over the 2003 ranking.
The golf course was established in 1929, and was designed by legendary golf-course designer Alister MacKenzie. MacKenzie developed Pasatiempo ahead of his other famous gems, Cypress Point on the Monterey Peninsula and of course Augusta National. It was restored in 1996 and 2007 by Tom Doak. Pasatiempo is famous for it’s breathtaking views and Bobby Jones was in the first group to play it.
Don’t let the 6500 yard layout fool you. It is a mountain side course, and with par at 70, it is rated at 72.4. The slope rating is at 143. The little course is going to offer all the challenge you are going to want in a round of golf.
Image Courtesy Rob Babcock