Conquering Santa Cruz’s Pasatiempo!!!

Some of you may have not heard of Pasatiempo Golf Club?  Pasatiempo is this amazing golf gem in Santa Cruz!!!  Designed by the same designer (Alister MacKenzie) as Augusta National (where the Masters is played each year!), the course is truly one of the top 50 courses in the country!!!  It doesn’t get the glory of Augusta as it sits quietly atop the Santa Cruz hills with vistas of the Pacific Ocean, but it’s every bit as challenging!!!  Large sloping greens with huge breaks, and deep white sand bunkers are there to intimate the player on every hole.  It’s really a special place for the golfer who wants to test their game!

Early Sunday morning, fresh from our Phoenix tournament which ended Saturday evening, we hopped on a plane and headed for Santa Cruz to take on the Pasatiempo challenge in the UC Santa Cruz Invitational!!!  It was something that the seniors wanted to experience once again before they graduated (they had played the course their sophomore year)!  Each hole on the course is memorable, and it’s truly an experience like no other!!! It was also a perfect “initiation” for the future leaders of our team (our sophomores!) to have the opportunity to play the course as well!  And what an experience it was!!!

We arrived into the windy city of San Jose late Sunday morning, picked up our bags, food and our van and headed out for the 45-minute ride to Santa Cruz.  On our way, we felt a few gusts of wind moving the van around a bit, and we quietly stared out at the rain through the windows, which was coming sideways at us at one point!!  A few times, I silently asked myself, “Why did I schedule this?”  I mean, “Why not just take our trophy from Phoenix and call it good???” 🙂

But, we are a tough team, and as we continued on, eventually, the weather seemed to show some breaks, so I had hope that the worst weather was over.  As we drove into Santa Cruz and made our right turn onto Pasatiempo Drive (which is it’s own “Magnolia Lane”)—the entire team started getting excited in getting their first glimpse of the course!  However, within 100 yards, we were startled at the sight of a fallen gigantic coastal cypress, which was lying on its side and across the number 3 green and a couple of the large bunkers!!!  We couldn’t believe our eyes—such a beautiful tree had fallen on our beloved course!!  As we drove further toward the clubhouse, we discovered more large branches and trees down along the course.  It was sad to see.  Clearly, a huge storm had come through the night before and had caused some damage to the course, and we were wondering if we would be playing at all.

I checked into the pro shop, and they said that the front nine was closed, but the back nine remained open, so we could get in a little practice!!  Darn—just when we thought we might get to dodge this one!!  Haha!  No, instead, we were taking it on—with some down trees and all!!!  Actually, it only added to the excitement to play a course that has been around for over a century, has a ton of history (including hosting many USGA national tournaments over the years), but would not be hurt by a few fallen trees!!!  We slowly but surely were getting ready to take it on!!!

And take it on we did!!!  Wow!!  Another “Wow!!!”  The team played great!!!  They had their not so great holes, but they had their GREAT holes too!!!  We had pars on the tricky and treacherous #16!!!  We had some near “hole in ones” on #18!!!  We had beautiful bunker shots, and putts that seemed professional!!  All and all, we accepted the challenge and learned so much about our games as well as the strength of our team!!!!  Truly a special place to tee it up where you can feel the ongoing history in the making!!!  We made our own history at Pasatiempo and although our pictures won’t be up in the clubhouse next to LPGA Hall of Famer, Juli Inkster (who grew up on the course!), the memories from this entire 6-day journey (Phoenix and then Santa Cruz) will last a life-time for this team!!!  Go Lady Bruins!!!

Photo’s of the trip to follow shortly!!!  Trouble with loading right now–stand by!!!  🙂

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