Best Golf Courses in Santa Cruz
Updated: Mar 6
Santa Cruz County has some beautiful golf courses and I’d even go so far as to say they may have the best kept secret golf course around. Santa Cruz County isn’t the largest county in the state by any means, but we have five excellent local golf courses (not including mini golf at the Boardwalk): Boulder Creek Golf Club, Seascape Golf Club, Pasatiempo Golf Course, DeLaveaga Golf Course, and Spring Hills Golf Course, all serving roughly 260,000 local residents and the 3+ million visitors to the area a year.
Pasatiempo Golf Course has been a Top 100 course in the United States since 2005, but for some reason, this absolute gem of a course is relatively unknown to many golfers. I guess Pasatiempo is one of those “if you know, you know” type of courses. Golfers who do know about the course, travel from all around the world to come play. In fact, a common golf trip is: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula and Pasatiempo. Pasatiempo is a semi-private golf course which has limited tee times to the public, but it really is a must-play, so make sure to plan in advance.
Pasatiempo Golf Course was designed by one of golf’s greatest golf course designers, Alister MacKenzie. Alister is known for designing Augusta National, Cypress Point and Titirangi. Stretching roughly 6,500 yards and a Par 70 the challenge out there is the greens. The greens are incredibly hard to read and adjust your speed. Generally, putting towards the ocean will be faster than putting away from it. But I can tell you from experience sometimes you’ll have a putt that will break uphill and will drive you nuts. When you flick on The Masters in early April and the best golfers in the world are competing at Augusta National, you’ll find a lot of similarities in the two courses.
Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club is also truly a one-of-a-kind experience, with most of your shots hitting between and under 100 foot redwood trees! Unfortunately, in the summer of 2020 the Santa Cruz Mountains got hit with the CZU complex wildfire that devastated Boulder Creek and Bonny Doon residents. The golf course got hit pretty badly and lost the back nine holes of the course. Unfortunately they are no current plans to rebuild the back nine at Boulder Creek. Luckily, the front nine was not hit as badly and they were able to rebuild it within short order. Going out there now is truly a blessing and amazing to support a small town course.
Seascape Golf Course is located in the seaside town of Aptos. Seascape is a challenging course with lots of undulation and nasty greens. Only being set back less than a mile from the ocean it is guarded by massive eucalyptus trees. You may get a couple small glimpses of the ocean but you can definitely hear the waves crashing on the beach.
DeLavega Golf Course is our most popular course in Santa Cruz and has been the host of The Santa Cruz City Amateur for a long time! They have a great practice facility: two-story driving range, two putting greens, and one chipping green. On a sunny day you can see the ocean on the driving range. They have a wonderful restaurant with great views and delicious food. The course itself holds a different challenge. Similar to Boulder Creek, some holes can be narrow. Insider hint, on the front nine, don’t miss right, and on the back nine, don't miss left. The course is an absolute blast with a daunting challenge.
Spring Hills Golf Course is located south county, in Watsonville. Spring Hills is very unique and the clubhouse dates back to 1911. The course isn’t the most difficult course, as it isn’t long, but it still holds a challenge with the rolling hills. The land is absolutely beautiful and you cannot miss the final hole with a true risk/reward shot. You will not want to miss this course on your next adventure to Santa Cruz.
If you are an avid golfer looking to move to Santa Cruz or purchase an investment or vacation home in Santa Cruz, there are many beautiful homes near each of the courses:
Pasatiempo Golf Course is located in a highly coveted gated community just a few minutes outside of downtown Santa Cruz and boasts many beautiful multi-million dollar homes. In 2022 the least expensive home in Pasatiempo (a 3 bed/2bath 1,972 SF fixer) sold for $1.375m and the most expensive home in Pasatiempo (a 4 bed/3bath 4,678 SF architectural masterpiece) sold for $4.75m.
Seascape Golf Course in Aptos also has many beautiful homes alongside/surrounding it, but these are NOT in a gated community. Homes in this area sold for a range of $1.13-2.7m in 2022, with an average price of $1.7m and $913/SF. Nearby Seascape Beach Resort, a beautiful venue for weddings and events, offers (more) affordable vacation rental condos (with studios starting around $600k) that can be stayed in for a maximum of 90 days a year and otherwise rented out for income. Vacation rental ordinances are very strict in Santa Cruz County and these condos provide a unique opportunity for someone looking for a vacation home they can also rent out. These also come with full on-site amenities (pools, restaurant, etc), as well as an on-site rental management program.
Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club in the beautiful redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains is a nice option for those commuting from Silicon Valley and also has a much more affordable price range with condos starting around $355k and single family homes selling for up to $1.15m in 2022.
DeLaveaga Golf Course does not have many homes directly adjacent to the golf course, but nearby neighborhoods of Carbonera and Prospect Heights are highly coveted.
Spring Hills Golf Course does not have a significant residential area in the immediate vicinity, although there are some nice nearby ranch-style and horse properties, particularly as you head towards Corralitos.
Whether you are just looking to plan a golf trip to Santa Cruz County, or seeking out a second home here, you must bring along your golf clubs for some epic experiences in the redwoods and by the beach.
Questions? Adam Lopez (pic below) of Revest Homes is a local Realtor, Santa Cruz native, avid golfer, and part-time caddy at Pasatiempo. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his cell at (831)227-3887 with questions about golfing or buying/selling a home in Santa Cruz.