Complete Guide to Cypress Point Golf Club
If you haven’t been treated to an organized page describing Cypress Point Golf, boy, are you going to be delighted. The truth is, not everyone knows about the unparalleled beauty and aura that surrounds this piece of property in Monterey, California. By all accounts, it’s a top-3-ranked course in the entire world.
The grounds on which Alister MacKenzie created this masterpiece are so private and exclusive that most golf fans spend their entire lives not knowing how spectacular this place really is. The good news is that we aren’t going to let that happen to you.
We gathered our top golf enthusiasts to orchestrate a guide that fills you in on what makes the club so special.
We even tracked down a writer who was fortunate enough to play Cypress Point back in 2003. Offering some perspective from someone who truly appreciates and understands the privilege it is to play the golf course will help clarify how stunning the venue is.
The goal is for you to arrive at the bottom of this page feeling as if you just got off the golf course yourself. We’ll spend time talking about how and when the golf club was opened, but the focus will be on the raw beauty that spans all 18 holes.
You will probably never get to experience Cypress Point Golf Club first-hand; hardly anyone in the grand scheme of things has. However, you can do yourself a big favor. Read along and enjoy the following sections that reveal what makes Cypress Point so revered across the golfing world.
Cypress Point Golf Club – Key Facts
- Pebble Beach, California
- Year Opened
- Owner/Operated by
- Course Designer
- Alister MacKenzie, Robert Hunter
- 6,536 yards
- Host to
- 1981 and 2025 Walker Cups, The Bing Crosby Invitational (1947-1990)
Cypress Point Golf Club was designed by legendary course architect Alister MacKenzie, and the club opened on August 11, 1928.
Along with the helping hand from author and sociologist (along with being a golf course architect) Robert Hunter, the two men went to work with the sandy land they hand in front of them. If you aren’t familiar with any of MacKenzie’s prior work, perhaps Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, rings a bell.
Alister was behind that creation, along with other gems such as Crystal Downs Country Club, Pasatiempo Golf Club, and the West Course at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, just to name a few.
Many have considered Cypress Point Golf Club the west-coast version of Pine Valley Golf Club, and that isn’t a statement to be taken lightly. It’s hard to imagine a place that is as breathtakingly gorgeous yet so challenging at the same time.
Like Pine Valley, Cypress Point is so private that they don’t even have an official website that the casual golf fan can check out.
Members of the club generally range from prominent political figures to high-net-worth executives that have fashioned some sort of relationship with the club.
Other than that, good luck getting on your name on a locker at Cypress Point Golf Club.
The way that the membership fees work at Cypress Point is rather unique. The cost of the yearly fees isn’t actually determined until the end of the year, once everything is tallied up. The total amount of money required to upkeep the club (operating and maintenance costs) is simply divided by the number of members.
Each one then pays the same amount. Regardless of if you played one round in the past 12 months and another member played 4 times per week, you both pay the same.
If you don’t like the rules, you don’t have to play along, but we can promise you that no one is complaining about being a member at Cypress Point Golf Club.
That isn’t the only quirk or nuance associated with the highly-renowned golf club located on the cliffs of Pebble Beach. Tee times start at 7:00 am, and most days, there are 8 or fewer groups on the property. Speaking of the golf course, now is an ideal time to take a closer look.
Course Details – Cypress Point Golf Club
Cypress Point Golf Club’s scorecard reads as a par 72 and a rather unimpressive 6,536 yards from the tips. The uninformed and ignorant golf fan would assume this golf course is short and relatively easy, but that’s exactly why we would call that person “ignorant.”
The holes are nestled in such a way that you feel like you are playing in heaven’s backyard. Ocean waves crashing against the boundaries of the golf course and mammoth-sized Cypress trees dominate the scenery at Cypress Point.
The first six holes take you through the forest of trees before holes 7-12 turn you out towards the sandy dunes. The final six holes lead you out on the skirts of the Pacific Ocean, forcing players to battle with the windy elements of playing a seaside golf course. You get to experience it all during a round at Cypress Point Golf Club.
For example, when you get to the putting surface on the opening hole, you’ll notice that the 2nd and 14th tee boxes, as well as the 13th green, are all within a stone’s throw.
While this point of the golf course allows you to see others around you, there will be stretches of holes where you feel like you are out on an island all by yourself.
In fact, that feeling of “being on an island” isn’t an illusion on the signature hole at Cypress Point. It becomes a reality.
The 16th Hole
Perhaps the 17th hole at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass might be more recognizable. Due to all the hoopla and drama that surrounds it during THE PLAYERS Championship every year, we understand its popularity.
But if you ask a true golf fan what the single-best par 3 in the entire world is, there ought to be no hesitation. It’s unequivocally the 16th at Cypress Point. It also might be the hardest par 3 around, especially when the weather isn’t cooperating.
If the rain and wind are up, which is quite common, even scratch golfers will be removing the headcover from either their 3-wood or driver and taking a rip at it.
When the clouds separate, and the sun is shining, there might not be a better picture to take in all of golf.
Calling the 16th hole “stunning” or “breathtaking” would be the understatement of the century. There are no words or pictures that can do the 231-yard hole the proper justice it deserves. You can read this short excerpt from ESPN.com to try and understand the feeling of standing on the tee with the ocean breeze coming in on your face.
You can watch a short video of an amateur player trying to carry the ball some 210 yards over the Pacific Ocean on a “bluebird” afternoon at the club.
Unfortunately, no matter what we give you, there is no replacing what playing the 16th at Cypress Point Golf Club is actually like. Even if you dunk one in the water and make a triple bogey, one thing is for sure.
You’ll never have a bigger smile on your face after making a triple bogey. There is no such thing as being upset or in a bad mood when you are on sacred land like the 16th at Cypress Point. As unbelievably amazing as this hole is, we shouldn’t just ignore the rest of the property.
The Rest of the Best
Getting to the 16th at Cypress Point means you just walked off another one of the best par 3s you’ll find anywhere. As if one par 3 hanging over the cliffs of the Pacific wasn’t enough, Alister MacKenzie decided to give players two of them, and he aligned them back-to-back.
The 15th hole is a much shorter hole, about 140 yards from the back tees depending on where the flag is located. If you like the 7th hole at Pebble Beach, this one will be right up your alley.
While the consecutive par 3s on the back side are ones for the ages, the back-to-back par 5s on the front nine aren’t too shabby, either.
Two Par 5s – The 5th and 6th Holes
It’s easy to get lost trying to find the 5th tee box, as it appears to be hidden between rows of gigantic trees in the middle of the woodlands. Once you hit your tee shot and emerge from the forest, you realize you are playing a ridiculously well-designed par 5.
Bunkers guard the left side of this dogleg left, ready to eat up the golf balls of any player who attempts to cut off the angle. Hitting the fairway is just objective #1, as the second shot is no bargain.
An enormous bunker appears from the right side and intrudes across the center of the fairway, causing layup shots to be a real headache. The elevated green is shaped in a way that any balls not struck crisply simply fall off the edges, where more sand traps await.
Just behind the 5th green lies the back of the 6th tee box. Here comes another right-to-left curving par 5, this one the last of the opening 6 holes that play amongst the massive vegetation. The 6th plays about 520 yards and is again well-protected by bunkers.
Once you reach the green, you might look up and to the right and see players teeing off. That’s because the teeing ground of the par-3 7th hole is brilliantly positioned in such a way to make it feel like the players are hitting right over your heads, when in reality, it isn’t so.
The 17th Hole
The 17th hole at Cypress Point can sometimes get lost in the discussion because of how prestigious the 16th hole is. That’s a shame, as this hole is as pure as it gets.
The 393-yard dogleg right plays alongside the ocean, as the tee box is perched behind the 16th green. Slip and fall, and you’ll wish you were wearing a bathing suit. You are literally standing on top of a cliff that overlooks the Pacific when you strike your tee shot at 17.
The obvious feature of the hole is the collection of Cypress trees and bunkers that are positioned in the dead-center of the fairway, less than 100 yards from the front of the putting surface.
Whatever you do, don’t miss right, as the only thing right of the fairway and green at 17 is a blue ocean for days.
You can search the globe far and wide and try to find a prettier golf course that has as much history steeped in. The only problem is, you’ll never find one.
Dropped from the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 1991
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am has utilized Cypress Point Golf Club in their rotation of courses from 1947-1990. Poppy Hills replaced Cypress Point in 1991, joining Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill as the three courses used to host the event.
To keep you current and up to date, the Shores Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club was added in 2010, taking the place of Poppy Hills. ills
The natural question is why Cypress Point was removed from the rotation in 1991. The answer is simple, and here it is.
At the end of the 1990 PGA Tour season, the tour presented all of the participating courses used for events with legal documents that required a signature. As stated in an article on nytimes.com, the documents required “satisfactory evidence that the club would take appropriate and immediate action to encourage minority membership.”
Rather than sign the papers, the club took a vote and opted not to sign, therefore ending their relationship with the PGA Tour.
Bill Borland, chairman of the Monterey Golf Foundation (and member of Cypress Point), said this at the time.
“Of course it’s a negative; of course it will be missed. But the tour had its rule and Cypress Point had its membership policies, and unfortunately, the two didn’t fit.”
To help clear the air, at the time, Cypress Point didn’t have a single African-American member, nor was there any on their coveted seven-year waiting list to gain entry.
The tournament was played in 1991, as it has been every year since. The competitors would be lying if they told you they didn’t wish a round at Cypress Point was still part of the event, but like anything else in life, the show must go on.
1981 Walker Cup
The Walker Cup was held at Cypress Point back in 1981, the first and only time the competition has ever been held at the distinguished club in Pebble Beach. For those that aren’t aware, the Walker Cup is the Ryder Cup of amateur golf.
The 12 best non-professional American golfers take on their counterparts from Great Britain and Ireland in a two-day festival of non-stop golf. The 1981 edition featured four matches of foursomes play and 8 matches of singles on both Saturday and Sunday.
Captain Jim Gabrielsen led the USA squad of future PGA Tours stars like Hal Sutton, Corey Pavin, and Jodie Mudd to a convincing 15-9 victory.
As the years went on, it seemed as though there would never be another team event at Cypress Point. Fortunately, that thought was put to bed when the USGA announced that the Walker Cup would be returning to Cypress Point Golf Club in 2025.
As fans of the sport and people who admire Cypress Point to the fullest, we can’t wait to see what’s in store by the time 2025 rolls around.
The Exact Location
Avid golf fans surely have heard of 17 Mile Drive – the iconic road that wraps itself around the cliffs of Pebble Beach, California. The strip of roadway protrudes into and across Cypress Point Golf Club, not to mention Pebble Beach Golf Links and Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
The turn down Magnolia Lane in Augusta, Georgia, might be as well-known, but it can’t even hold a candle to the views captured from 17 Mile Drive.
All this talk, and you must be itching to get to the city of Monterey. The airport is only 9 miles from the golf course, although it’s a small airport that only supports smaller planes coming from nearby vicinities. You can take a connector there from San Francisco or Los Angeles or fly into San Jose and drive the 80 miles south into Pebble Beach.
If you are really up for exploring, fly into LAX in Los Angeles and drive north up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), also known as Highway 1. It might take you upwards of 7 hours, but it’s actually worth it.
It will be the most scenic and picturesque drive you ever take. Traveling through the forest of Big Sur and potentially seeing whales on your left as you make your way up the highway are just a couple things to look forward to.
There really isn’t much else to say about the esteemed golf club hanging over the edges of the Pacific Ocean Cliffs in Pebble Beach, California. Cypress Point is as unique of a property as you’ll encounter, and there happen to be 18 brilliantly-designed holes on site.
Alister Mackenzie clearly knew what he was doing while creating his “work of genius” in 1928.
We would have loved to share every single hole with you from start to finish, but leaving you with a few mysteries and unknowns about the golf course was by design. We want to keep you on your toes, and we want you planning to attend the 2025 Walker Cup.
It will likely be your only opportunity to walk on the hallowed grounds of Cypress Point Club. You won’t get to play the illustrious 16th hole, but you sure as heck can take pictures and create lasting memories.
You can travel the world and see thousands of golf courses, and you still may not find one as pristine and immaculate as Cypress Point.