A view from the clubhouse to Cypress Point Golf Club's famous 16th hole.

How to play Cypress Point Golf Club during a Pebble Beach Golf vacation

This article originally appeared on GolfVacationInsider.com

A view from the clubhouse to Cypress Point Golf Club's famous 16th hole.

Q: We are two Aussie golfers traveling to the Monterey Peninsula for a few days. Do you have any thoughts on how we can play Cypress Point Golf Club? -- Daryl B., Australia

A: We know a lot of the secrets to getting on some of the best private golf courses in the world, but playing Cypress Point Golf Club is an extremely tough nut to crack. The club has a small membership (200-250) and even if you know a member, there is a relatively little amount of unaccompanied guest play allowed.

As we have written before: "Unless you know a member who is willing to take you out or write a letter on your behalf, any effort to get on this Alister MacKenzie-designed shrine is often a complete waste of time, something to be avoided on a precious Pebble Beach Golf Vacation."

We called the Cypress Point Golf Club pro shop to see if there is any wiggle room, but we were told, "There are no variations to the policy." Sorry.

Having said that, where there is a will, there is usually a way.

For instance, like us, reader Steven P. has heard the rumor that writing a letter to the head professional can sometimes be your "in" to playing Cypress Point.

A very credible source recently confirmed that this is possible, but it's not highly probable. Frankly, your chances are much better if you work your connections.

I said earlier that, "Unless you know a member...", but you really just need a "connection" to a member, and given all the social networking options these days, (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) it's conceivable that you know someone, who knows someone, who knows a member. As long as you can get them to sponsor you, you're in.

And let me further correct myself about this. Your connection doesn't necessarily have to be to a member at all.

Employees of Cypress Point Golf Club -- everyone from the cooks in the kitchen to the pros in the shop -- are allowed to bring guests to play the course. They're limited to one guest per month if I'm not mistaken.

Another potential way to play Cypress Point is to join one of the 15 Alister MacKenzie-designed golf courses that belong to the USA's Alister MacKenzie Society (there's a separate organization for the UK and Ireland). In addition to Cypress Point, these clubs include:

Meadow Club (California)

Valley Club (California)

Pasatiempo (California)

Claremont (California)

Green Hills (California)

Crystal Downs (Michigan)

Alwoodley, Moortown (England)

Royal Melbourne (Australia)

Titirangi (New Zealand)

Lahinch (Ireland)

Cork (Ireland)

The Jockey Club (Argentina)

St Charles (Canada)

See, each year, these clubs send eight-man teams play in the society's "MacKenzie Cup" tournament, which rotates between the above courses...including Cypress Point.

So, "all" you have to do is join one of these clubs and play your way on to the MacKenzie Cup team the year it's held at Cypress Point.

A word of warning, however, from reader Walter L., who belongs to Green Hills: "The last time there was a qualifier to represent our club to play Cypress Point, 100+ members vied for the 4 available spots!"

These are by no means the only ways to access Cypress Point Golf Club.

Now, if you can't find a way to play Cypress Point Golf Club, here are couple consolation prizes worth considering. First, we'd highly recommend adding Pasatiempo Golf Course (located between Pebble Beach and San Francisco) to your Pebble Beach golf vacation lineup. Like Cypress Point, this is an Alister MacKenzie classic, and it was recently restored to its original glory.

Second, given that you are from Australia, you might want to make your way to New Zealand and play the Cape Kidnappers golf course. While the similarities are relatively few between it and the Cypress Point golf course, both sit high above the Pacific Ocean and you can't help but notice the striking similarity between the 16th tee box at Cypress Point and the 16th tee box at Cape Kidnappers, both of which are perched above the crashing waves.

Interestingly, just as (1921 Women's Amateur champion) Marion Hollins had a big influence on Alister MacKenzie's design at Cypress Point (and Pasatiempo), Josie Robertson had her hand in Tom Doak's design at Cape Kidnappers. More importantly, given that Josie and her husband, Julian (who own Cape Kidnappers), are members at Cypress Point Golf Club, it's not unreasonable to assume that the design of the Cypress Point golf course had at least some influence on the design of Cape Kidnappers.

Aug 05, 2013

Join the conversation

Post a comment 

Tony's avatar
Tony wrote at 2018-05-17 14:27:11+00:00:

Sharp Park in Pacifica, CA. Alistair MacKenzie designed, $40 to play

Mike's avatar
Mike wrote at 2017-04-08 08:50:25+00:00:

Wait till you see the Pro Shop. It's about 15 ' x 15 '. Driving range can handle 8 players. Plan on a 3 hour or less round. Have your Head Pro do the smoozing. Monday's n . Tuesday's It's a treat

Mike's avatar
Mike wrote at 2017-04-08 08:42:44+00:00:

Cypress Point is available. We all know private clubs are closed Mondays for Maintance. Due to the lack of play/ rounds it's a "secret " that there're amenable on Monday's n Tuesday's to give the caddies a loop. A pen on paper , aka old school is your first interduction. Be prepared to pony up the guest fees. With a member...$ 25. With out $ $150. Caddie fees. ? Count on a C note. Trust those boys. They'll hand you a club n say " Give me a 100%". FYI. 155 yards. You're given a 5 iron. " That's to much ". Response is. Give me a 100%. The caddies have been there like 45 years.trust em. It never hurts to ask. Tank tops are only acceptable on Saturdays

Randall Cain's avatar
Randall Cain wrote at 2017-02-04 17:08:11+00:00:

Am scheduled to play Cypress on April 25; have been trying to get on for 25 years, so of course I'm super excited. I've heard so many stories about the membership (that they once turned down JFK, for example), but of course have no idea what's truth and what's fiction. Anybody know any of the real stories?

Jonathon Spiers's avatar
Jonathon Spiers wrote at 2016-08-14 22:21:18+00:00:

Back in 1979, in the fall of the year, I had the magical experience of playing the lake course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. I was attending the annual meeting of the National Academy of Ophthalmologyy. and we had a group of devoted golfers called "the Diversion Club" , whereby they would ask a local member to possibly arrange time at his club for our little 18 hole tournament. I recall , vaguely, that it was an outstanding ophthalmologist, Bob Webster, who was the member of the OC who enabled our tournament to be played on this magnificent course. I was so very fortunate to have won the tournaments "lowest number of putts that day with 25 for the eighteen holes. The course was superbly maintained, but I did note a mirror like similarity between #18, a long sweeping uphill dogleg right, with the #18 at Riveria C.C. In Pacific Palasades. I did not get a chance to play the Ocean course at O.C.C., which I. am told is equally challenging.

Jennifer's avatar
Jennifer wrote at 2016-05-05 20:36:27+00:00:

Correction to the article. No employees at Cypress Point including caddies are not allowed to bring guests to the course. ONLY the Pro and members can My boyfriend has been a caddy at Cypress Point for 33 years. If anyone in this forum has played there most likely at some point had "Surfer Dave" as their caddy. Best caddy there is. Lol.


Tim Gavrich's avatar
Tim Gavrich wrote at 2016-02-15 14:02:18+00:00:

Bob--<br/> The answer is unfortunately probably going to be "no" for all but Poppy Hills. Pebble is generally very strict about guests having to stay within the resort in order to play the course. If you're a member of a top-tier private club, you might possibly be able to swing Monterey Peninsula CC or Cypress, but that's a better question for your home club pro.<br/> --Tim

Bob's avatar
Bob wrote at 2016-02-13 19:13:09+00:00:

Renting a house in Monterey for August 2016. Any chance I can walk-on Pebble Beach, Cypress, Poppy or Monterey?

Mark's avatar
Mark wrote at 2016-01-18 22:40:35+00:00:

I have tried to get a logo golf ball from cypress point and they do not respond

Jerry's avatar
Jerry wrote at 2015-09-12 22:44:41+00:00:

I know the boys played Cypress somehow but they had more fun playing Riv with Robbie and I!!! :)

PS: Cypress is my favorite course I've ever played. I am at 19 of the top 20 and 59/100 on the Golf Magazine list.

Mike Day's avatar
Mike Day wrote at 2015-01-12 22:09:30+00:00:

Bayonet and Blackhorse are two rarely talked about courses a few miles north of Monterey - both great layouts with McKenzie style bunkering, bent grass greens (fast and contoured like Pasatiempo) and great value for the money. Poppy Hills has been recently renovated and is a much better course than it used to be. Pasatiempo is a great course but is expensive. In my experience playing Cypress requires a member either playing with you or setting up a 4 some for you - the club allows limited unaccompanied play in the morning. The advanatge of being with a member is that you get to hit balls on the tiny range, get the deals at the pro shop, get to go in the clubhouse for lunch and that drink they have (Sam's Fizz ??) and get great treatment from the caddies.

Pebble has the history but is overpriced, Spyglass is awesome and Spanish is OK.

all IMO

Leon's avatar
Leon wrote at 2014-09-11 14:31:43+00:00:

I have a course on the Monterey Peninsula that I think is great fun to play. Try Pacific Grove Golf Links - a muni in Pacific Grove they call the "poor man's Pebble Beach." It's usually in B to B- condition (low for most peninsula courses but good enough to have a nice round) and I thought it was really great. The front nine is so-so but still has some interesting holes. The 10th hole is THE dullest par 3 every built, but then you head out to the dunes and play 7 holes along the water. I'm a 1 handicap and enjoyed the heck out of it, and my wife is a 19 and also loved it. Cost is about $60.

joe's avatar
joe wrote at 2014-07-18 03:21:10+00:00:

i would love to play cypress! my best bud has played but asking him to get me on would be rude.... wish i new more people!

Jim Capps's avatar
Jim Capps wrote at 2014-07-06 19:41:29+00:00:

First time I played Cypress was about 10 yrs ago. We arrived at pro shop early and requested to play. They let us off conditioned if we took good care of the caddies as they do not get a lot of play. Great day, great course and glad to take care of the great caddies. Next time I played we were called on by the member of a friend.

Mark Newman's avatar
Mark Newman wrote at 2013-11-03 05:05:32+00:00:

We are planning a trip to Pebble Beach last week of February into

March. We are all single digit handicaps and would love the opportunity to play Cypress Point Golf Club. Does anyone out there have any connections that could help us out.

Joanne Ally's avatar
Joanne Ally wrote at 2013-04-03 03:30:46+00:00:

what is best time for play golf in Pebble Beach Golf Links

Jim R.'s avatar
Jim R. wrote at 2012-01-04 04:06:13+00:00:

I am a marshal at pasatiempo I will gladly barder rounds at pasa for a round at cypress point. Any takers from cypress?

WW20's avatar
WW20 wrote at 2011-09-01 00:05:24+00:00:

I feel very blessed having just played Cypress Point yesterday and had a terrific time. The course is absolutely spectacular and played fair as the weather was low-mid sixties with mild wind conditions. The biggest surprise was the greens--many were quite difficult and very fast if you put the ball in the wrong location. Stay below the hole! I would also like to say that the staff was very friendly and hospitable--including the folks in the pro shop as well as the caddies. All serious golfers should play here at least once if possible--it is beyond great!

Craig Better's avatar
Craig Better wrote at 2011-05-15 14:24:55+00:00:

Absolutely. Very, very good golf course that used to be one of the venues for the Pebble Beach Pro Am. It is owned and operated by the Northern California Golf Association (ncga.org). FYI -- if you are a member of a golf association in the US or Canada, you can join the NCGA for $25 as an "association member" and play Poppy Hills for the weekend fee of $72 instead of $200!

David's avatar
David wrote at 2011-05-12 09:10:10+00:00:

Hello Craig , thank you for your help and I will look into your recommendations.

Our Golf organiser has recommended a course called Poppy Hills which in in the Monterey area. Have you heard of this one?



Craig Better's avatar
Craig Better wrote at 2011-05-11 14:18:08+00:00:

As noted above, Pasatiempo is a great experience. It's located midway between Monterey and San Fran. Heading north toward SF, you'll hit Half Moon Bay Golf Links (2 courses), another treat. And south near Monterey is Bayonet and Blackhourse GC in Seaside (2 courses). Can't go wrong there, either. Lots of other great options, too. Hopefully others will weigh in.

David's avatar
David wrote at 2011-05-11 07:42:25+00:00:

I am travelling to San Francisco and the Monterey area in September from London with my two Sons who are both at University so Dad (me) is picking up the bill . It seems that Cypress Piont and other exclusive clubs are a non starter although we would love to play them all. What courses could anyone recommend as good alternatives. We want to play one round in San Fran area and two in Monterey area. Anyone played the Olympic Lake Course? Any help would be most welcome as we want the experience many seem to of had. Thank you

S's avatar
S wrote at 2011-04-28 00:09:43+00:00:

I played Cypress Point 4 or 5 years ago. My work colleague managed money for a widow who's husband was a member there up until his death. She of course remained a member for life. She did not golf, &amp;/or was too old to give it a go. She invited him to bring a friend &amp; come play it. He called me. Most beautiful views &amp; inspiring course I have ever had the honor to play. I did not play well, but did have 2 birdies. Driving wind on 16 made it near impossible. hit it into the Pacific with a 3-wood. Barely. The lore &amp; history of the course was the best. I absolutely smashed my drive off of the tee box right next to the front door to the clubhouse/pro-shop, with 10-20 people standing there watching. Must have hit it down the hill 310 yards. That was worth the trip. The clubhouse is like 10 feet it seemed like from the first or 10th tee, whichever it was. I'm an 8 handicap &amp; shot about ninety from the tips. Bad wind, and no sleep contributed. Oh well. I'm sure I won't play it again....

jose sousa melo's avatar
jose sousa melo wrote at 2011-02-11 14:53:44+00:00:

Probaly im the luckiest of all as in 1966 i was a junior and had the chance to play Cypress 3 days in a row as i was staying with a member;38 years after, i called once again the member...and guess what? another 36 holes..cant wait to do it again...wonder if he is still there

David Campbell's avatar
David Campbell wrote at 2010-11-18 21:29:03+00:00:

Clayton, 18 tee wasn't originally out on the rocks. Check out the great book Alistar MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club. It has amazing black and white photos of the course when it opened!!!!

Clayton Davis's avatar
Clayton Davis wrote at 2010-06-19 20:09:34+00:00:

yeah 18 used to be an amazing finishing hole. when it was first designed the teebox was out on the rock island that you can see behind you as you tee off. However the bridge kept being washed out so they moved it foreward.

Craig Better's avatar
Craig Better wrote at 2010-02-17 04:11:28+00:00:

Congrats! Let us know how it goes.

Quezada's avatar
Quezada wrote at 2010-02-17 03:57:51+00:00:

I am playing cypress point tomorrow.

Craig Better's avatar
Craig Better wrote at 2010-02-14 05:25:26+00:00:

Beautiful, Michael. Your story reminds me of that saying: When you're on your deathbed, you don't regret the things you've done, you regret the things you didn't do. Kudos for scratching this one off your list.

Michael's avatar
Michael wrote at 2010-02-12 13:58:51+00:00:

I've had the distinct privilege to play Cypress Point once. It was set up through a friend who had a friend/business associate who was a member. We were scheduled to be at Pebble Beach from Sunday-Wednesday but because unaccompanied play on Cypress was restricted to before 8:00am on Thursday only, we added four additional nights to our stay. My flight from the East Coast was delayed/cancelled/rebooked from San Jose to Oakland. I ended up getting into the hotel room at 3:30am. We teed off shortly after 7:00am as a twosome with one caddie. We experienced all four seasons but by 11:00am we had finished the round and were shopping in the small but well-stocked pro shop. We probably overpaid our caddie ($100 each). So, I flew from East Coast to West Coast, got 3 hours of sleep, spent an additional $2500 (meals, hotel, rental car, additional greens fees on subsequent days) or so for extending the trip and spent ~$500 in the pro shop all for 3 hours on the golf course. I shot 78, bogeyed 15, parred 16 (Driver to 30 ft in sideways blowing rain), amazed by #17's beauty (never read anything about it) and let down by #18's anticlimactic finish. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat and my wife would support my extravagance.

mj09's avatar
mj09 wrote at 2009-10-15 22:02:38+00:00:

The Monterey Peninsula offers the most spectacular golfing I have ever experienced. There are a few other courses you could play. I was pinching myself the whole time I was there just to make sure I was not dreaming. The Monterey region offers the best golf courses in the world! I just got back from the golf wonderland and must say this was the best golf vacation i have ever had!

Glenn C.'s avatar
Glenn C. wrote at 2009-07-21 17:32:33+00:00:

Almost a year ago my wife and I played Pebble and Spy both were great even in late December (the 28th). Our caddie at Pebble, who used to caddy at Cypress said that he had just played Cypress with 3 people from Australia; however, they had gone out on Christmas morning at 9 am and couldn't play but 8 or 9 holes away from the clubhouse. He seemed to know the schedule and that the course was closed on Christmas.

Jim R.'s avatar
Jim R. wrote at 2009-07-21 17:32:14+00:00:

Amen on Pasatiempo Golf Course. We played it several years ago and it was our favorite course, and we played Pebble Beach on that trip. Be prepared to use every club in your bag. Can't wait to come back and see what has changed with the renovations.

Dennis Z.'s avatar
Dennis Z. wrote at 2009-07-21 17:31:57+00:00:

My three sons and i recently played pebble beach.....the course, the weather and the first class treatment by the staff was awesome......priceless and the golf experience of a lifetime...staying at the Inn at Spanish Bay(required) was ok but not worth $700 a night per room........Spanish Bay was good but Pasatimpo and Harding Park are much "better bangs for your buck" dennis zukiwsky and sons red deer alberta

Dave E.'s avatar
Dave E. wrote at 2009-07-21 17:31:15+00:00:

To my Aussie Friends: I was very lucky to have played Cypress Point GC last September. What a golfing expierence, by far the best golf venue on the planet. The weather was 85 degrees, no fog, and no wind! The ocean holes #15, and #16 were awsome!! I was lucky to par both holes. Even though I have some some connections to the golf business, I was not able to get on except that my niece was dating the head equiptment person for Cypress Point. He was able to get me and my best friend on the course. We went out by ourselves and had a great time. The cost was $100 each! (Worth every penny!) The cost did not cover the golf, just payment to our caddie who was great as well. After our round, we even got employee discounts on all of their golf items. This was a golfing experience that I will never forget! Like I said through my golf connections, I have had the privlege of playing some of the other private courses around the Monterey area like Quail Lodge, Monterey Peninsula C.C., Pasadera GC, and Tehama GC.

Tom B.'s avatar
Tom B. wrote at 2009-07-21 17:30:59+00:00:

They should try Ft. Ord's Bayonet Course.

Craig Better

Staff Writer

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.