Often compared to the esteemed Pebble Beach Golf Links due to its spectacular ocean views, Sandpiper Golf Course has its own unique character. This links-style golf mixed with dramatic elevation changes, strategically placed bunkers and hazards, impeccable greens, and many holes that, if you hit a stray golf shot your ball could actually end up in the Pacific Ocean, make Sandpiper a one-of-a-kind golf experience. This stunning 7,068-yard, 18-hole par 72 course was designed by William F. Bell and opened for play in 1972. – sandpipergolf.com 805/968.1541
Built on the San Marcos Ranch (established in 1804) sits one of the best courses on the central coast, Rancho San Marcos. The drive on Highway 154 through the Santa Ynez Mountains on the way to the course is as scenic as the course itself. Famed golf designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr. used the natural beauty of the land to build an incredible 6,939-yard, par 71 golf course. Rancho San Marcos borders Lake Cachuma and utilizes hundreds of ancient oak trees and the backdrops of the Santa Ynez Mountains to create a peaceful and tranquil setting. Be prepared to share the golf course with the many deer that enjoy roaming the land, as well as the beautiful falcons flying overhead. With unmatched conditions from tee to green, as well as extraordinary service, you will feel like you are playing at the most exclusive of country clubs. –rsm1804.com 805/683.6334
WHERE TO STAY
After winding down at the end of a spectacular golf outing, there are three hotel/resorts that stand out from the rest in the Santa Barbara area, Four Seasons Biltmore Resort, Bacara Resort, and The Canary Hotel.
Four Seasons Biltmore Resort is widely held to be the best luxury hotel in Santa Barbara. Covering 22 acres of impeccably manicured landscaping, this beachfront resort's amenities include the incredible Coral Casino Beach Club, which offers members and guests of the Four Seasons access to its two restaurants, a beachfront pool, state-of-the-art gym, as well as many more activities. The views from the club are as impressive as you will find in California. If you're looking for an unforgettable dining experience while staying on the resort, I would highly suggest the oceanfront Bella Vista Restaurant. With gorgeous scenery, delicious food, and unparalleled service, it is sure to be a memorable meal. Another excellent dining option although not directly on the property is Lucky's. Only a few blocks away, it is a warm, welcoming steak house and a local favorite. –fourseasons.com/santabarbara 805/969.2261
Bacara Resort and Spa, with 78 acres of oceanfront property – including two miles of natural beach – located in close proximity to Sandpiper Golf Course, offers a luxurious option to enjoy the sun-filled skies of the Santa Barbara coast. –bacararesort.com 805/968.0100
Nestled only a block from State Street in the heart of Santa Barbara is the luxury boutique, Canary Hotel. Although not directly on the beach, you are only about a mile away and in the center of all the action. Surrounded by a plethora of restaurants, boutique shops, art galleries, and lounges, this Spanish-inspired hotel will satisfy your downtown Santa Barbara experience.