Santa Barbara’s Exquisite Golf and Country Clubs

Courtesy of Staci Caplan and Michael Humphrey

One of the greatest ways to relax and enjoy the luxury lifestyle of Santa Barbara is to visit our array of golf courses and clubs.  Ranging from public to invitation only, each of these exceptional courses provides an experience unlike anywhere other due to our beautiful Riviera landscape, incredible vistas and ideal climate allowing for year-round play. 

The Sandpiper

The Sandpiper Golf Course is located about 15 minutes west of downtown Santa Barbara.  This golf course offers serene views of both the ocean to the south and the mountains to the north.  The property was developed in 1972, and in 2003 local entrepreneur and philanthropist Ty Warner purchased the property.  The Sandpiper golf course rests on seaside bluffs directly next to Santa Barbara Shores State Park and the Coronado Butterfly Preserve.  An incredible number of Monarch butterflies return to this same grove at the beginning of each year during their migration south, and golfing at the Sandpiper during this time of year makes for a truly majestic experience unique to Santa Barbara.  After a day out on the course, be sure to stop by the Sandpiper Grill overlooking the 18th hole and the ocean for a fresh gourmet meal.

Glen Annie

The Glen Annie Golf Club is situated amongst the rolling foothills of Santa Barbara.  The challenging course is enhanced by breathtaking views of the mountains, ocean, and the Channel Islands.  Enjoy fresh local seafood at the Frog Bar & Grill for a gourmet meal on any of the three spacious patios or the elegant indoor dining room.

Rancho San Marcos

The elegant Rancho San Marcos Golf Course was designed by master course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr.  The design of this incredible course honors the course’s rich history, incorporating centuries-old oak trees and a number of historic ranch buildings.  The course is tucked away about 15 minutes west of downtown Santa Barbara and 15 minutes east of the peaceful Santa Ynez Valley , nestled along the edge of scenic Lake Cachuma.  Enjoy serene lake and mountain views from this highly praised course, named one of the “Top 10 Golf Courses You Can Play” by Golf Magazine.  At Davy’s Stable Café, you can enjoy a hearty breakfast before your game or choose from a delicious selection of lunch items.

The Santa Barbara Golf Club

The Santa Barbara Golf Club offers sweeping views of the Santa Ynez mountains from their well-manicured course at very reasonable rates.  This Audubon certified course has also completed projects to protect the natural environment, including restored creek channels, storm water retention basins, and smaller pools that filter out urban runoff as well as the landscaping incorporating over 10,000 kinds of native plants.  Their commendable efforts protect nearby Arroyo Burro Beach and the Pacific Ocean while also beautifying this lovely course.  The course’s own Mulligan’s Café is a family-run business and features a great menu with plenty of options, including an all-day breakfast menu!

Montecito Country Club

The Montecito Country Club is an exquisite luxury course and also has tennis, swimming and fitness facilities.  Enjoy the gently sloping, lush green with views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean.  The Bistro at the Montecito Country Club offers a fine selection of gourmet foods and exceptional service.  For members, the club hosts a number of exclusive fundraisers, athletic events, social and dining events, and musical performances.

The Valley Club of Montecito   

A Montecito treasure, the world-class Valley Club was created by expert course designers Alister MacKenzie and Robert Hunter in 1929.  The private, serene course features smaller, high quality greens and a traditional, sophisticated and subtle layout.  In addition, the Valley Club only allows half a dozen groups on the course at the same time, which enhances the peaceful atmosphere of the course.

Birnam Wood

Designed by the renowned Robert Trent Jones Sr., who praised it as “a thinking man’s course”, Birnam Wood is as challenging and resplendent as it is exclusive, with membership by invitation only.   The fairways are planted with grass that was specially designed in Georgia to thrive in the local climate.  Previously a lemon packing house built in 1892, the Clubhouse is a glimpse into the past, and all repairs and upgrades have carefully preserved the design and master stonework as much as possible.  The course is situated among a prestigious and private community of luxury homes.

La Cumbre Country Club

Another premiere Santa Barbara course, the La Cumbre Country Club boasts a spectacular setting with indigenous plantings and a carefully preserved layout that was designed before mechanical aids such as the bulldozer were developed.  Enjoy social events such as card games, tournaments, seasonal parties and galas, live piano music in the lobby, casual or formal dinner, and dancing in the evening at the historic clubhouse.  The La Cumbre Country Club also offers fitness, tennis, and swimming facilities.


Santa Barbara Getaway Destination: Butterfly Beach & The Four Seasons Biltmore

Although there are many beaches sprinkled along the Santa Barbara coast, Montecito’s stunning Butterfly Beach stands out among the rest.  This local treasure is nestled in Montecito, an exclusive community of incredible luxury real estate and beachfront properties.  Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Santa Barbara, this beach is a favorite among locals.  One of the reasons it is so special, is witnessing the annual mating of the Monarch butterfly.  Taking place every spring, the sole existence of the butterfly is to mate.  Then, they fade to dust seven to ten days later.  It is said that the clusters of buzzing butterflies are so robust, that they appear as thick as tree trunks. 

Butterfly Beach is one of the few west facing beaches in the Santa Barbara area, making it an ideal place to relax on the warm sand, watch surfers work the break or enjoy a colorful sunset.  From the beachfront, you can see Stearn’s Wharf in the distance, which marks the end of State Street.  Miles of coastline stretches out along the horizon, offering Santa Barbara’s unique Riviera views with spectacular, purple colored mountains and the Pacific Ocean in one sweeping, dramatic landscape.

Just a stone’s throw from the beachfront itself is the world renowned Four Seasons Biltmore located on Channel Drive.  Built in 1927 and remodeled beginning in 2001, this resort features remarkable Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and gardens with a lush array of both local and exotic vegetation – perfect for complementing a stroll among the cabanas.   Another beautiful feature is the outdoor pool.  The pool’s surface is crusted with smooth abalone shells and music is piped from speakers under the water for a unique swimming experience.

If you’re feeling a bit peckish, be sure to check out all of the Biltmore’s luxury dining options.  Enjoy five-star dining at Bella Vista which serves excellent organic, Italian-inspired California coastal cuisine.  Watch the dolphins play in the Pacific while sitting on a marble-tiled terrace with stunning views of the water.  The Ty Lounge serves a delectable selection of specialty drinks and classic cocktails and features a huge stone fireplace with couch seating.  If you are a Resort guest or a member of the club, be sure not to miss the chance to dine at the resort’s legendary Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club’s Coral Café and Bar for casual poolside dining with gorgeous 180 degree oceanfront, island and coastal views.  Also available to Resort guests and members is Tydes, cleverly named after local philanthropist and owner of the Resort, Ty Warner (famous for the creation of Beanie Babies and sponsor of the Ty Warner Sea Center).

Butterfly Beach and the famous Four Seasons Biltmore are absolutely must-see destinations for experiencing the luxury lifestyle of Montecito and positively ideal for taking a break from the excitement and crowds of downtown Santa Barbara.  Escape from the ordinary and visit today!