The championship course at Avila Beach Golf Resort hugs a tidal estuary that empties into the scenic San Luis Harbor, offering players dramatic views of the Pacific as they work their way through 18 holes. Designers Olin Dutra and Desmond Muirhead keep players on their toes with two distinct nine-hole sides, with the front nine draping over hilly terrain and the back nine traversing the coast and all of its singing fish. Throughout rounds, players corral their golf balls over kikuyu-grass fairways in pursuit of bentgrass greens, each mown short to produce quick-moving putts.
Course at a Glance:
At Blacklake Golf Resort, players can choose any combination of challenges from three distinct nine-hole courses, each representing a unique feature of playing golf within the varied landscape of the Central Coast. Sea breezes drift up from the valley to the Canyons course's elevated tee boxes. The Oaks course ventures away from the clubhouse to wind through a forest of towering oak trees, its undulating grass and smooth walkways shaded by the abundant branches of those mighty oaks. To begin the Lakes course, a short, 143-yard hole heralds the inviting nature of the compact layout and wide fairways, all before a monstrous 573-yard par 5 finishes the round.
Open from dawn to dusk, Blacklake Golf Resort also features practice facilities, including a 275-yard driving range and two putting, chipping, and pitching greens on which to improve your techniques. During lessons, the staff (http://blacklake.com/staff/) of PGA professionals works to improve players' fundamentals without sacrificing the fun, relaxing nature of the sport.
Course at a Glance:
* Three nine-hole courses (par 36, 36, and 35)
* Total yardages from the back tees: 3,276, 3,125, and 2,909
* Three sets of tees per hole
Since it opened in 1986, La Purisima Golf Course has collected nearly as many accolades as it has wayward golf balls. Known as "La Piranha" to regulars, the course has appeared in numerous publications, often for its challenging layout. Golf Digest ranked it 33rd on its list of the toughest courses in the country, and Golf Magazine placed it among the top 100 public courses in the country for nine years in a row.
It may seem like architects Kenneth Hume Hunter, Jr. and Robert Muir Graves teamed up to punish the Santa Barbara golfing community, but that's not the case at all. Instead, they shared a vision for the 309-acre plot as a pure version of golf unencumbered by real estate developments and novelties such as manmade waterfalls or hydraulic-equipped carts. The result is a long, enjoyable, and, yes, difficult test of the game that rewards bold shot selection and precise play across a naturally undulating landscape in the heart of wine country.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 7,105 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 75.6 from the back tees * Course slope of 143 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Officially opened in July 1962, Village Country Club incorporates the natural beauty of Northern Santa Barbara County’s wine country as its backdrop. Towering oaks and pine trees play a starring role throughout the course, especially on the 10th hole. There, a stately oak stands right in the middle of the fairway, marking the course's signature challenge and the location of its treasure chest of golden golf balls. At the 16th hole, meanwhile, an elevated tee tempts players to let it fly, all while avoiding a lake and brook running the length of the hole’s left side.
Next to the course, club visitors can practice on the driving range or at a practice green outfitted with a sand bunker. Or, they can step away from golf altogether by taking a dip in the pool and hitting the tennis courts—each of which remains open year-round.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,546 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 71.5 from the back tees * Course slope of 128 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole
Originally sculpted into the California countryside in 1928, Lemoore Golf Course’s 18-hole, par 72 course stretches across 6,591 yards of lush greenery and challenging hazards. A moderately difficult layout when played from the back tees, the course features four tee options to cater to both bona fide aces and disoriented golfers who can’t differentiate between a three-wood and a hardened mannequin leg. The golf complex also fosters sound swing mechanics with an on-site driving range and practice green. Clubbers can take refuge from the sun-soaked fairways or undead divot tools at the course’s cozy bar and grill, or peruse a stock of the latest golf gear and equipment at the pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 6,591 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 70.9 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 125 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
Designed by international golf architect Robert Dean Putman, the challenging 18-hole course spans more than160 acres. During the game (up to a $20 value per person), golfers refusing to hitchhike can navigate the terrain in one of Valley Rose's quality golf carts (up to a $10 value), finely tuned for scaling hills, making sharp turns, and morphing into a time traveling robot should the need arise. After conquering the course's lush landscape and tricky topography, golfers are encouraged to visit Valley Rose's Pro Shop to compare their scores with other recent players, or wind down in their clubhouse which features a restaurant, meeting rooms, and banquet facilities.