Twin Lakes Golf Course is much more than the sum of its parts. With a 9-hole, par 28 executive golf course and practice facilities that include a driving range, 8,500-square-foot putting green, and chipping area, it gives players countless ways to better their game. Visiting players can hone short, half-swing approaches and full, walloping drives on holes ranging from as close as 70 yards to as far as 360, much as they would on a full-length course. The driving range also expedites the learning curve with full-flight Pinnacle range balls primed and ready to be pummeled from real grass or synthetic tees. In the short-game area, Titleist Pro V1 golf balls simplify the act of chipping onto the green or into target nets, even as players line up shots from nearby bunkers, slopes, and grasses akin to the rough and fairway. And when players are left with nothing else to do but admire themselves in the reflection of the nearest water hazard, Twin Lakes’ resident instructors—Don Parsons, Buff Platt, and PGA head professional Jim Ley—are there to take the reins and help clients shave off a few more strokes.
Eyeglass Factory combines 30 years of retail experience with a huge selection of stylish eyewear, which made it a finalist in the Santa Barbara Independent's Best of 2012 competition. After optometrists examine eyes at a convenient next-door location, customers can browse the collection of budget-friendly and designer brands. Staffers can handcraft lenses within onsite production laboratories in less than an hour, with the notable exception of clown-size prescription trifocals.
For more than 15 years, the caring crew at Eyeglass Factory has provided free services and glasses to people in the community who cannot afford vision care. Eyeglass Factory works in conjunction with Surgical Eye Expeditions International (SEE), a Santa Barbara?based nonprofit organization committed to ensuring that optical health is within everyone's reach.
Surf-N-Wear's Beach House has sustained surfers’ needs since 1962, bestowing boards, accessories, swimwear, and beach apparel upon beach bums and wave wanderers alike. Bind feet to boards, decrease the chance of a wipeout, and sculpt self-portrait candles for mermaids with grip-enhancing surf wax ($1.50). Land-venturing surf sorcerers can sport board-brand T-shirts (starting at $19) while shielding the eyes and fashioning the face with a variety of sunglasses (starting at $12.99). An assortment of swimwear, board shorts ($39+), and bikinis ($60+) supplies sea-bound adventurers with durable garb, while jewelry, sandals, and wallets aim to adorn beach-goers.
Nestled near Rincon Beach and stocked with gear from makers such as Volcom, Billabong, and Dakine, A-Frame Surf’s modest shop could never host a reunion for its surfing lessons’ alumni. They wouldn’t fit inside—more than 10,000 surfers have honed their craft with the shop’s CPR- and first-aid-certified instructors during both private and public lessons. Each session is held on a surfboard or a standup paddleboard and has a customizable curriculum that covers topics such as transitioning from paddling to standing and surf etiquette, which mandates that you write a thank-you card to every wave you surf.
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