Cleaved between the Pacific Ocean and the foothills of Santa Ynez Mountain, Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is among the oldest polo facilities in the U.S. The Club was established in 1911 and quickly became a focal point of competition and social interaction. In fact, by the 1920s, spending Sunday at the club had already become a celebrated social event. Visitors would don the latest fashions and picnic at the fields, some even hiring helpers to assist with the noonday meal and deliver jokes during intermission.
Although some conventions have changed, the club retains its reputation as an elegant destination to enjoy the “Sport of Kings.” It features a trio of world-renowned polo fields, plus eight tennis courts, a fitness center, and a pool for recreational use. The club still draws some of society’s most noble figures, too—Prince William and Catherine visited during 2011, a trip that saw Prince William compete in a charitable match.
Since its inception, Parisi Speed School has trained more than 150 NFL players and 5,000 scholarship-holding college athletes in its youth programs. Parisi consistently churns out all-stars with its Jump Start program, which trains youngsters at the time when their motor skills are most malleable. Outfitted with a 25-yard artificial-turf field, a four-lane track surface, and a weight room, the center hones agility, endurance, and coordination in future athletes aged 7–18. Using the center’s signature speed and strength training methods, supportive staffers not only infuse muscle memory with a suite of opponent-lambasting skills, they also teach them how to avoid injuries without hiring a stunt double to take tackles.
After spending years as head coach for the Weil Tennis Academy and tournament director for the Bulgarian Tennis Federation, USPTR professional Dimitar Yazadzhiev now leads a team of professional tennis coaches at Oceanside School of Tennis. Through group and private lessons, the coaching staff aims to help students develop critical areas such as technique, footwork, peak performance, intimidation grunting, nutrition, and strategy. During each camp and clinic, students also take part in fitness sessions with certified athletic trainers and certified conditioning specialists. All Oceanside School of Tennis sessions take place at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort, which is surrounded by a natural enclosure of mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Professional tennis player Sam Querrey has been ranked in the ATP’s top 20 players in the world—but that may never have happened if it wasn’t for Tim Schnaible. Schnaible served as Querrey’s personal coach in the tennis star’s formative years of 10–16, helping mold his big serve and net-charging game into one of the world’s most formidable talents. Today, as the owner and director of tennis at Match Tough Tennis Academy, Schnaible continues to train players with the help of a staff of former high school, college, and USTA standouts. The Academy offers group lessons for adults and juniors of all abilities, as well as pro-shop services including racket stringing with a 24-hour turnaround.
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: