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
In a field of weeds, dirt, and brush, players sprint between paint-splattered wooden barriers while colorful orbs whiz past. As combatants post up behind giant tractor tires and industrial tubing to settle on plans of attack, refs keep watch to ensure safety and fair play. When off the battlegrounds, teams can prep for future matches by gearing up at the pro shop, which stocks paintball markers, masks, and apparel.
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.
Tucked amid the shadows of eucalyptus trees and mexican palms, Buena Vista Golf Course roams across 6,710 yards of dramatically undulating terrain. Throughout the par-72 layout, golfers grapple with uneven lies wrought by the hilly topography, as well as large, contoured greens that require a soft touch with the putter. As players make their way from tee to green, hillcrests offer glimpses of the surrounding farmland, the two lakes that comprise Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Center, and distant mountains as they ripple out into the horizon and hide the unsightly edge of the earth. Guests looking to polish their game can consult Buena Vista's two PGA Class A professionals, who offer private lessons and club-fitting services.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par-72 course
Total length of 6,710 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 72.9 from the back tees
Slope rating of 124 from the back tees
Four sets of tees per hole
Every Saturday and Sunday, Air Warriors Paintball opens its four outdoor playing fields to the public for simulated combat. Three of the four battlegrounds play host to adrenaline-fueled matches that pit players against each other in scenario games. Obstacles include tire mounds, corrugated metal, and dugout trenches. The facility also features an inflatable-packed speedball arena that’s perfect for fast-paced games. Much like a college student who has trouble scrounging up quarters, Air Warrior’s speedball field changes once a week.