Santa Barbara has one of the most beautiful climates for playing the game of golf year-round. We enjoy lots of sunshine and only the mildest ocean breezes. There are several public and private courses in the area to suit just about any style of play and budget.
If you are new to the game and are looking for a course that is a little less crowded and has mostly wide open fairways, Ocean Meadows is a good option. Located in Goleta, it is a nine hole course with decent greens. It has a relaxed atmosphere and the pro and staff are very accommodating.
If you are looking for an 18 hole course that is more challenging, look no further than the Santa Barbara Golf Course (formerly known as Muni). This is a popular course so be ready to keep up with the pace of play. The layout has some steep hills that can make for challenging lies. This course is longer (6041 yds) and reading the greens can be a bit tricky for first timers. (Just remember that the ball tends to want to break towards the ocean). Mulligans restaurant is on site for your after round enjoyment.
Another popular public course in the Goleta area is Glen Annie. This course is longer yet at 6420 yds and I recommend taking a cart as walking the terrain can wear you out - at least until you know the lay of the land. There are some wide open holes with elevated tee boxes that can make for booming drives. The front nine can be easy to score on and a great confidence builder. However, there are also, wicked dog legs and fairway gulleys that can entice a golfer into playing a low percentage shot!
The course with the best views and right on the ocean is Sandpiper. It is the priciest of the public courses but compared to other courses on the ocean it is a relative deal. The front nine is rather pedestrian but the back nine is full of gorgeous ocean views. I have to admit I have only played there once so I don't have enough experience with the course to give credible comments.
So, that generally covers the public courses in the immediate Santa Barbara area. There are also some great courses within 30 minutes of Santa Barbara that I will write about in the future. If you see a car at any of these courses with plates that read GLFLADY, you'll know I'm already playin'!
Grip it and Rip it!