FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
Posadas

Santa Barbara, Calif., Sandpiper Golf Club

Mar 1, 2005
2005 / March 2005

Following a week of meetings in Los Angeles, I was looking forward to playing the Sandpiper Golf Club just north of Santa Barbara, Calif. Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains, the course runs along the Pacific Ocean and offers some magnificent vistas — 14 of the 18 holes are along the ocean or have ocean views — during play. The William Bell-designed course (Bell also designed Torrey Pines in San Diego) opened in 1972. It’s a point of pride that with no homes or roads to interrupt the 200-acre landscape, the course offers what locals refer to as a “Pebble Beach” experience in Santa Barbara.

The back tees at the course measure more than 7,000 yards. More modest players can tee up from the silver at 6,597 yards. The clubhouse leaves a bit to be desired. The restaurant lacks a “clubby” atmosphere and there’s no bar. Drinks are served outside or inside when seated for dining. The top-notch dining-room and pro-shop staff makes up for any shortcomings, but I would have expected a course of this caliber to have better facilities.

I played the course in mid-January following the heavy rain, flooding and mudslides that had devastated the region just south of Santa Barbara. The course was wet, but in remarkable shape given the circumstances. The day I played was sunny and warm with a nice wind, which was doing wonders to dry out the course. A “cart paths only” rule was in effect and the grass needed a trim, but the greenskeeper was holding off until later in the day to minimize damage to the course. The greens were incredibly fast and true, which made for an interesting challenge.


Hole 5 (509-yard par 5)

The No. 14 handicapped hole on the course, this one isn’t too difficult. From the tee box, you are launching your drive uphill to the landing area. Danger lurks on the left in wooded vegetation areas. From your second shot in, you should have a decent wood or iron to the green (wet conditions meant loss of distance on our tee shots). As you walk up to the green, you meet your first view of the Pacific Ocean, which was like glass the day I played. The view alone was well worth the hour or so drive from Los Angeles.

Hole 6 (195-yard par 3)
Running along cliffs with the Pacific Ocean below, this is one of the course’s signature holes. The view is beautiful, but errant shots or wind gusts can sweep balls over the cliffs and onto the beach. The hole played a little longer than it looked, which may have been due to the wind; most shots were coming up short of the green. Again the green was very quick, so doable putts were passing the cup rather than dropping.

Hole 10 (381-yard par 4)

A great golf hole leading down to the Pacific Ocean, No. 10 is a dogleg left. Off the tee you can play it safe or go for it, launching your ball over a stand of trees on the left side to cut the corner. Be careful, as the safe landing area is dotted with bunkers to trap your ball. Golfers who gamble and succeed have an enormous yardage advantage and will have a 9-iron or pitching wedge to the small dangerous green — dangerous because any ball too long or too far right will be gone and unplayable. The flag was far back center the day I played, so I had to reach the elevated area of the green on my approach shot. It is a beautiful hole marred only by the sound of a nearby pumping station, which pumps oil from the derricks at sea.

Hole 12 (341-yard par 4)

No. 12 is the No. 18 handicapped hole on the course, but play can be more difficult than expected. Your tee shot is to an uphill landing area (dogleg right). Balls that fly beyond this area will run off the hole to the trees on the left; shots that venture right can end up in a similar situation. The saving grace is the larger green with only a few bunkers protecting it. My wild tee shot landed right, but still allowed me to take an 8-iron to the green. I had an enormous putt to recover as the pin was far forward of this large green.

Hole 13 (532-yard par 5)

This spectacular hole has a blind tee shot to the fairway. Once you reach your ball, you will most probably have to lay up due to a brush-covered area in front of the green. Balls in this area are gone forever. You can shoot a little left (over the breccias) to a landing area and chip from there on a more level surface to the green, or chip up to the green, which is a good 25 feet or more above you from the fairway.

Hole 14 (444-yard par 4)

A long par 4 with the tee box placed back and a gully in front, No. 14 offers a great challenge to get on the green in two. All four in my group had magnificent drives off the tee; we were grouped together in and off the fairway within 30 feet of each other. We all had about 185 yards to the green. An easily hit 5-wood took my ball cleanly to the green. Smart and cool, I stood by and watched my partners chip up, but the green speed did me in: A three-putt was the order of the day.


Course Accolades

Ranked among the top 25 public courses to play by Golf Digest
Ranked among the top 75 upscale courses to play by
Golf Digest
Hosted PGA Tour Qualifying School in 1997
Hosted LPGA Santa Barbara Women’s Open
Ranked among four-star places to play by Golf Digest
Hosted PGA Tour Tournament Players Series

SANDPIPER GOLF CLUB
7925 Hollister Ave.
Santa Barbara, CA 93117
tel 805 968 1541
www.sandpipergolf.com

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Feature
Feb 18, 2020

New Montreal Protocol Creates Laws to Address Difficult Airplane Passengers

With new stories surfacing daily about disorderly passengers being escorted off an aircraft or, worse, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, countries recently passed legislation ensuring such passengers are punished to the fullest extent.

A Lighter Footprint

United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.

News
Feb 18, 2020

United Offers New Kosher Meals on Flights to Tel Aviv

Travelers following a kosher diet now enjoy more options on United Airlines flights from the United States to Tel Aviv (TLV). The airline partnered with food provider Fresko to offer a new menu of kosher foods, including fresh bagels, omelets, blintzes, chicken marsala, kale quinoa burgers, rugelach and black-and-white cookies, among other menu items. A kosher child’s meal is also available on select routes. Polaris and United Premium Plus passengers additionally receive Kosher snack choices. Kosher beverage options include a Kosher wine and coffee.

Feature
Feb 18, 2020

Etihad Lightens Footprint and Aims for Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

Etihad Airways set a “minimum target” of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Goway Offers Travelers Journey of a Lifetime

Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Daily
Feb 18, 2020

Ways to Volunteer During Your Next Trip to Miami

While some might think Miami Beach is a place to lie on the sand and party into the wee morning hours, others recognize the destination’s potential for voluntourism. Voluntourism opportunities allow travelers to do some good while in a destination and Miami Beach welcomes travelers willing to help preserve local beaches and gardens and positively impact the community.

Feature
Feb 16, 2020

Delta Air Lines Posts Higher 2019 Earnings Than Expected

Delta Air Lines saw its stock price skyrocket last month after the airline posted Q4 earnings exceeding Wall Street expectations. At one point after the news, Delta’s stock price was up 4.5 percent, its highest levels since July, according to MarketInsider.

Earn and Redeem with oneworld

oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.

Daily
Feb 16, 2020

Japan Sets All-Time Tourism Record

The Japan National Tourism Organization announced it set an all-time tourism record in 2019. The country received 31 million overseas visitors last year.