Every golfer knows the names of the popular California coastal courses: The Pebbles and Pelicans, Torreys and Half Moons. But a handful of courses in the middle of the state yet still along the coastal route (one actually overlooking the big blue Pacific) don’t get the credit they deserve as destination-worthy.
In Episode 117 of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast, co-hosts Darin Bunch and Mitch Laurance aim to change that by detailing a visit to one of Bunch’s favorite foursomes — Sandpiper and Rancho San Marcos in the Santa Barbara area, followed by Cypress Ridge and Monarch Dunes just about an hour’s drive north.
From Sandpiper’s oceanfront views (laid out over historic petroleum-producing landscape) to Rancho San Marcos’ foothill scenery tucked into a valley along the Santa Ynez River (and punctuated by the Old West stagecoach and Chumash Native American history that preceded the golf course by centuries), the Santa Barbara-area leg of this journey offers a diversity of golf rarely found within such a short drive.
Meanwhile, up in the towns of Arroyo Grande and Nipomo, the courses at Cypress Ridge (designed by Jim Hardy and Peter Jacobsen) and Monarch Dunes (designed by Damian Pascuzzo and Steve Pate) illustrate how residential golf can be expertly executed without compromising fun, interesting experiences for golfers of all levels.
Mix in a stay at Chumash Casino Resort (with its excellent buffet spread) as a midway “home base” plus stops at a few of Darin’s other favorite eateries — the mouthwatering Jocko’s Steakhouse in Nipomo and the gluttonous bucket of seafood that is the Cracked Crab in Pismo Beach — and this fantastic foursome becomes a memorable itinerary that will rival most road trips you can find across the country. Darin is already planning his return trip for 2019, and you just might be ready to hit the road and head for the beach as well once you give this episode a listen.