After playing a round of golf at Sandpiper in Santa Barbara, stop by the Foley Food & Wine Society tasting room at the Bacara Resort & Spa! It's the perfect "19th hole" after 18 holes out on the links.
Santa Barbarans are spoiled. We're so used to temperate weather, with the highs and and lows of daily temperature being between 60-75 degrees, that we complain bitterly when the thermometer tops 80. It's easy to get used to paradise!
So, I set my alarm last week for 6 am to be the first out to play Sandpiper and avoid what we call a "heat wave"--81 degrees forecasted. I was rewarded with a glorious morning with the next group three holes back and the Pacific Ocean glinting in the morning sun. The greens had just been soaked, which helped keep my score down. The Sandpiper greens are notorious for being wickedly fast.
The green at the 5th hole overlooks the ocean and there usually is a line of pelicans riding the updraft. This day was no exception, as four of them skimmed the edge of the cliff, seeming close enough to touch.
The 13th hole is one of the best designed and most challenging in Southern California. 399 yards (532/516 men's) run along the crest of the cliffs; in the middle is a deep ravine, followed by a nasty thicket of bushes. Low handicappers lay up their second shot on the foreward edge of the ravine to try and drop their 150 yard (or so) chip shot onto a tiny, steep green bordered by the cliff, the bushes and three bunkers! Those with higher handicaps, like me, just hope our third shot gets us safely over the ravine to the left where there are no bushes to snag our balls.
As usual, the 13th hole chewed me up and spit me out. But, I was rewarded by views of the Bacara Resort & Spa from both the tee and the green (pictured--looking back at ravine).
I dropped by the Foley Food & Wine Society tasting room afterwards to visit my friend Lila, Assistant Tasting Room Manager. She and Annette took a moment to pose for a photo before taking care of some of the hotel guests who were in to taste some of the Foley portfolio. The elegant, yet comfortable, tasting room is the perfect place to sip delicious wines after a round of golf. Open 11-7 daily.