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Santa Barbara Country Clubs: Why Settle for Less?

March 12th, 2024


With a seemingly endless variety of shops and restaurants, sandy beaches, and beautiful hiking trails overlooking the Pacific Ocean, there is a lot to see and do in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area. Combine all that with the nearby wineries, the vibrant downtown and fine dining options, art galleries, world-class surf breaks, and bike trails, and one may wonder how life could possibly get any better.


As the saying goes, “Who could ask for anything more?”

Of course, there is always a way to add value, richness, and complexity. Fortunately, for those who want the absolute best out of life, Santa Barbara and Montecito are home to a number of country clubs, each with its own set of amenities, features, and experiences. There is something for everyone here, whether you’re searching for good food, quality time with family and friends at the pool, a light-hearted yet competitive tennis match, a private social club with direct beach access, or a lavish afternoon at the spa.

Both new residents and those lucky enough to call this area home will appreciate that most Santa Barbara country clubs have differing levels of membership designed to match every taste and preference under the sun.

Montecito Club

A club that showcases proof of why many believe Santa Barbara has the most beautiful golf courses in the world. With inspiring ocean views and mountains, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at the Montecito Club may be the crown jewel.

The club is on par with the golf course, as it received an extensive renovation in 2019. A movie theater, a resort-like pool, a bowling alley, tennis and Pickleball courts, and a fitness center are just a few of the other highlights.


La Cumbre Country Club

Located in Hope Ranch between the ocean and mountains, La Cumbre is steeped in history, as it was established in 1916. Five holes of the golf course surround a seasonal lake, creating an element of natural beauty and challenge.

A clubhouse designed by one of the area’s most famous architects, a pool, and six tennis courts add to the appeal.


Birnam Wood Golf Club

Birnam Wood is another exclusive club with gorgeous mountain/ocean views serving as a backdrop for the golf course Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed.

Jones is one of the foremost golf course architects in the world, having designed over 300 courses in 50 countries. The club supports this legendary tradition with an array of premier amenities, including tennis, dining, and social programs.


Valley Club of Montecito

The Valley Club has one of the more scenic approaches to the 18th green of all the Santa Barbara country clubs, as an impressive Craftsman-style clubhouse frames it. The course was designed in 1929 and restored in the mid-2000s. Along with the postcard-worthy setting, the Valley Club offers tennis and several dining options.


Knollwood Country Club

Knollwood is a haven for tennis enthusiasts located in the heart of Montecito. It has eight hard courts, two clay courts, a clubhouse, and a pool. Various tennis programs led by an enthusiastic team add to the fun, family-oriented atmosphere.


Miramar Club

Serenity abounds at the Miramar Club on the oceanfront within the Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort. A members-only restaurant with glass doors open to an oceanfront deck allows for a fine dining experience with the ocean as a backdrop; an adjacent piano bar adds to the relaxed coastal vibe.

All the amenities of the Rosewood are also on offer. These include a luxury spa, a fitness center, two pools, and several restaurants.


Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club

With an Olympic-size oceanfront pool and direct, private access to Butterfly Beach, a children’s pool, and a whirlpool, the options for aquatic recreation are endless at the Coral Casino. A fitness center with saunas/steam rooms, yoga classes, and a waterfront restaurant make this one of the area’s favorite retreats.


Selecting the perfect Santa Barbara country club can feel as challenging as picking the right vintage to go with a favorite meal or naming the colors that paint the Santa Ynez mountains during a sunset. The options are nearly unlimited, similar to the time one can spend online researching/dreaming about which club to visit first.

Working with an established local expert, such as the Marsha Kotlyar Estate Group, is essential. Before you take the leap and move or expand your membership, we invite you to reach out as we will fully understand what you are looking for and then match you with the perfect club and neighborhood to meet your individual needs.

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