One of the best things for golfers about living on the Central Coast is the number of high quality daily access courses available. Most of these are to the north of Santa Barbara about an hour or so, with great scenery and no traffic all the way. These venues offer a very relaxed atmosphere in the natural settings that make our coastal area so desirable. Cypress Ridge in Arroyo Grande is one of the best and also boasts one of the top teaching pros from Ventura to Monterey.
Arroyo Grande is the class of the Five Cities area with a totally restored historical downtown area. Set just inland from Pismo Beach, this is a good spot to stop and spend some time, especially if you like antique stores. The strict architectural code has kept the classic feel to this 100-plus-year-old town. The historic district is very easily accessible, starting less than a mile off the Grand Avenue exit of the 101 freeway.
On this visit we dined at the Rooster Creek Tavern, which is rated as the best restaurant in town. The ambiance fits right into the historical district with extensive brickwork on the interior to offset the contemporary furnishings. The setting would remind you of a big city restaurant in any downtown area with indoor and outdoor dining. The restaurant derives its name from the wild chickens and roosters that populate the area and live in Arroyo Grande Creek just down the hill.
The food was exceptional with a wide variety available. Owner Debbie Shiro and General Manager Daryl Cope have put together a great menu with an extensive wine list to compliment. We started with the calamari fries which were as tasty as advertised. For entrées we chose the ahi tuna sandwich and the pan-roasted salmon. Both were expertly prepared and very reasonably priced. Fish tacos and St. Louis-style ribs were also enjoyed by our group. Make sure to try one of the local chardonnays if you are so inclined. Rooster Creek Tavern is elegant yet casual. The restaurant’s sister property, Mason Bar, is a bit more casual but perfect for drinks and lite fare. Visit RoosterCreekTavern.com for complete details.
Famed PGA Tour star Peter Jacobson and his longtime teacher Jim Hardy designed Cypress Ridge Golf Course, and it’s a good one. Following rolling terrain on the mesa, it offers views of the Nipomo Dunes and Pismo Beach. The course has the feel of a mature country club despite its age of less than 20 years. On this visit we found it to be in perfect condition having just hosted a large junior golf tournament. Cypress Ridge has excellent practice facilities with a double-sided range and multiple chipping and putting greens.
The front nine is somewhat hilly and could be a challenge for less experienced walkers. The back nine is fairly flat and easily walked. The 18th hole is the signature hole on the course and a reachable par 5 of right around 500 yards. The tee shot needs to avoid a large bunker guarding the right side of the fairway. From here the second will be either a go-for-it or a lay-up with a large water hazard filled with birds fronting the green. This waterscape is a very peaceful setting and reminds golfers of why this course has a special Audubon Sanctuary designation. To book a tee time visit CypressRidge.com.
The Golf Coach
Cypress Ridge Golf Course is home to the Central Coast Golf Academy. Cynthia Navis, the Central Coast’s most decorated golfer (and my wife), is now the lead instructor at the academy. As the three-time Santa Barbara Women’s Open Champion, she stands out as a player but also brings an extensive teaching background with her. Navis studied under Top 100 Golf Instructors Jimmy Ballard, Kip Puterbaugh, and Fred Shoemaker. She has spent the last 10 years perfecting her craft and has a unique bubbly personality in addition to her extensive knowledge.
Navis coaches players of all ability from beginners to juniors to advanced. In her playing career she won 35 events including five major WSCGA titles and 12 club championships. For more information call (805) 714-3594 or visit CentralCoastGolfAcademy.com.