One of two outstanding golf courses at Alisal Ranch, the River Course is a beautiful layout that's challenging, but not punishing, and offers outstanding views of the surrounding Santa Ynez Mountains. Located about 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara, the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is more than 10,000 acres with riding trails, a lake, tennis courts, pool, spa, luxury accommodations and two golf courses, which also includes the Ranch Course. Designed by Jack Daray Jr., and Stephen Halsey, the River Course is the newer of the two layouts. Opened in 1992, the par-72 course plays 6,830 yards from the back set of tees (there are four sets). The fairways are generous, but surrounded by mounding, which can lead to some awkward lies if a player strays too far. There are elevated tees, plenty of bunkers and undulating, sloping greens. The front nine ends with a par 3 that plays downhill and across Pintado Creek, which runs through the golf course. The no. 1 handicap hole is the 438-yard, par-4 seventh, which has a lake down the left side on the approach shot. The back nine opens with the course's no. 2 handicap hole, a 430-yard par 4 that plays through a chute of trees. And the finishing stretch includes a picturesque par 3 17th and par-4 18th holes, which play around a pond. Besides the golf course, Alisal Ranch offers excellent practice facilities that include a driving range, short-game area, and practice putting greens. There's also a golf academy, large clubhouse and well-stocked golf shop with lots of logoed apparel and accessories. Inside the clubhouse, golfers and guests can also enjoy the beautiful River Grill Restaurant with its high-beamed ceiling, wall-to-wall windows, and stone fireplace. The menu includes all-day breakfast items as well as soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers.