Friday, November 4, 2011

Famed La Costa Unveils Renovated "Champions" Golf Course

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - The completely renovated Champions Course atLa Costa Resort and Spa makes its debut this week, restoring the character of an iconic golf venue that once again is a true reflection of the resort's rich golf history and tradition.

The dramatic renovation project, under the direction of Pascuzzo & Pate Golf Course Design, embraces the integrity of the original Dick Wilson design, which challenged the greatest names in the game for more than 40 years. Yet the new layout captures La Costa's timeless appeal.

The remodel modified all18 holes on what was formerly named the North Course. The new Champions Course features strategically designed and repositioned bunkering, refined fairway routing, expanded native grass areas, and subtle elevation changes that contribute to a challenging and engaging golf experience. Four holes on the Champions Course are completely new designs.

"We are excited to begin a new chapter in La Costa's legacy," said Paul McCormick, vice president and general manager of La Costa Resort and Spa. "La Costa has been synonymous with the top echelon of golf for more than 40 years, hosting 37 PGA Tour events. It is important that we keep its championship spirit alive."

In restoring the legendary destination to world-class standards, every green on the Champions Course has been replaced, while all of the bunkering has been repositioned.

Significant alterations to the contours of the Champions Course fairways - which have been capped by 3,000 truckloads of sand - along with advanced drainage technology have improved water flow throughout the entire 36-hole venue, significant to maintaining world-class playing conditions year round.

More than 30 acres of turfgrass was eliminated from the Champions Course to conserve water use, with the remodel incorporating more native grasses. Fairways have been planted in 419 Bermuda, while paspalum, a drought and salt-water tolerant turf, is planted in roughs and native areas. Greens are bentgrass.

"We have a lot of respect for La Costa's original design and have maintained its integrity," said Damian Pascuzzo, who teamed with partner Steve Pate, in association with former ASGCA president Jeff Brauer, on the project. "We did a lot of research before starting work on this historical golf site."

Wilson designed La Costa's first 18 holes in 1965 and his design partner Joe Lee added nine holes in 1973 and the final nine holes in 1984. Since it opened in the coastal foothills north of San Diego, La Costa Resort and Spa has a long, distinguished history with the greatest players in golf, dating back to the Tournament Of Champions in 1969. La Costa's list of winners includes legends from various eras, from Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. La Costa hosted the Match Play Championships for seven years until 2006, and in 2010 was home of the inaugural Kia Classic on the LPGA Tour.

Pate, who won the 1988 Tournament of Champions at La Costa, is well placed to reflect on the legacy of La Costa.

"I always thought La Costa was one of the greatest places in the world," said Pate, who grew up in Santa Barbara, played collegiate golf at UCLA and actually saw his first professional golf tournament at La Costa. "I know that this project will do justice to Dick Wilson's work here and it will be a fitting tribute to La Costa's legacy."

Expanding to six sets of tees on the Champions Course, La Costa is even more family friendly, presenting golf that is suitable for champions and children alike.

"This was a technically complex project," Pascuzzo said. "We have been able to accomplish our goal, to give La Costa an ideal combination of championship challenges within a user-friendly golf facility appealing to members and resort guests."

The golf course renovation project is part of an overall $50 million investment by its owners, KSL Capital Partners. The year-long project also included modifications to four holes on the South Course, where the routing remains the same, but is enhanced by a variety of structural and strategic changes to the first, ninth, 10th and 18th holes.

"Unlike many courses in today's climate, we're actually investing in the property," McCormick remarked. "There are very few new courses being built or renovated this year, so from our standpoint, this is a great opportunity to restore the luster to La Costa's courses during a down business cycle and when things turn around, we'll be ready with a fresh new product."

For additional information on golf packages, tee times or room reservations, call (800) 854-5000 or visit


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