By Bob Buttitta
Posted January 17, 2012 at 4:31 p.m.
Steve Pate has had a love affair with the La Costa Resort for as long as the Westlake Village resident can remember.
La Costa was the place Pate saw his first professional golf tournament and where his dream of becoming a professional golfer started to take shape.
Pate had playing success at La Costa as an amateur and professional, including winning the 1988 Tournament of Champions.
Pate, who has become a golf architect, was thrilled to get the chance to help restore the luster to the La Costa’s famed golf course.
The Ventura native, along with his business partner Damian Pascuzzo, were hired to handle a $10 million renovation of 22 holes at the La Costa property. The golf course renovation was the key component of a major overhaul of the resort in Northern San Diego county.
“I felt like I was going home in doing this project,” Pate said. “I love everything about the place. It holds some great memories for me, and getting a chance to bring it back to its proper condition was really exciting.”
The most pressing issues Pate and his design partners were brought into correct were turf conditions and the course’s drainage problems that had wrecked the course over time.
“You can’t get $200 to play a golf course that is a mud puddle for four months a year and a dirt pile for seven more,” Pate said.
Pascuzzo said the project was technically complex, with a number of site, infrastructure and environmental issues that, when combined with the objectives of the client, had them scratching their heads.
“We spent a lot of time walking the course discussing different concepts and trying them out on paper before we completed the master plan,” Pascuzzo said. “Even then, we kept making refinements all the way through construction. We spent a lot of time on site during construction to get all of the details and nuances we wanted into the golf course.”