CARLSBAD, Calif. — Quite simply, golf at La Costa Resort and Spa had lost much of its luster. After more than three decades as a PGA Tour venue, the old La Costa had become dated.
So La Costa, which hosted the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions from 1969-98, pretty much shut down golf for more than a year for a renovation of 22 of its 36 holes, most notably the North Course. Now called the Champions Course, it reopened in the fall of 2011 not only with an updated design but also with better drainage, irrigation, turf and conditioning. It’s all part of an overall $50 million expansion and renovation of the resort, which also included new guestrooms, an expanded athletic center, a renovated events center and an all-new lobby bar.
There were many changes to the golf course, including some repositioning of greens and tees, but most notably bunkers and other hazards. While original architect Dick Wilson (and later Joe Lee) plotted bunkers symmetrically and in front of some greens, they are now staggered and set for the modern game.
“They realized the luster had worn off the course,” said Damian Pascuzzo, who teamed with former tour player Steve Pate as well as consulting architect Jeff Brauer on the redesign. “They wanted to bring it back to something that warrants its reputation.