(CARLSBAD, Calif.) — Omni La Costa Resort & Spa has broken ground on the renovation of its famed Champions Course, one of its two 18-hole courses, as it prepares to host three consecutive NCAA Division I Women's and Men's Golf Championships beginning in May 2024.
The renovation and ensuing NCAA Championships mark the beginning of a new chapter at one of the country's most-iconic golf resorts. The golf course work will be led by Hanse Golf Course Design, founded by acclaimed architect Gil Hanse, who recently designed Fields Ranch East at the soon-to-open Omni PGA Frisco Resort in Frisco, Texas.
"We are excited to officially kick off this work with Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner and the rest of their team," says Kurt Alexander, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts. "We believe that the Champions Course will be one of the marquee courses available to the public in Southern California after this renovation, and is another example of Omni's commitment to elevating the experience across our golf portfolio nationwide. Thank you to retired Mayor Matt Hall, Mayor Keith Blackburn, city officials, the city planning department and all others who played key roles to get this project started in advance of the 2024 NCAA championships."
Hanse and team will implement significant design changes with the NCAA's match-play format in mind — chief among them will be challenging players with more risk-reward decisions throughout their rounds. Further inspiration for the work will be drawn from classic Southern California courses, as aesthetics are tweaked to give the Champions Course a more proper sense of scale and place.
Specific changes planned include the creation of a drivable par-4 on No. 11, a repositioned green on the par-3 16th hole that is reminiscent of Augusta National's 12th hole, and a reachable par-5 on No. 18 with its putting surface brought closer to the existing creek. The course will play as a par-72 and have the flexibility to play from 4,300 to 7,500 yards, in order to accommodate players of all skill levels.
Other considerations in this project are environmental in nature. For example, transitioning irrigation lines that will continue to use reclaimed water, removing man-made ponds, and reintroducing natural barrancas composed of drought tolerant and native species.
"The setting and surrounds of the Champions Course lend themselves to a golf experience that looks and feels authentic to Southern California," says Hanse. "Our design work will bring a bit more simplicity and elegance to course aesthetics. This will be accompanied by a strategic focus balancing enjoyment for everyday play by members and resort guests, with shot-making requirements that test the best of collegiate golf."
The golf course work at Omni La Costa is planned to be joined in the coming months by another project focused on reimagining the resort's golf practice facility. This project will be led by Beau Welling, and his firm, Beau Welling Design. The focus will be on elevating the practice experience with a newly lengthened driving range and expanded short game area.
Like the golf course project, the practice range upgrades would incorporate a new state-of-the-art irrigation system that will allow the facility to maintain efficient usage of water for sustainability considerations while still exhibiting the highest maintenance standards.
"Omni La Costa was the site of victories by a "who's who" of all-time golf champions, such as Gary Player, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, and we look forward to welcoming the next generation of greats to play on the Champions Course," says Randy Zupanski, managing director at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. "We are thrilled to have Gil and Beau help us take our golf experience to another level and have our resort guests and club members enjoy this highly anticipated re-design."
The Champions Course renovation is the latest step in the resort's planned evolution. The first phase in 2021 included a design refresh of the lobby and adjacent Bar Traza, and culminated in the unveiling of the Costa de la Luna ballroom, increasing the resort's total meeting space to over 100,000 square feet. Later this year, the resort is undergoing a complete renovation of The Spa, guest rooms and suites. Additional phases will be announced and rolled out over the next several months.
About Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
An escape from the everyday, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa was originally created as a playground for celebrities and athletes with every amenity imaginable and is now the perfect destination for family vacations, meetings and events, and more. The Spanish Mission-style property boasts over 600 guestrooms, suites and villas, 170,000 square feet of meeting and event space, an Athletic Club, and eight sparkling pools including an adults-only pool and exhilarating waterslides. Two iconic golf courses, Champions & Legends, are complemented by the Golf Performance Institute, offering Southern California's most comprehensive game improvement program. The 43,000-square-foot Spa at La Costa includes a private pool, waterfall showers, café and therapeutic reflexology path. Acclaimed restaurants — Bob's Steak & Chop House, VUE and Bar Traza — present a fresh take on local cuisine. For more information, call (800) 854-5000 or visit omnilacosta.com.
About Omni Hotels & Resorts
Omni Hotels & Resorts creates genuine, authentic guest experiences at over 50 distinct hotels and resorts in the country's most popular leisure and business destinations across the United States, as well as key destinations in Canada and Mexico. With more than 25 iconic golf courses, and multiple short courses, 24 award-winning spas featured in dynamic locales nationwide, every Omni proudly opens its doors to share the true spirit of its destination. Reflected through local color, personalized service, unique wellness options, signature restaurants and creative culinary offerings, Omni leaves a lasting impression with every guest and a heightened level of recognition and rewards delivered through its Select Guest® loyalty program. Omni is committed to reducing hunger and is on a mission through its Say Goodnight to Hunger initiative, to provide millions of meals each year for food banks to feed children, families, and seniors in communities in which it operates. Through its partnership with Shared Hope International, Omni is dedicated to the education and training of its associates to help combat human trafficking. Omni Hotels & Resorts is the official hotel of the PGA TOUR® and PGA of America. For information or to book accommodations, visit omnihotels.com or call 1-800-The-Omni.
About Hanse Golf Course Design
Hanse Golf Course Design is an intentionally small firm dedicated to the proposition that golf courses are designed, restored and renovated in the field as opposed to solely on the drawing board. Formed in 1993 by founder Gil Hanse, who was joined in 1995 by partner Jim Wagner, it has patiently nurtured its reputation and its craft to arrive at a position of designing and restoring some of the finest golf courses in the world. Their credits include original designs like Ohoopee Match Club (Cobbtown, Georgia), Pinehurst Resort's No. 4 Course (Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina), Castle Stuart Golf Links (Inverness, Scotland) and The Olympic Golf Course (Rio de Janeiro), as well as restorations of classics such as the South Course at Oakland Hills Country Club (Birmingham, Michigan), the Lower and Upper Courses at Baltusrol Golf Club (Springfield, New Jersey) and the East and West Courses at Winged Foot Golf Club (Mamaroneck, New York).