La Costa Golf Courses to Undergo Restoration

La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., is set to remodel its two courses. Under the direction of Pascuzzo & Pate Golf Course Design, the renovation will affect all 18 holes on the current North Course and four holes on the South Course.

Significant alterations to fairway contours, combined with a modernized drainage system, will improve water flow throughout both layouts.

While South's routing will remain the same, four greens will be relocated, while all greens on North will be replaced. All of the bunkers on both courses will be renovated. More than 30 acres of existing turf will be eliminated to conserve water, with the project to incorporate more native grasses.

Fairways will be planted in 419 Bermuda with Paspalum, a drought- and saltwater-tolerant turf, planted in roughs and native areas. Greens will be bentgrass. New lakes also will be added. The project is scheduled to continue through October.

Dick 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 in 1984. Since it opened in the coastal foothills north of San Diego, La Costa Resort and Spa has a long distinguished history that dates back to the Tournament of Champions in 1969. La Costa's list of winners includes such legends as Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. La Costa hosted the Match Play Championships for seven years up to 2006, and in 2010 was home of the inaugural Kia Classic on the LPGA Tour.

"We are excited to begin a new chapter in La Costa's legacy," said Paul McCormick, general manager at 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."

Work on Phase I (nine holes of the North Course) is to begin the first week in February, followed by Phase II (North's other nine) and Phase III (four holes on South Course). Aspen Construction of West Virginia will be the contractor. Aspen, which recently completed a renovation at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.V., is taking on its first West Coast project. Full play is expected to resume this November.

"We have a lot of respect for La Costa's original design and intend to maintain its integrity," said golf course architect Damian Pascuzzo, partner with PGA Tour veteran Steve Pate in the design firm. "We do a lot of research before starting a project like this."

The duo is collaborating on the design with Jeff Brauer, former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA).

"This is a technically complex project," Pascuzzo added, "to be accomplished in a narrow time window. Our goal is to unveil an ideal combination of championship challenges within a user-friendly golf facility appealing to members and resort guests."

Pate, who won the 1988 Tournament of Champions at La Costa, is well aware of La Costa's legacy.

"I always thought La Costa was one of the greatest places in the world," said Pate, who grew up in Santa Barbara, played his college 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."

The renovation project is part of an ongoing $50 million investment in the resort by its owners, KSL Resorts. "Unlike many courses in today's day and age, we're actually investing in the property," McCormick said. "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 more information about La Costa Resort and Spa, call 800/854-5000 or visit