Second Course at La Costa Set to Undergo Renovation

La Costa Resort and Spa is about to begin the major renovation of its second course, completing a long-range golf-renewal project at the destination in Carlsbad, Calif.

Under the direction of Pascuzzo & Pate Golf Design - which remodeled La Costa's Champions Course in 2011, the new project involves all 18 holes on the South Course, which will close May 1 for construction. When it reopens in late 2013, the layout will be renamed the Legends Course.

While the routing by original golf architect Dick Wilson will remain intact, the makeover includes a complete reconstruction and redesign of all 18 greens, as well as a thorough resurfacing of tee complexes, all-new bunkering, and the planting of paspalum turfgrass in the fairways. Once complete, the Legends Course will have a more open look.

"We are excited that we will provide guests an even more complete golf experience at La Costa," said Paul McCormick, vice president and general manager at La Costa Resort and Spa. "La Costa has been synonymous with the top echelon of golf for more than 40 years, having hosted 37 PGA Tour and LPGA events. It is important that our championship legacy be matched by our commitment to pure enjoyment of the game."

The bentgrass greens on the Legends Course are to be redesigned and enlarged from an average of 3,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet, and feature more options for approach and recovery shots. The greens at the first, 12th, and 15th holes are being slightly repositioned, as well.

Every bunker on the Legends Course is being redesigned and reconstructed, complete with new drainage and sand, while numerous bunkers will be removed. Those that remain - both in the fairways and at greensides - will be lower-profile.

Tees are being totally rebuilt and, in many cases, reshaped to provide more space. A fifth set of tees is being added to each hole, allowing the Legends to play from 5,029 to 7,025 yards.

Fairways will feature "golfer-friendly" paspalum - a salt-water-tolerant grass that provides nice lies - and will be widened. Fairway expansion will be most notable at the par-4 15th, where the landing area on the sharp dogleg-left will be expanded 16 yards to the right and the cart path rerouted.

Wilson designed La Costa's first 18 holes in 1965; his design partner, Joe Lee, added nine holes in 1973, and the final nine was completed in 1984.

Since opening in the coastal foothills north of San Diego, La Costa has hosted 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 and 2012 was home to the Kia Classic on the LPGA Tour.

"We have a lot of respect for La Costa's original routing and intend to maintain its integrity," said architect Damian Pascuzzo, who is partnered with PGA Tour veteran Steve Pate. "Our goal with the Legends Course is to give golfers a completely different type of golf course to play at La Costa. We want to keep it fun and interesting, with different visuals and some subtle nuances around the greens."

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

Pate, who won the 1988 Tournament of Champions at La Costa, is well suited to reflect on the legacy of La Costa. "Since I came to La Costa as a kid to watch a professional golf tournament for the first time, I have considered it one of the greatest places in the world," said Pate, who grew up in Santa Barbara and played college golf at UCLA.

"It means a lot to me that our imprint on both the Champions Course and the Legends Course will carry on the tradition of golf that Dick Wilson started here almost 50 years ago."

The renovation of the second course was put into motion following the recent completion of a $50 million investment in the resort by its owners, KSL Capital Partners.

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