Omni La Costa Resort & Spa has broken ground on the renovation of its Champions Course, one of its two 18-hole courses, in advance of special events that begin in 2024.
The golf course work will be led by Hanse Golf Course Design, founded by architect Gil Hanse, who recently designed Fields Ranch East at the soon-to-open Omni PGA Frisco Resort in Texas.
The Carlsbad resort is preparing to host three consecutive NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships beginning in May 2024.
“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,” Kurt Alexander, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts.
Hanse’s team will implement significant design changes with the NCAA’s match-play format in mind, chief among them challenging players with more risk-reward decisions throughout their rounds. Further inspiration for the work will be drawn from classic Southern California courses.
Specific changes planned include the creation of a drivable par-4 on No. 11, a repositioned green on the par-3 16th hole, 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.
Officials are planning changes to benefit the environment as well, transitioning irrigation lines for the continued use of reclaimed water, removing man-made ponds and reintroducing natural gorges 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.”
He added that the designers will have a “strategic focus balancing enjoyment for everyday play by members and resort guests with shot-making requirements that test the best of collegiate golf.”
Another upcoming project at will reimagine the resort’s golf practice facility. This project will be led by Beau Welling and his firm, Beau Welling Design, with plans for a newly lengthened driving range and expanded short-game area.
Randy Zupanski, the resort’s managing director, cited Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods as some of the stars who have logged victories on site, “and we look forward to welcoming the next generation of greats to play on the Champions Course.”
The course renovation is the latest step in the resort’s plans. The first phase in 2021 included a refresh of the lobby and adjacent Bar Traza and the unveiling of the Costa de la Luna ballroom, increasing the resort’s total meeting space to more than 100,000 square feet.
Later this year, the resort will embark on a complete renovation of the spa, guest rooms and suites. Additional phases will be rolled out over the next several months.