Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

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Discover the two professional golf courses that grace the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa: the Champions Course and the Legends Course.

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Omni La Costa Resort & Spa's golf heritage dates back to when the Champions Course opened in 1965.

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Golf at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

Preview the fairways and golf services that await at the historic Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.

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Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California, offers guests 36 holes of golf across two green championship courses: the links-style Champions Course and the parkland-style Legends Course. When La Costa opened in 1965, its Champions Course was an immediate star attraction. The resort’s planners had invited architect Dick Wilson to design a 72-par, 7,200-yard golf course over 215 acres. Wilson himself was highly regarded at the time, having designed nearly sixty courses throughout his life, like Laurel Valley Country Club, Royal Montreal Country Club, and Cog Hill Country Club. (Omni La Costa’s Legends Course was one of his last.) The project had taken two years to complete at the massive cost of $1.5 million. Nevertheless, La Costa’s course quickly developed a great reputation for its year-round playability, prompting CBS to select the venue for its “CBS Golf Classic” competition. The greatest professional golfers of their day would eventually grace the links, too, including Sam Snead, Ray Floyd, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Nichols, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods. In fact, many of those golfers would compete in the Tournament of Champions at another one of the resort’s magnificent venues, the Champions Course, in 1969. In fact, the tournament proved to be so popular that the competition returned to the resort every year until 1998.

But many other famous kinds of guests would play at the Legends Course, including the upper crust of Hollywood’s elite. Stars like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bob Hope all regularly visited the golf course throughout the 1970s, further solidifying its world-renowned status. Omni La Costa Resort & Spa hosted additional professional golf tournaments in the decades that followed, such as the Wolf Golf Championships and the LPGA Kia Classic in 2010. Among the greatest competitions to take place on-site was the inaugural WGC Match Play in 1999. The tournament were played on the original course layout with the opening nine composed of holes 10 through 18 on the Legends Course while the closing nine consisted of holes one through three and 13 through 18 on the Champions Course. The five-day televised event raised more than $500,000 for local charities. The redesigned 18-hole, 72-par Legends Course opened in 2013. It was designed by golf course design firm Pascuzzo & Pate, which incorporated course elements from Dick Wilson’s original vision. Compared with the Champions Course, the Legends Course is more spacious. This brilliant course hosts a number of outstanding tournaments today, including the IMG Junior World Golf Championships, the California Amateur Championships, and the Aaron Baddeley International Junior Championships.

  • About the Location +

    The history of Carlsbad, California, can stretch all the way back to a remote Spanish settlement founded during the 1700s, although Luiseño Indians lived in the area for many centuries prior. Spanish colonials had specifically established a cattle ranch along a section of a rural highway known at the time as the “Camino Royal.” The first Anglo Americans settled the region in the mid-19th century, who quickly adopted the ranching culture of their Mexican American neighbors. A sailor named John Frazier dug a well in the area around the same time and began offering its contents to passengers on the nearby Santa Fe Railway. Travelers subsequently took to calling the pitstop as “Frazier’s Station.” Other entrepreneurs followed suit and discovered a wealth of freshwater springs throughout the countryside. Research conducted at these bodies of water revealed that they possessed similar qualities to the springs of the Czech resort town of Karlsbad. As such, the hoteliers decided to rename Frazier’s Station as “Carlsbad,” in an attempt to encourage travel to their mineral wells. The site of John Frazier's original well can still be found at Alt Karlsbad, which is located on Carlsbad Boulevard.

    Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, efforts by the area’s hospitality specialists to generate tourism became far more sophisticated. The leader of that endeavor was a group of professionals that operated the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company: Gerhard Schutte, Samuel Church Smith, D.D. Wadsworth, and Henry Nelson. They vigorously led a national marketing campaign that saw the number of visitors to the region explode by the height of the Gilded Age. The arrival of more economic activity led to the development of more local industries, including large-scale commercial farms. Among the many different types of produce grown on those plantations were avocados, olives, and citrus fruits. Even though real estate prices collapsed at the end of the century, the local hospitality industry remained strong due to Carlsbad’s beautiful weather and proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Carlsbad continued to grow as such, becoming large enough to become one of southern California’s leading cities. Carlsbad is now a major player in the modern tech industry and is still known today for its many wonderful vacation retreats.


  • About the Architect +

    Dick Wilson: The creator of 60 professional golf courses, Wilson was born into the world of golf. Indeed, he worked as a water boy while his father helped construct the illustrious “West” course at the Merion Golf Club during his youth. Wilson subsequently held onto his passion for golf into his adulthood, dropping out of his undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont to work for the esteemed landscape architects Howard Toomey and William S. Flynn in 1924. Interestingly, Wilson’s first project with Toomey involved returning to the Merion Golf Club, where he assisted in the design of its “East” course. From there, Wilson aided in the firm’s development of numerous courses across the United States, including the fairways at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, the Cleveland Country Club, and the Boca Raton Resort. After taking a brief leave from the industry to enlist in World War II, Wilson decided to create his own golf course construction company during the 1940s.

    While business was slow at first, he nonetheless managed to secure a few significant projects. Perhaps his most influential was his work at the West Palm Beach Country Club in 1947, which quickly gained renown for its rolling terrain and elevated greens. In fact, the designs featured at the West Palm Beach Country Club were emblematic of his contributions to the many other golf courses he constructed throughout his career. His later courses specifically showcased such components like broad fairways and spacious greens. Putting areas were also raised on flatter ground, often tiled anywhere between 30 to 45 degrees toward the fairway. He also installed numerous hazards throughout his courses, specifically large ponds and curvilinear bunkers. Nevertheless, his early independent work eventually inspired many other golfing organizations to hire Wilson as their designer. One client was even the Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia! Among his last projects involved the course that debuted at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, which he completed right before his death in 1965. Since then, Wilson’s golf courses have been hailed as being some of the finest in the entire world.


  • Famous Historic Golfers +

    Sam Snead, Sam Snead, winner of seven major golf championships that include the PGA of America and Senior PGA Tour.

    Raymond Floyd, winner of four major golf championships that included the PGA Championship and the Masters Tournament. 

    Arnold Palmer, winner of seven major golf championships that include the PGA Championship and the Masters Tournament.

    Bobby Nichols, winner of one major golf championship—the 1964 PGA Championship.

    Jack Nicklaus, winner of 18 major golf championships—the most of any professional golfer.

    Gary Player, winner of nine major golf championships that include all four of the major tournaments.

    Lee Trevino, winner of six major golf championships that include the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, and the British Open.

    Tom Watson, winner of eight major golf championships who was the fierce rival of Jack Nicklaus.

    Phil Mickelson, winner of five major golf championships, including the Masters Tournament and the PGA Championship.

    Tiger Woods, winner of 15 major golf championships and winner of the PGA Player of the Year a record 11 times.

    Frank Sinatra, singer and actor part of the famous Rat Pat known for selling 150 million records worldwide. 

    Dean Martin, actor known for his roles in such films like Rio Bravo, The Wrecking Crew, and the original Ocean’s 11.

    Bob Hope, comedian and patron of the United Service Organization (USO). 


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