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La Costa Resort and Spa Undergoes Major Renovation

North and South golf courses get $10 million in upgrades.

Thursday, June 09, 2011
Scott Kauffman
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When KSL Resorts acquired La Costa Resort and Spa from Japanese-owned Sports Shinko in 2001, the storied Southern California resort had lost its luster. After opening in 1965, La Costa enjoyed a distinguished 35-year run as one of the top PGA and LPGA Tour venues, hosting the biggest names in golf from Jack Nicklaus to Gary Player to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

But time had taken its toll on La Costa and it was long overdue for a major makeover. So KSL Resorts embarked on a $140 million renovation that encompassed new resort pools, entryway and a new building of villa-style accommodations that not only expanded the resort’s key count, but established a new level of luxury for the San Diego metropolitan market.

Ten years later, KSL is lavishing on La Costa once again as it begins another wave of major renovations highlighted by a $10 million restoration of the resort’s legendary North and South courses. Under the direction of Pascuzzo & Pate Golf Course Design, led by PGA Tour golfer Steve Pate and Los Angeles native Damian Pascuzzo, the extensive golf course renovation project is actually part of an overall $50 million investment this year alone.

Besides completely remodeling the golf courses, La Costa also is creating a new outdoor sports-themed adult lounge with Jacuzzis and fire pits that will terrace down to a new $5 million infinity-edge adult pool. The pool will spill onto a new events terrace overlooking the golf course and signature San Diego scenery.

Meanwhile, guests were recently introduced to 552 redesigned guest rooms and new spa and fitness-oriented amenities. As La Costa vice president/general manager Paul McCormick describes it, the initial round of renovations that started in 2003 was like “baking a new cake.”
“This go-round, we’re going to ice it,” McCormick adds. “All the guest rooms have been brightened by bringing that outside in with colors and elements from our beautiful San Diego setting. Everything is much lighter and brighter.”

The “icing” on La Costa’s newly designed golf courses is under the directon of Aspen Golf, a division of West Virginia-based Aspen Corporation. For Aspen Golf, which recently completed renovation work at the historic Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., La Costa marks its first project on the West Coast.

While the South Course routing is to remain the same, four greens on the South Course will be relocated and all 18 of the North Course greens will be replaced. Additionally, all of the bunkers on the golf course will be renovated and more than 20 acres of turf will be replaced with different types of native grasses and mulch to conserve water and give the course new contours and contrasting shades of colors.

The redesign will add lakes and water features, giving the golf course new sightlines. As McCormick puts it, between the revamped rooms and different shades of golf course turfgrasses, La Costa will be like “one beautiful tapestry” befitting of the “colorful and vibrant” San Diego scenery.

“Everywhere you look there’s going to be a beautiful new set of colors,” McCormick adds. “La Costa still has that Old World feel, but there’s going to be a mix of old world with some modern touches.”

McCormick hopes to have the golf course sodded by the end of June and overseeded by October, just in time for the new golf season in November.

“We are excited to begin a new chapter in La Costa’s legacy,” McCormick says. “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.

"Unlike many courses in today's day and age, we're actually investing in the property. 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.”
Scott Kauffman
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Scott Kauffman is a leading journalist on golf course development and luxury resort and real estate development worldwide. Kauffman has 25 years of journalism experience, including full-time writing and editing positions with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, USA Today and Orlando Sentinel newspapers, and Golfweek Group magazines. Over the last 12 years, the award-winning writer has specialized in golf course real estate and resort development and been published by more than 30 regional ...
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