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The Future of Collegiate Golf: All eyes on sparkling Omni La Costa

Editor's Note: This article is written in partnership with Omni Hotels & Resorts.

June 18, 2024

Welcome to a fresh chapter in the venerable, tradition-rich story of Omni La Costa Resort. The iconic California venue that for years played host to the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions is experiencing a rebirth, linking its glorious past to an exciting future.

La Costa’s “new” North Course (formerly Champions) has been redesigned by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner and was unveiled in May through six days of national broadcast television coverage of the exciting NCAA Division 1 Golf Championships.

With backing from Omni Hotels (whose owners have strong University of Texas ties) and the University of Texas and its decorated golf coach, John Fields, Omni La Costa aims to become to college golf what Omaha, Nebraska, has become to the NCAA College World Series. A permanent championship host.

“The potential of this is tremendous,” said Dustin Irwin, Omni La Costa’s Club Director. "La Costa is a stunning place, and based on the feedback, I think the college players had an amazing experience."

La Costa staged the Tournament of Champions from 1969-1998, crowning winners from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods. Hanse and Wagner embraced that past and saw an opportunity: Create a layout that will test the very best college players, but also be fun and playable to members and their guests.

Fairway corridors were widened, bunkers removed and closely mown green surrounds introduced. Two large water hazards were removed; a winding barranca gives the new North a rugged, natural appearance. Four hundred yards have been added, and six sets of tees offered ranging from 4,500 yards to 7,500 yards.

Hanse and Wagner have differentiated the skills required to “play” a course with skills needed to “score.” College standouts were pushed via challenging hole locations and varying angles that demand approaches be hit from certain spots.

Architect Beau Welling took an awkward L-shaped range and reimagined it into a world-class practice facility, with three purposeful short-game areas. Irwin considered the old practice options a nightmare. Now? “It’s Christmas,” he said. In addition, the resort's 600 rooms and spa all are newly renovated.

A revamped Omni La Costa enhances Omni Golf’s impressive golf portfolio, which includes special properties such as the dazzling new $520 million Omni PGA Frisco, Omni Barton Creek (Austin, Texas), Omni Homestead (Hot Springs, Virginia), Omni Mount Washington (Bretton Woods, New Hampshire) and Florida’s Omni Amelia Island.

Recently, Omni Hotels & Resorts launched The Generation Cup, a year-long golf tournament scheduled at 12 of Omni's golf properties. This family-focused golf event was created to foster camaraderie in golfing families. Fathers, daughters, mothers, sons, grandparents, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles – the event is open to two-person teams separated by at least a generation. The format is a two-person modified best-ball “shamble.”

"Golf has seen a surge of new interest in recent years" said Spencer Cody, Corporate Director of Club and Golf Operations for Omni Hotels and Resorts. "We believe there is no better way to celebrate the game than playing with your loved ones."

Top gross and net teams from each division of the Generation Cup will advance to the National Championship taking place at Omni PGA Frisco in May 2025.