Review: La Costa Resort - Champions Course, San Diego, CA

Chilling in Southern California with Champions
Every golf course and resort has a vibe.  Some are snooty, some are sloppy, some are stressed and other are laid back.  La Costa is just chill.   From the moment you drive up until the time you leave the property, there is just a relaxed, mellow, yet classy feel to the resort and golf courses.  They offer every high-end amenity you can think of in a resort, luxurious lodging, multiple pools, water slides, spa, gym, shopping, restaurants, bars,  and 36 holes of championship caliber golf.  In the last couple of years, La Costa has invested serious cash in their resort and specifically they golf courses.  The Champions course has hosted some of the worlds greatest golfers and was redone 2 years ago.  The Legends course just reopened the day I left La Costa in late November 2013. (so I didn’t get to play it)  I was able to stay on property and play the Champions Course.  It is a semi-private resort, which allows outside play as well as full memberships.   I can’t wait to chill again at La Costa and try the Legends course. 
As you pull up to the valet parking, there is a good chance you will see a supercar of some sort; you know you are in Southern Cal.  The service attendants are really cool; they didn’t act fake friendly, nor were they elitist, just genuinely helpful.  They direct you to where you need to go, help with bags, answer any questions and offer transportation as needed.  The guest rooms are well appointed and quite large.  The open-air hallways allow you to enjoy the near perfect year round weather of southern California.  We enjoyed a great meal at their signature restaurant the  Blue Fire Grill.  The entire meal was amazing, but the highlight has to be the Butcher’s Block; (a random choice cut meat) it might have been the best steak I’ve ever had.  While I didn’t use the spa or do much shopping, they have great facilities, probably one of the biggest and nicest workout rooms for a resort I’ve stayed at.

Obviously my real focus was the golf.  The Champions course is worthy of its name.  It is a demanding layout with beautiful valley scenery.  While there aren’t any ocean views, their is plenty of beauty on this inland course.  The opening hole is tight enough with the rugged waist areas on the right and houses on the left, make sure you hit the range first.  It really is a foretaste of the next 17 holes.  There aren’t too many wide open holes.  That is not to say you need to be straight as an arrow, you can get away here and there with a slightly crooked tee shot, but if you get wild, it is going to be a long round.  There are lots of bunkers too, so navigating the sand is vital too.  The front 9 takes you mostly away from the clubhouse area.  There is a great mixture of short and long holes and creative greens.  The holes furthest away from the clubhouse, holes 7-9, are a great stretch of 3 holes that play downhill, over and around a pond.

That chill vibe of the resort and course was on display in an interesting and creative way.  Instead of a ranger or a caddy, they have a “players assistant” that moves around and works with a number of groups to keep the pace of play moving. He does it  without scolding or being obnoxious.  He helps rake traps, find balls, directs you to the next hole or whatever else a caddy/ranger might help you with.  At first it was kind of weird because we didn’t know what he was doing or who he was, but once he explained his role, we all really liked the idea.

The back 9 has a really solid collection of holes, some are pretty tough because of a bordering body of water.  As you work back toward the clubhouse, the last 5 holes are probably the best.  The challenging par 4 14th hole tests, all parts of your game, while the short par 4 15th is a chance to make birdie, maybe even eagle with a well struck driver.  The 16th hole is the signature par 3 as you fire over water to a well protected green.  The 17th is a solid par 4 that just sets you up for the big finishing par 5 that traverses multiple ponds into a big green right in front of the clubhouse.

The course conditions were excellent as expected and it is an easy walking course.  The range will give you plenty of targets and distances to work on all your clubs and the putting green will prepare you properly for your round.  

La Costa is a great place to vacation in southern California; it has everything you could want as far as amenities, especially with all 36 holes now open. Plus it has that chill vibe which makes the experience even better.  Even though the resort isn’t ocean front, there are plenty of public beaches just a couple miles away.   The resort offer many different stay and play packages as well as memberships for locals, so you can make La Costa a chill place to hang out for the whole family in Southern California.

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Quick Hits
+Chill atmosphere
+Excellent 36 holes of golf
+Family friendly
+So many amenities
+Champions course is challenging but fair
+Great course conditions