The Champions Course at the Omni La Costa, near San Diego, is about to undergo a renovation by Gil Hanse. That’s big news unto itself for the venerable resort that’s hosted the PGA Tour over the decades.
On top of that, the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Committees has selected the resort and the Champions Course to host the 2024, 2025 and 2026 Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships.
Hanse is already working within the Omni portfolio as the designer of the East Course at PGA Frisco, the PGA of America’s new headquarters in Texas that’s set to open in 2022 and will also be home to the Omni PGA Frisco Resort. While his original work at places like Ohoopee Match Club and the Olympic Golf Course in Brazil is lauded, his restorations of both courses at Winged Foot Golf Club, the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club and the East Course at Merion Golf Club have drawn widespread acclaim.
“Our team is very excited to be a part of bringing Omni La Costa’s esteemed stature in American tournament golf into a new generation. Just as we did with the Olympic Course in Rio, we embrace collaborating with the NCAA on creating a course that is suitable for both top-tier men and women players as well as Omni La Costa’s members and resort guests,” Hanse said. “It’s too soon to say if the characteristics will be more like a George Thomas Los Angeles Country Club, Bel Air or Riviera style or an Alister MacKenzie look, like at Valley Club of Montecito, or something else, but we’re looking forward to ‘solving the puzzle’ out in the land.”
The men’s and women’s Division I NCAA golf championships will be played over consecutive weeks starting in 2024, marking the first time each of the championships will be played together and at a neutral site. The University of Texas is designated as the host school for all three years of the championship, but no players will be allowed to play the Champions Course until the respective national championships.
The 2024 event will mark the first time the Division I women’s golf championship has been played in Southern California in 28 years, while the men’s championship will be returning after a 12-year absence in the region.
The Champions Course is a Dick Wilson design that opened in 1965, and it hosted the CBS Golf Classic that year. Four years later, the PGA Tour began a run through 1998 at La Costa, bringing the Tournament of Champions to the resort. La Costa hosted the WGC Andersen Consulting World Match Play Championship in 1999.