Gil Hanse to renovate Champions course before NCAAs


When the best college men’s and women’s players roll into Carlsbad, California, for the 2024 NCAA Championship, they will be greeted by a new Omni La Costa Resort and Spa’s Champions Course.

Gil Hanse is slated to renovate the course north of San Diego that originally was designed by Dick Wilson. The layout has a PGA Tour history dating back to 1969 and was host to the CBS Golf Classic in 1965.

The NCAA Championships for both men and women will be at the Raptor course at Grayhawk Golf Club in 2021-23. The tournaments had been scheduled for that facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2020, but the club’s three-year run was delayed a year because the championships were canceled in the wake of COVID-19.

Things then move farther west for the next three years, with La Costa scheduled to host the event from 2024 to 2026.

The 2024 NCAA Championships will be the first for men and women to be held at one course in consecutive weeks at a neutral site. The University of Texas will serve as the official host for both men and women, but no team will be allowed to play the Champions Course in the season before the championships.

The 2024 events also will be the first time the NCAA Championships have returned to Southern California since 2012 at Riviera Country Club.

Omni La Costa’s Champions Course in Carlsbad, California (Courtesy of Omni La Costa)

“We are thrilled that the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships will return to California in 2024,” Connie Hurlbut, senior associate commissioner at the West Coast Conference and chair of the NCAA Division I men’s golf committee, said in a media statement announcing the plans. “The collegiate golf community is excited about the opportunity to play La Costa as a neutral site for the championships, and we have complete confidence that it will prove to be a unique and challenging championship experience for all.”

Hanse has a well-respected track record of redesigns, renovations and restorations that include but certainly are not limited to Pinehurst No. 4 in North Carolina, the East and West courses at Winged Foot in New York and the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club. He and design partner Jim Wagner also have built the Olympic Golf Course in Brazil, Ohoopee Match Club in Georgia, Streamsong Black in Florida and the South Course at Los Angeles Country Club, among others.

Hanse and Wagner also are building the East Course at PGA Frisco, which will be the PGA of America’s new home in Texas. That course will be the site of the 2027 and 2034 PGA Championships.

“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,” Hanse said in the media release about the renovation in Carlsbad. “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.

“Bob and Blake Rowling (owners of Omni Hotels and Resorts) have tremendously high golf IQs. They understand what quality golf is and what it takes to make it a reality. Their support has been invaluable and motivates us to create something special here in this excellent Southern California landscape. 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.”

Omni La Costa also is home to the Legends Course, giving the facility 36 holes in all.

“The renovation that La Costa has committed to with Gil Hanse will make the Champions Course outstanding on many levels for our men’s and women’s student-athletes as well as for the membership there,” Julie Manning, executive associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Minnesota and chair of the NCAA Division I women’s golf committee, said in the media release. “Similar to what Gil was able to accomplish with the Brazilian Olympic course, the renovation at La Costa will provide a challenging but fair venue, with plenty of teeing grounds for both genders that will undoubtedly lead to outstanding play during each of the championships.”



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