Omni La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad will play host to the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships from 2024-26, it was announced by the National Collegiate Athletic Association on Tuesday.
Both tournaments will be played on the famed Champions Course, following a planned renovation in 2022 overseen by noted golf course architect Gil Hanse.
The Division I Men’s Golf Championship was last played in Southern California at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades in 2012, while the Division I Women’s Championship will return to SoCal for the first time since 1996 at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.
“We are thrilled that the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships will return to California in 2024,” said Connie Hurlbut, senior associate commissioner at the West Coast Conference and chair of the NCAA Division I men’s golf committee.
“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.”
The Men’s and Women’s Championships will be contested over consecutive weeks each year beginning in 2024, and the University of Texas will serve as the official host institution for all three of championships.
No college teams will be allowed to play tournaments on Omni La Costa’s Champions Course during those seasons unless and until they reach the national championship.
Hanse is the architect of the under-construction East Course at PGA Frisco, the new headquarters of the PGA of America in Frisco, Texas, on the grounds of the Omni PGA Frisco Resort, which was awarded the 2027 and 2034 PGA Championships, and possibly a Ryder Cup.
Among Hanse’s other work are renovations of the West and East Courses at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club, and the East Course at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
His original designs include The Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Ohoopee Match Club in Cobbtown, Ga., and the South Course at Los Angeles Country Club.
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, which also includes the Legends Course, was designed by Dick Wilson and opened in 1965, and the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions (later called the Mercedes Championship and now the Sentry Tournament of Champions) was played there from 1969 until 1998.
Among the tournament’s winners at La Costa were Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Johnny Miller, Al Geiberger, Lanny Wadkins, Paul Azinger and Tom Kite.
In 1999, the WGC Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship was played at La Costa, with Jeff Maggert claiming the title over Andrew Magee in the scheduled 36-hole final when he holed a chip shot for a birdie on the second playoff hole.
“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. “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 & 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.”
The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship was first played in 1939 while the women’s tournament began in 1982.
Individual men’s NCAA champions include Nicklaus, Mickelson, Woods, Ben Crenshaw, E. Harvie Ward, Justin Leonard, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange, Scott Simpson, Luke Donald and Bryson DeChambeau.
Among the women’s NCAA champions are Annika Sorenstam, Stacy Lewis Pat Hurst, Charlotta Sorenstam, Azahara Munoz, Austin Ernst, Annie Park, Vicki Goetze, Emilee Klein, Grace Park, Caroline Hedwall and Jennifer Kupcho.