The attention this week with the PGA Tour’s Farmer’s Insurance event in La Jolla certainly has concentrated the focus of golf fans everywhere. It helps matters when seven-time winner of the event and 15-time major champion Tiger Woods is in the field contending.
Yet, just 22 miles north of Torrey Pines and 35 miles north of San Diego lies Carlsbad. The vibrant community has a robust golf connection. Serving as the corporate headquarters for such leading equipment companies with Taylormade, Titleist, Callaway and Cobra Puma — all situated there. But Carlsbad’s link to golf also centers around two major resorts lying within its boundary with each providing a vibrant and long standing connection to the sport.
In past years the PGA Tour came calling with annual pilgrimages to the La Costa Resort & Spa for the Tournament of Champions from 1969 to 1999. Woods famously won the 1997 version with a laser-like approach to 8 inches from the hole in a sudden-death playoff against Tom Lehman capturing his 3rd win on the PGA Tour in just nine starts.
In the years to follow the PGA Tour would take the event and head to Hawaii. The connection to professional golf resurrected itself in 1999 and 2000 when the Anderson Consulting Match Play Championship was played. The event also returned to La Costa from 2002 to 2006 — with Tiger taking home titles in 2003 and 2004 respectively. The LPGA also graced the fairways at La Costa with the inaugural Kia Classic in 2010 and again in 2012.
Over the course of time and through various ownerships the overall stature of La Costa began to dim. That changed immeasurably when Omni Hotels and Resorts purchased the Spanish Colonial property in 2013 making $50 million major renovations for the 400-acre property which includes 611 guest rooms.
The facility boasts two 18-hole layouts — since renamed the Champions and Legends respectively. During its former host duties with the PGA Tour a composite configuration of holes was hosted. The Champions is a stout layout providing for a wondrous combination of holes and featuring a superb ending trio with a scintillating par-3, par-4 and par-5 conclusion. When the golf is done it pays to take in the renowned spa — one of the finest throughout all of Southern California.
Less than three miles away is the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf & Spa facility. The 327-room facility also boasts a high profile golf offering — an Arnold Palmer design which annually hosts The Kia Classic — scheduled for March 26-29. The event has been played at the facility since 2013 and the Palmer layout is routed close to the tidal wetland Batiquitos Lagoon.
The grounds are sumptuously prepared and a $50 million updating will finalized by the Fall of 2020. For those seeking a clear break from the 24/7 daily grind the time spent there clearly seeks to recharge one’s batteries.
No golf visit to Carlsbad can be complete without heading to the Carlsbad Golf Center. The facility provides quality equipment offerings and superior teachers able to correct any number of swing deficiencies. Walk into the main building and you’ll encounter a golf kinship like no other.
For those seeking more than just a golf connection there’s an eclectic mixture of activities and offerings clearly resonating with all age ranges. Carlsbad is blessed with seven miles of eye-catching views of the Pacific Ocean and the year-round weather provides for visits that can certainly fits ones availability and calendar.
Heading to Carlsbad Village — the core downtown area — provides a slew of top tier options. A highly successful Farmer’s Market is held each Wednesday from 3-6 pm during winter hours. Visitors can also enjoy an array of mouth-watering culinary options scattered throughout the Village and the broader Carlsbad area.
On the libation side eight local breweries welcome guests within their production facilities for freshly tapped pours, and fun and informative brew tours.
Opportunities for excitement, enrichment, and education dot the seaside landscape of Carlsbad, from heart-pounding excursions to insightful cultural explorations. Within a short drive of hotels, restaurants, and the beach, the following attractions offer unforgettable ways to fill the itinerary of any sun-soaked Carlsbad stay.
McDowell keen to enjoy resurgence
The California Resort stretches across 128 acres to offer interactive amusements to families with children between ages 2 and 12. The park features more than 50 LEGO-themed rides, surrounded by brick-built characters and landscapes, including the pirate themed Splash Battle, medieval Knights Tournament, and the Fun Town Fire Academy. The property also features the SEA LIFE Aquarium, an educational and interactive look at ocean creatures and habitats, as well as the LEGOLAND Water Park, boasting a 45-foot waterslide, sandy wading beaches, and areas specifically geared towards toddlers.
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
A distinctly Carlsbad attraction, The Flower Fields offer visitors access to the only commercial ranunculus field in the world open to the public. The Field opens in March for six-eight weeks, showcasing the vibrantly blooming Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers. Additionally, a miniature rose garden and All-American Rose walk of fame highlight the romantic flowers. The Flower Fields also hosts private events outdoors and in the on-site barn overlooking the Pacific. Open-air concerts, plant shows, photo workshops, tractor rides, and a maze offer further ways to enjoy the Fields.
Offers aerial tours of Carlsbad’s top attractions, from the Flower Fields to the coastal beaches, and out over the ocean to see whales surfacing. Guests—only two at a time—don helmets and goggles before boarding vintage biplanes. The 1929 Travel Air 4000, with the help of some modern upgrades, has served the Carlsbad area for over 85 years. Pilots often allow riders to take the wheel, letting them experience the adrenaline-pumping power of the antique aircraft.
Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park
Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park was once part of the original 2,538-acre working rancho and vacation retreat of Leo Carrillo, who acted in almost 100 films and co-starred in the TV series “The Cisco Kid.” The historic ranch, an extraordinary educational and recreational resource, welcomes guests with free admission. The City of Carlsbad restored many of the buildings on this 27-acre parcel, located at the bottom of a lushly landscaped canyon.
The Gemological Institute of America
Established in 1931 by Robert M. Shipley, this World Headquarters campus sits on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a spectacular panoramic view.
Scavangers beer & adventure tours
Named one of America’s most unique beer tours by Forbes Travel, the Scavenger’s beer tours combine the killer craft beer scene and world-renowned coastline in an all-inclusive beer adventure. Explore the North county beer Scene via their open-aired 6-wheeled Vintage Swiss Safari Vehicles, perfect for Carlsbad’s wonderful year-round weather.
Museum of Making Music
Year round, visitors can enjoy a unique music experience at the Museum of Making Music , a fun and informative museum that exists to inspire visitors to interactively discover the history of making music, musical instruments and products.
Batiquitos Lagoon, one of the few remaining tidal wetlands in Southern California, attracts birdwatchers and offers a Nature Center that coordinates tours and self-guided walks. Buena Vista Lagoon—the only freshwater lagoon in the state—features 40-60 species of birds in its protected wilderness, as well as a Nature Center. Agua Hedionda Lagoon includes mud flats, salt and freshwater marsh, and deep water with recreational opportunities including boating, watersports, and fishing. Kayaking the lagoon is a popular activity and is best at high tide when numerous streams appear, bringing with it a multitude of birds and wildlife.
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