Upon the 1965 opening of La Costa, the championship golf course was already in the record books, hailed as one of the great golf courses this side of the Atlantic.
The first televised event at La Costa was held in 1965 when the Haig & Haig Scotch Mixed Tournament was moved from Sebring in Florida. This competition was La Costa’s “first major test,” attracting players such as Billy Casper, Miller Barber, Ruth Jessen and Carole Mann. When the event returned to La Costa the next year, Gene Littler and Mickey Wright joined forces, helping to draw 15,000 spectators.
After Wilson’s death in the 1960s, his heir apparent, Joe Lee, rose to the task of adding to La Costa’s golf offerings. By 1973, an additional nine holes had been added (for a total of 27). In 1984, nine more holes were added, and the total 36 holes were divided into two 18-hole courses.
In terms of tournaments and championships held at La Costa, the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions was held at La Costa from 1969 to 1998. From 1999 to 2006, the World Gold Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship made its home at La Costa Resort and Spa.
Professional golfers aren’t the only players who love La Costa. The resort has long lured Hollywood luminaries to its legendary links. In the early days, dedicated devotees such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and Desi Arnaz held club memberships and played alongside pals such as Clint Eastwood, Andy Williams, Jim Garner, Ray Bolger, and William Powell. Celebrity athletes that have teed off over the years include Micky Mantle, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Joe Namath, and Johnny Unitas.