Often in the shadow of nearby San Diego, Carlsbad doesn’t get the attention it deserves. A shorter road trip for folks coming south on I-5, the city of Carlsbad itself has enough attractions, golf courses, hotels, eateries and scenery to make a weeklong golf trip enjoyable for the whole family. FORE wants to help you plan a getaway for you and the fam that leaves hours of travel behind, so pack the kids and clubs in the car, and hit the road. We’ll see you there!
If you’re staying anywhere in Carlsbad, these four facilities will provide more than enough golf to satisfy your craving.
THE CROSSINGS AT CARLSBAD
No other Carlsbad location — let alone golf course — offers a more sweeping panorama of the coastline. The 6,835-yard municipal layout winds around canyons and through hillsides, offering challenges to every skill level along the way. Its fairways are wide, and greens are generously sized. It’s no wonder GOLF Magazine voted it one of the “Top 10 New Courses You Can Play in America” in 2007.
AVIARA GOLF CLUB
Located at the Park Hyatt Aviara, this course is widely considered one of the county’s top resort layouts and earned the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award in 2014. At 7,007 yards, this Arnold Palmer design annually hosts the LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic. The course is perpetually maintained in outstanding condition, and features rolling hillsides, native wildflowers, fast greens, and plenty of bunkers and water hazards — plus the nationally renowned Kip Puterbaugh Aviara Golf Academy.
OMNI LA COSTA
This former PGA TOUR venue — promoted as Southern California’s only Gold Medal Golf Resort — features two 18-hole courses that have recently been renovated and improved. The 7,172-yard Champions Course was completely restored and dressed with new Bentgrass greens, Bermuda fairways and strategically placed bunkers in 2011. Last year, the 7,007-yard Legends Course was renovated to include a complete reconstruction and redesign of all 18 greens, plus tee box resurfacing, new bunkers and fresh paspalum turfgrass fairways.
- STAY – Rooms start at $359 a night at this upscale, family friendly resort
For decades, this 18-hole, par-3 course has been a staple among Carlsbad’s vibrant golf scene. Golf industry executives frequent the driving range during lunch hour, honing their games. At 2,021 yards, the course offers a family friendly atmosphere, while sharply contrasting all of Southern California’s pricey layouts.
Eat & Drink
Carlsbad has become a hotbed for new craft breweries, and like most Southern California coastal cities there’s plenty of incredible food, and especially seafood, to devour while you are in town. Here are a favorite of our favorite spots.
THE LAND & WATER COMPANY
The Land & Water Co. serves up exactly what it sounds like, with hyper-locally sourced meats and fish highlighting the menu. Chef Robert Ruiz fuses the best of his expertise as a sushi chef with expertly crafted hot local fares. Familiar sushi menu items like Sashimi and California Roll are there, but so are entrees like a grilled pork chop, served with sun dried plum puree, truffle bread pudding, candied orange zest and pistachio. The unique ambiance at this year-old restaurant that was built into a 1880’s Victorian building is worth the trip in itself.
PACIFIC COAST GRILL
We’re cheating here, as the Pacific Coast Grill is actually just south of Carlsbad in Cardiff. But if you want a dine-on-the-beach experience, this is about as close as you can get. Request a table on the upstairs patio, and you will literally be dining atop the Pacific Ocean during high tide. And just about everything on the menu is superb. Our favorites? The baked oyster appetizer is delicious, but needs to be shared. They are topped with creamy artichokes, green chili and cheese. You can’t go wrong ordering seafood, and especially the coconut-crab crusted mahi mahi. But surprisingly, one of the most popular dishes is the Filet Mignon Kung Pao, which is about as good as you would get at any Chinese restaurant. Plus, their extensive wine list doesn’t go unnoticed.
ARCANA BREWING COMPANY
ON THE TRACKS BREWERY
These two establishments in eastern Carlsbad are still hidden gems, so go before the crowds show up. From mild English ales to IPAs to roasty stouts and porters, there’s a beer for everyone at Arcana, and the reasonable pricing in the tasting room makes it easy to try a variety. Over at On The Tracks, they brew in the Scottish and English styles, and the place is owned by lifelong Carlsbad residents, so you’ll surely get a true local experience. Plus, they brew their own ginger beer, if that’s your cup of suds.
A typically fun Irish pub atmosphere is found at O’Sullivan’s, complete with a schedule of live music and brews on tap. You can get your fish and chips or corned beef and cabbage if you want to go traditional. But why not step outside the box and try a boxty, basically a potato pancake that’s wrapped around any number of fillings, such as our favorite, the Rasher & Cheese Boxty, which is the potato pancake filled with imported Irish bacon with Irish cheese and topped with a white wine butter sauce. Just don’t do it before an afternoon tee time.
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
Stay&Play takes on a whole new meaning if you decide to stay at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. Sure there’s “golf play” for you, but there’s also multiple pools and water slides for the kids and an indulgent spa for anyone who wants to take advantage. With two golf courses on site, a game room and extensive fitness center, a weekend at La Costa could very easily be spent without leaving the property. Although proximity to the beach does make a quick trip offsite enticing.
LEGOLAND® California Resort
LEGOLAND is one of the top family amusement parks in the U.S., and happens to be conveniently located in Carlsbad. Geared for families with children ages 2 to 12, the park has more than 60 rides, shows and attractions, as well as incredibly built Lego structures that even the adults in the family will enjoy. The property also has a water park for those hot summer days and an aquarium with interactive experiences for people of all ages.
- STAY – Little known fact? If you stay at Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa, which is located right next to LEGOLAND, you actually have access to a private park entrance. Rooms start at $270/night.
Carlsbad State Beach
You should include a trip to the beach on your trip to Carlsbad. Carlsbad State Beach includes four miles of white sandy beach and two jogging trails. And fire pits are available for BBQ and bonfires.
Golf Manufacturing Mecca
We’d be remise if we didn’t remind the golfer that Carlsbad has become the golf manufacturing capital of the world. With Callaway, TaylorMade and Cobra-Puma all within the city, golfers can get a once-in-a-lifetime experience when it comes to club fittings at the Callaway Performance Center or the TaylorMade Kingdom. Much of the cutting edge technology in your golf bag was created right in Carlsbad. Who would have thought!