Course Spy: La Costa Resort & Spa

Hazards everywhere: La Costa Resort is the former home of the Accenture World Match Play Championship.

La Costa Resort & Spa
Carlsbad, Calif.
North: 7,021 yards, par 72 / South: 7,004 yards, par 72
Green fees: $195-$205; 800-854-5000;
www.lacosta.com

SERVICE
The helpful staff has a relaxed, So-Cal surfer vibe. "No problem," the pro-shop attendant assured us when we called to say we were running late. Bonus points: no nagging starter with a laundry list of rules. Just pay, grab your cart, and go!

PACE OF PLAY
Snag an afternoon tee time, when both courses are usually wide open. On a gorgeous Saturday we saw only three other groups, so we played two balls, hit practice shots and otherwise enjoyed our "private" course.

QUALITY
La Costa is a Dick Wilson-Joe Lee track that challenges on every shot. Drought conditions explained some burned-out fairway on both courses (you'll play nine holes from each), but the greens were ship-shape.

VALUE
After "free bar," the two sweetest words in the English language are "twilight rate." At $100 for guests and $125 for walk-ins, the post-1 p.m. discount is a real steal. And considering how open the course could be, it's fairway robbery.

VERDICT
$205 for weekend walk-ins ($185 for guests) isn't piggy-bank money. But as longtime host of the Tournament of Champions and the Match Play, La Costa is worth crossing off your golf course bucket list.

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