The luxurious Park Hyatt Aviara Resort overlooks the beautiful ecological reserve of Batiquitos Lagoon and its Arnold Palmer-designed golf course from the late 1980s is the centrepiece attraction within a 200-acre residential property.
Set out on a difficult landscape dominated by deep ravines, the par-72 course extends to just over 7,000 yards from the back markers with a number of man-made water features providing much of the strategic interest on the layout.
Two par fives take the eye on the front nine: the 543-yard dog legged 5th and the downhill 536-yard 8th, which is played to a pond-protected green. The 158-yard 6th is also a fine short hole, where tees shots fly a gaping gorge to a two-tiered putting surface.
The round ends next to the lagoon with the 443-yard closing hole guarded along its right side by yet another small lake that’s embellished with a couple of small waterfalls close to the greensite.
The 4th edition of the Kia Classic was played at Aviara in March 2013, the first time that an LPGA Tour event had ever been held on a Hyatt property.
The golf course is currently going through a transition. They are moving from fescue in the roughs and around the greens to a more sustainable bermuda type grass. Yet, they are still charging $290 / round for each player. Two holes are completely closed and Aviara has transitioned two par fives into a temp par 4 / par 3 combo - so there is still 18 holes. But this is not a good value at all. The holes which still have fescue are in really rough shape outside the fairways and around the greens. Some day it will be back to a memorable experience.
Good course but definitely too expensive for what you get. I gave it 4 balls like I did for Torrey Pine and Maderas but it deserves a lower ranking. It does not have the "appeal" to be a course played by the PGA tour and does not have the views of the ocean or of the desert such as Torrey Pine and Maderas respectively. Frankly there are better course in the area at a much lower price (The Crossing at Carlsbad above all, just to mention one)
Aviara has a lot of reasons for praise. The back nine has a great stretch of holes featuring several lakes, rolling topography, a double green (at a resort course nonetheless!), two par 3s that might be the best in Southern California and a 18th hole that is one of the best in the state.
That being said, Arnie was in full 90s bulldozer mode with this course, creating humps and bowls around greens that make no sense architecturally other than a pure ornamental features. The front side has a little less sizzle but picks up at the 8th hole. You are puzzled why there are so many bunkers divorced from greens and other than some of these features "looking cool", you wonder what could have been with this course.
Still though, the conditioning is top notch, the course is fun and challenging and this is definitely in the upper tier of SoCal courses. It has its flaws but what doesn't except for the Top 100?