The Crossings at Carlsbad: San Diego-area golfers get another top-flight municipal golf course

By David R. Holland, Senior Writer

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Like so many new California golf courses held up for years by the Coastal Commission or the discovery of critters such as the black-tailed gnatcatcher, The Crossings at Carlsbad was more than 20 years in the making.

Crossings at Carlsbad golf course - hole 9
The Crossings at Carlsbad's clubhouse looks out at the Pacific and the golf course's ninth hole, a 139-yard par 3.
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The Crossings At Carlsbad

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Southern California has no shortage of scenic oceanfront golf courses, but the Crossings at Carlsbad still manages to stand out. With the Pacific Ocean to the west and the southern California Peninsular Mountain Ranges to the east, the course's scenery is truly stunning. The golf course will take you across rugged terrain, through canyons and wetlands accentuated with sagebrush and native flora.

18 Holes | Public golf course | Par: 72 | 6835 yards | Book online | ... details »
 

Jumping through hoops also included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Aviation Administration, California Department of Fish and Game, California State Water Resources Control Board, California Coastal Commission, San Diego Gas & Electric and the City of Carlsbad.

If all that red tape wasn't enough, one July day in 2007, just a month before the golf course's grand opening, an airplane crashed from nearby Palomar Airport, hitting a power line, coming down right in front of the No. 3 green, destroying the putting surface and causing jet fuel contamination to the entire perimeter.

So it was with a sigh of relief when The Crossings at Carlsbad opened in August 2007 -- a debut that was much anticipated as the first municipal golf course in the city -- home to some powerhouse equipment/ball/shoe companies such as TaylorMade, Adidas, Callaway, Acushnet, Titleist, Footjoy and Cobra, and two luxury golf resorts -- LaCosta Resort and Spa and the Four Seasons Resort Aviara Golf Club.

The Crossings at Carlsbad: Worth the wait

From the handsome 28,000-square foot clubhouse one only has to walk out the door to see the view of the Pacific to the west, the mountain ranges to the east and the golf course that rolls up and down and through coastal canyons, a mere 30 minutes from downtown San Diego. It was designed by Greg Nash, measuring 6,835 yards at par 72, and has so many landform varieties you will not come close to boredom.

"The grading, or sculpting of the land was anything but radical," General Manager Jeff Perry said. "We wanted to retain the natural configuration of the site, to preserve the open space, and to protect and promote the spectacular views. The ebb and flow of the course has no 90-degree angles, yet it exhibits some areas where there are up to 100 feet of elevation change from one hole to the next."

The Crossings at Carlsbad was named for the five crossings or bridges that span environmental areas, giving you panoramas of the more than 1,000 acres of bird and animal habitat and coastal terrain that includes wetlands. An extensive re-vegetation program is in place for a drought-tolerant mix of coastal sage scrub and the golf course even connects to Carlsbad's parks system with a three-mile path.

The Crossings at Carlsbad: The layout

Speaking of No. 3, a 404-yard par 4, this hole features a two-tiered fairway with two bunkers splitting the middle and presenting a choice. Director of Golf Gary Glaser says aim right for the easier of the two options and play the hole a bit longer as it is a slight dog-leg left. The shorter more difficult and direct path to the left brings some unplayable coastal sage into play.

The Crossings at Carlsbad's sixth hole faces toward the Pacific and is a 458-yard monster. It might be the toughest hole with a deceiving landing area, flanked by bunkers on the left and edged with coastal sage brush, eucalyptus trees on the right, and an uphill approach shot to a well guarded green.

The 556-yard, par 5 No. 7 is the signature hole. The tee is perched on a rock wall ledge. Make sure you hit the left side of the fairway, because going too far right brings a pond and water feature into play on your approach. This is classic risk-reward with a wide multi-tiered green. Going for the green in two is only for experts.

The Crossings at Carlsbad: The verdict

Not everyone is in love with The Crossings at Carlsbad. There are lots of power lines, airport take-offs and busy California noise. All the environmental requirements forced constant changes in the routing making the final product somewhat disjointed in places. But Golf Magazine certainly liked it as one of the "Top 10 New Courses You Can Play" in 2007.

And the price is right for the locals and anything around $100 for travel golf enthusiasts in California is a bargain for an upscale municipal. If you play on a perfect day with views of the Pacific, you can tune out any distractions and have fun. I liked it. Even LaCosta has power lines in play.

The Crossings at Carlsbad offers lessons and lighted practice areas offering putting greens, short game chipping areas and driving range.

The Crossings at Carlsbad: Stay and play

The Canyons Restaurant, located in the clubhouse, is so excellent it sometimes has 20- to 30-minute waits and 90 percent of the patrons are non-golfers. Golf World tagged it with a 2010 Readers' Choice Award as its No. 1 Public Food & Dining Facility. Don't miss the calamari appetizer -- you will be craving seconds.

When it was time to bunk down, I picked The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa (www.sheratoncarlsbad.com) just a minute away. It is brand-new, has 250 luxurious rooms, coastal and golf course views and is next to Legoland, a place the children will love. At its restaurant Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar, I had lobster pot pie that was tasty and the service was friendly and quick.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Senior Writer

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter at @David_R_Holland.


Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Can't beat the price

    Jason wrote on: Mar 30, 2010

    I enjoyed the course and the clubhouse restaurant. You're right the calamari was top notch.

    Reply