Designed by Arnold Palmer, the 18-hole championship course is sculpted around the natural topography of three valleys. The 7,007-yard, par-72 course is the only Arnold Palmer-designed course in the San Diego area.
Adjacent to Batiquitos Lagoon, which is home to more than 130 species of shorebirds, waterfowl and a variety of natural vegetation, it took nearly a decade to develop this course because of ecological concerns. The designers and builders took care to preserve these environmentally important wetlands. For example, the course uses recycled water for 95% of its irrigation needs. Native wildflowers grow to the edge of the expansive fairways and greens; and cascading waterfalls and streams are among the water hazards positioned as visual extensions of the lagoon. The course is complemented by golf facilities that include a practice driving range; putting and pitching greens, an industry-leading GPS system on all golf carts, and a 32,000 square-foot Spanish colonial clubhouse. The clubhouse features men’s and women’s locker facilities, The Argyle restaurant and lounge, and an award-winning golf shop.
Four Seasons Resort Aviara is also home to Kip Puterbaugh’s Aviara Golf Academy, which holds one, two-and three-day golf schools. Puterbaugh was again ranked as a Top 100 golf instructor and Top 25 U.S. golf school for 2007 by Golf Digest Magazine. The Golf Academy set the bar even higher in July of 2005, with the opening of the TaylorMade Performance Lab; a state-of-the-art club-fitting system previously available only to tour pros at the TaylorMade headquarters in Carlsbad, CA. During a two-hour session, guests adorn an electronic sensor body suit and take several swings in front of the nine camera system. A statistical analysis is composed for each guest, identifying the perfect set of golf clubs for their swing. A custom set of TaylorMade clubs is made available for purchase and can even be delivered to the guest’s room within 24 hours. In addition to the award-winning Golf Shop, the course was rated the 2007 #1 golf resort in Southern California according to the readers of Condé Nast Traveler. Green fees are $205 er round Monday through Thursday and $225 per round Friday through Sunday.
While the 3rd hole par three is officially considered the signature hole, it is the 18th hole that players will remember as one of the most difficult finishing holes they will ever face. Starting with the tee shot, the player faces a demanding drive that requires distance and precision. The 443yd 18th hole sits close to the banks of Batiquitos lagoon and points directly into the prevailing sea breeze that comes unabated from the ocean, just a mile away. Typically winds average 12-15 miles an hour, making the hole play more like 480 yards when there is wind. While the 3rd hole par three is officially considered the signature hole, it is the 18th hole that players will remember as one of the most difficult finishing holes they will ever face. Starting with the tee shot, the player faces a demanding drive that requires distance and precision. The 443-yard 18th hole sits close to the banks of Batiquitos lagoon and points directly into the prevailing sea breeze that comes unabated from the ocean, just a mile away. Typically winds average 12-15 miles an hour, making the hole play more like 480 yards when there is wind. A player must fit their drive between the lake on the right and a bunker and out of bounds on the left. The fairway slopes gently toward the water hazard on the right. A right-hander’s slice can easily get caught in the wind and find its way to a watery grave. The further left you place your tee shot on the fairway, the better. What awaits your approach to the green is a narrow putting surface surrounded by water, bunkers, and out of bounds all down the left side of the hole and only a few yards from the bunkers and cart path that attract any slightly off-center shot. This approach would grab a player’s attention even in perfectly still conditions, but add the prevailing sea breeze and your last full swing of the round to post a good score and you have the ultimate test of a golfer’s mental and physical ability. From the left side of the fairway, the green opens up a bit to provide a wider landing area than a shot from the right side. A shot hit from this position with a slight draw will help penetrate the wind and hold its direction. The smart play is at the center of the green and underneath the hole. A par on the 18th at Aviara will usually win the press, skin carryovers, or the match play finals of the San Diego Chapter PGA as it did in 1999 when Scott Mahlberg came from behind in dramatic fashion. 2 down with 4 holes to play in a 36-hole match, Scott holed a bunker shot to move 1 down coming to the 18th hole. Scott drove the fairway while his opponent hooked his tee shot out of bounds. Scott went on to make par and win the PGA Chapter match play championship on the first play-off hole.