CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA | Golf-obsessed tourists can work in club fittings here at the home of some of the biggest brands in the game. Topgolf Callaway offers them at its uber-high-tech Ely Callaway Performance Center just a short drive from its headquarters, and so does TaylorMade at The Kingdom, just a Rory McIlroy drive or two from its offices. As for Titleist, its celebrated Titleist Performance Institute is just up the coast in Oceanside.
For more information such as pricing, the types of fittings available and how to set up appointments, visit the websites here: Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist. I can tell you from experience that time at any of those operations is good fun and very educational. And a proper fitting can do wonders for one’s game.
Alas, Scotty Cameron’s iconic putting studio in nearby San Marcos is not open to the general public; it is restricted to tour professionals and other VIPs inside and outside of golf. But his Golf Gallery in Encinitas is open to all. Described by the designer as “part retail space, part high-end product boutique and part putter-fitting facility,” it is the sort of spot where a "Cameron crazy" can linger for an hour or more. I certainly have. Visit his website here.
Carlsbad has a wide range of suitable places to stay. At the very high end is the Park Hyatt Aviara, which offers every imaginable amenity and has an easy way of pampering its guests. The sunsets off the terrace at cocktail hour are something to behold as well. As for The Cassara, which is part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, it is for those who do not need or want quite as much luxury as the Park Hyatt but nonetheless want to be well accommodated. The views of the Pacific from my room were much appreciated, as was the attentive service and central location. I also liked the Karl Strauss Brewery and Restaurant next door, with its eclectic fare and superb craft beers.