Tees for Two
For those who find courting and competition mutually inclusive
Photo by Gerry Maceda
Looking for the perfect place to steal a kiss or enjoy some of the desert’s most idyllic scenery? These courses offer settings on target for spending the day with your ideal pairing. So grab your favorite golfing girl or guy and head to the links for love.
Cimarrón Golf Resort: Pebble Course
Cimarrón’s Spanish origins translate to “wild” or “unruly.” And while one surely hopes the definition belies the ball’s trajectory, the description is wonderfully apt for the grounds at Cimarrón Golf Resort.
Crafted by the celebrated hand of designer John Fought, the spare, untamed grounds at Cimarrón aren’t unique to the Coachella Valley in landscape alone. Rather, the resort’s Pebble Course offers one of the region’s few prime executive layouts. And those voids in terrain are just waiting to be filled by the player’s creative use of iron shot-shaping and imaginative regard to desert wonderment.
Situated adjacent to Cimarrón’s championship Boulder Course layout, the par-55 Pebble is an optimal round for couples on the go. The reason is “pace of play,” according to Head Professional Mike Jick. “It features 17 par-3s and one par-4, and the ladies’ tees are around 2,200 yards. It’s a fair golf course for the higher handicap golfer. The approach shots around the greens are also player-friendly because there are only bunkers on two holes. The green can be easily accessed by running the ball up there.”
Long popular for couples who dine and play during high-season gatherings, a typical round at Pebble is generally played in three hours. But such brevity serves as no deterrent for a setting so lovely.
“You tee off on No. 1 and you’re looking straight at the mountains and the tram,” Jick says. “That’s pretty spectacular. When you get on the far side of the golf course on holes 13 through 15, you’re playing on the corner of a wash, and you really feel like you’re kind of off on your own. It’s a very cool feeling.”
67603 30th Ave., Cathedral City. 1-760-770-6060; www.cimarrongolf.com
Desert Willow Golf Resort: Mountain View Course
Recently rated as the No. 25 public facility in the country by Golf Digest, both the Firecliff and Mountain View Courses present a premier mesh of playable beauty.
For what the Firecliff offers in the form of an extraordinary examination of elevated skill, the Mountain View presents a more forgiving challenge drawn upon an equally idyllic canvass. With generous landing areas segueing to gently cut, impeccably maintained fairways , the Mountain View is an ideal layout for the couple looking to combine test and texture.
Speaking further to the design, Director of Sales & Marketing Bruce Nation says, “Holes 5 and 6 are really good golf holes. No. 5 is a long par-3 that stretches out to about 190 yards if you play all the way back; it’s got a great view of the Santa Rosa Mountains. No. 6 is a short par-5 that plays about 480 yards from the tips. It’s a good golf hole; if you hit a good drive you’ve got a really good chance of going for the green in two. But if you don’t hit a good second shot, you’re going to be in the water, as a lake surrounds the green.”
Comparing the two courses further, Nation adds: “Of our two courses, I think Mountain View has the best playability. There’s a little less carry off the tee, and fewer bunkers and waste areas than the Firecliff Course. It’s always in great condition. The bunkers, greens, and lake edges have all been renovated in recent years.”
Also the recipient of recent renovation is the clubhouse, which reopened in January 2011 after a complete makeover. After perusing one of the valley’s most style-forward pro shops, enjoy a post-round lunch or cocktail on the inviting patio space overlooking the lush grounds. To absorb an elevated Desert Willow experience with your mate, be sure to keep apprised of Desert Willow’s evening music events and special wine gatherings. For the cooing couple, their annual Valentine’s Day evening a must.
38995 Desert Willow Dr., Palm Desert. 1-760-346-7060; www.desertwillow.com
Indian Wells Golf Resort: Celebrity Course
For the pair looking for the ultimate, sense-alighting getaway, the Celebrity Course offers an ideal mix of playability and scenic delights.
“What’s beautiful about the Celebrity Course is that there’s not a home on it, and it’s also one of the most beautiful golf courses you’re going to play that’s not on a body of water,” boasts Director of Golf Joe Williams. “You’ve got flowers, streams, lakes, and gorgeous mountain views; it’s just a very scenic course. And when you’re out there playing as spouses or a couple, that’s something that when the guys are playing they may not take note of. But the women are definitely going to take notice of the beauty of the golf course.”
On the Celebrity Course, which played host to the 2007 and 2008 LG Skins Game, the golf-loving pair can blissfully break free from what generally exemplifies desert golf. Ample running water combines with California poppies, bougainvillea, and alyssum to frame your round in a garden of olfactory and visual stimulation. Weddings on these grounds are tended to with the same care and attention that this exceptional staff minds their 36 championship holes.
“The most beautiful spot for me is the middle of the 14th fairway,” Williams says of the Celebrity’s most romantic spot. “You’ve got a nice running stream across the fairway, a body of water to the right, and mountains in the background. It gives the feel that you’re away from it all.”
44500 Indian Wells Ln., Indian Wells. 1-760-346-4653; www.indianwellsgolfresort.com
La Quinta Resort & Club: Mountain Course
Akin to what Dr. Alister MacKenzie achieved with his luminary Cypress Point design, there is such a heightened sense of natural euphoria found at Pete Dye’s Mountain Course that one may actually forget that you’ve arrived there to play golf.
“When you tee off on the Mountain Course, Pete Dye let’s you know right away it’s a Pete Dye golf course. It’s pretty challenging for a first hole, but I kinda like that coming out of the gate,” says Bill Shaw, La Quinta Resort’s Director of Golf, about the track recently rated by Golf Digest as the country’s 17th ranked “Top Course for Women.”
“You’ve got to pay attention,” Shaw adds of the Mountain’s beginnings. “Then, after that, you almost wouldn’t know it was Pete Dye. There are very big landing areas, although once you get to the greens you know Pete’s returned. But on this golf course he’s giving you so many ‘outs.’”
As the master designer provides said outs, he’s also gently weaving your pairing in toward a back nine cut into the Santa Rosa Mountains; the transition is so subtle, the stimuli so stunning, your honey may need to sweetly remind that you’re standing before a golf ball.
“You start going back in the mountains and you’re in a segue, a transition of places where you’re right there on top of the mountains,” says Michael Kelly, Executive Director at PGA West. “You’re secluded; it’s private and it’s quiet.”
Focusing on the grandeur, Kelly, Shaw, and their team seek to heighten your experience in any way possible.“We’ve set up carts with margaritas, Bloody Marys, or wine,” Kelly continues. Masterfully pairing the elevated, 16th tee box with elevated senses, the accommodating and creative La Quinta team often employ the setting for special requests. When play has concluded for the day, the hosts offer an evening of dining and drinking amid the glow of tiki torches. For the couple seeking the ultimate Mountain Course experience, request a romantic table-top for two from the lofty 16th tee environs. Remove the golf gloves and dine with hands entwined, the desert moon above, and the Santa Rosa Cove below twinkling in the deep distance. 50200 Avenida Vista Bonita, La Quinta. 1-760-564-7610; www.laquintaresort.com