The Quarry at La Quinta
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM BREWSTER
The Quarry at La Quinta leaves no stone unturned to offer members and guests an incomparable golf experience
During the infamous California Gold Rush, some 300,000 fortune hunters were lured west with the promise of gold in the riverbeds and rock mines in Northern California. For most, the wealth they sought eluded them. But a few lucky prospectors did hit the mother lode.
A century and a half later and farther south, an abandoned sand and gravel pit has also yielded gold — in the form of The Quarry at La Quinta. Situated in a peaceful cove at the base of the picturesque Coral and Santa Rosa mountains, this premier member-owned golf club offers a leisure lifestyle and golf experience beyond compare.
The Quarry was the brainchild of William Morrow and Henry Burdick, two avid golfers who sought an alternative to overcrowded golf courses and unavailable tee times. When Burdick and Morrow discovered that the abandoned Keller site in La Quinta was up for auction, they purchased the 105-acre property, subsequently acquiring an additional 255 acres. Along with 13 founding associates, they began developing their desert golf utopia.
To create a championship 18-hole golf course and a beautifully designed 10-hole short course amid a pristine landscape that featured distinct areas of elevation, Morrow and Burdick turned to renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio, whom Burdick describes as a person with great vision and rare attention to detail. Fazio’s expert design skills resulted in a three-level blueprint that featured seven holes and a driving range on the quarry floor, seven holes set in an alluvial fan 80 feet above, and four holes located on a plateau at the top of the mountain cove.
Design and construction teams set about transforming barren land into a first-class golf club boasting emerald fairways; dazzling water features that include four lakes, waterfalls, and streams; and 80,000 indigenous plants, shrubs, and trees. The plan also called for 65 residences around the perimeter, so that houses and streets would be partially concealed from golfers’ views.
Contractors carefully rerouted an ancient Indian trail. When they unearthed an abandoned mine with mining gear in the upper cove, Quarry members chose to showcase the site’s Old West origins, even engaging an Oregon gold miner to source additional mining relics for display. The club also acquired several life-size bronze sculptures, including Frederic Remington replicas, strategically interspersing artwork throughout the property to celebrate the area’s frontier origins and spirit. An enlarged Remington of a Cheyenne warrior charging into battle greets golfers at the first tee, while James Earl Fraser’s End of the Trail stands under a tree at the 18th hole.
Only six months after breaking ground, The Quarry’s Championship Course opened as scheduled on Jan. 1, 1994. Since then, the course has earned its way into the top 50 of Golf Digest’s top 100 courses and is consistently ranked in its top 5 for “course conditioning.”
In 2005, The Quarry developed an additional 74 acres, adding 29 new home sites and a 10-hole Short Course that emulates the style and aesthetics of the Championship Course with lakes, streams, waterfalls, and an 18-hole putting course. With its multiple tees, large greens, and mix of par-3 holes (some of which can be played as par 4s), the Short Course is a perfect place for beginners and experts alike to hone their golf skills in a spectacular and private environment.
In addition to the 300 members and their guests, The Quarry has hosted many PGA legends — among them, John Daly, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson, Peter Jacobsen, Gary Player, and Payne Stewart (who shot The Quarry’s first hole-in-one on Jan. 15, 1994). Former Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush have also played the course that General Manager Kendale Trahan calls “fun, fair, and forgiving.” Burdick lives at The Quarry for six months each year and likens playing on the golf course to visiting an old friend. “I learn something new about it every time I play, and every year it gets more beautiful,” he says.
It’s been more than a decade since Club President Steve Beebe first played The Quarry as a guest. He remains enthralled by the spectacular setting, course layout, playability for all skill levels, and accessibility. Tee times are not required, giving members unparalleled access to golf.
“It’s small enough to know everyone, yet large enough to always be able to find a game,” says member Linda Muir.
The Quarry’s head golf professional, Derek Lane, asserts that playing The Quarry is “the greatest experience of golf in the desert — and pretty much anywhere.” The Quarry hosts six golf events throughout the season, including a member tournament in December, a club championship in March, and a popular member/guest competition in April.
Members also take advantage of The Quarry’s stunning 21,000-square-foot clubhouse, which evokes a casually elegant ambiance with its plank ceilings, wrought-iron fixtures, and etched-glass partitions that depict the surrounding mountains. The Mediterranean-style venue serves breakfast, lunch, and occasional dinners; boasts a spacious veranda overlooking the 9th, 10th, and 18th greens; and houses a full-service golf shop. Additional amenities situated in a nearby building include a fitness gym, pool and spa, and tennis court.
Golf may be The Quarry’s signature game, but it’s not the only one. Club members enjoy a lively social scene — particularly during high season — that encompasses weekly gin and bridge games, book clubs, hiking groups that explore the scenic trails bordering the club, and frequent dinner parties at members’ homes.
Unlike many other local upscale golf clubs’ memberships, The Quarry does not require real estate ownership to join. Those who don’t maintain a residence at the club and guests of members who want to stay on the property beyond a day may rent one of three luxuriously furnished guest cottages. Each property features a spacious great room and kitchen, one master suite, three guest rooms, flat-screen televisions, and a private front patio with gas barbecue. Inquires about membership are welcome, and information is available by contacting the club.
The Quarry consists of 57 residences, with a planned build-out of approximately 100. The prices start at $995,000. In terms of security, mountains geographically protect The Quarry, and perimeters have security beams and 24-hour camera surveillance. Two guards, one at the entrance gate and one patrolling the property, are on duty 24/7.
For those who seek relaxation, fun, and camaraderie; unequaled natural beauty within a tranquil setting; and the consummate golf experience, The Quarry at La Quinta is perfect on every level.