The island green on the 17th hole of PGA West’s Stadium Course.
PHOTO BY JOHN P. HENEBRY
Every golf venue presents its own set of challenges. With so many options available across Greater Palm Springs, and many of the facilities designed by some of the best golf course architects in the game, it can be difficult to decide where to play. Here, we present six golf experiences to help you find the perfect fit for your interests and playing style.
Classic Club, Palm Desert
As a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, Classic Club provides sustainable habitat for the Coachella Valley’s majestic wildlife, managing resources to ensure all creatures can enjoy the property for years to come. Designed by Arnold Palmer, and originally playing host to the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic (now The American Express), the course occupies the heart of the desert. A tournament-style layout manifests in the number of tee boxes, the cleverly placed water hazards, and the bunkers surrounding the rolling fairways. Classic Club reopens Nov. 11.
Sensei Porcupine Creek, Rancho Mirage
The ultimate golf and wellness retreat, Sensei Porcupine Creek immerses players in a luxury experience with accommodations and amenities that are second to none. You must be an overnight guest to enter the sprawling property. Tee times are not required, and staff are readily available to assist with any need. Looking for a specific brand of golf balls? Craving a platter of bluefin toro sashimi at the 15th tee box? It’s all possible at Sensei. In addition to the golf facilities and instructors, a team of Sensei guides will help fine-tune every aspect of your mental and physical well-being during your stay. The resort is open; the course reopens for season Nov. 17.
Sensei Porcupine Creek.
PHOTO BY TANVEER BADAL, COURTESY SENSEI PORCUPINE CREEK
Escena Golf Club, Palm Springs
Eighteen holes crafted by the Golden Bear himself pair with a vintage Palm Springs aesthetic at Escena, one of the newer courses in the city, opened in 2005. Stretching to almost 7,200 yards, the design incorporates unobstructed sightlines and generous landing areas off the tee — but you’ll still need to take note of the pin placement on the contoured greens to craft the best approach shot. Spectacular views and scenery are not limited to the golf course. The recently refreshed Escena Grill and clubhouse offer modernist style to gaze upon while you enjoy a delicious bite to eat.
A True Test of Skill
PGA West’s Pete Dye Stadium Course, La Quinta
Certain pros have referred to the Stadium Course at PGA West as “diabolical” thanks to its island green. Course designer Pete Dye sums it up best: “Golf isn’t a fair game, so why build a course fair?” Tight, long, and penalizing on the slightest miss of the green, this course will test all of your skills, and then some. For the truly courageous, book a round in January on the Monday that follows The American Express tournament (or after The PGA Tour’s Qualifying School comes to town, which happens every other year) to get a taste of the conditions the professionals experience. The course reopens Nov. 7.
An aerial view of Classic Club.
PHOTO BY CHRIS MILLER, COURTESY CLASSIC CLUB
Practice facilities at The Golf Center at Palm Desert.
COURTESY THE GOLF CENTER AT PALM DESERT
Shots in the Night at Indian Wells Golf Resort, Indian Wells
The fun doesn’t have to end when the sun dips below Mount San Jacinto. Indian Wells Golf Resort lights up its driving range and putting greens Thursday to Saturday evenings for Shots in the Night. On the range, Top Tracer technology invites players to toggle between multiple gaming modes. Nearby, seven putting greens transform with lasers and targets. Live music, drinks, and a food truck fuel the action.
The Golf Center at Palm Desert, Palm Desert
Home to First Tee of the Coachella Valley, a program for local youth, The Golf Center at Palm Desert provides everything the golfing family needs to practice this wonderful game and put that hard work into play on the center’s nine-hole, par-3 course. The practice facility features a driving range with mats and a grass hitting area, chipping and pitching greens, and a large putting green. A welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff make this an approachable destination for families and golfers and of all ages.