Like clockwork: I'll receive a host of calls and e-mails from friends and readers at the outset of November with the mirrored query, "Judd, I'm headed to the desert. Where should I play?"
At this stage, I basically copy/paste a reply containing descriptions of a half-dozen choice publics, informing visitors what locals already know: "Be sure to go here, here, here, and do not miss Desert Willow."
Laudatory? Sure. But Desert Willow is worthy of the praise.
With deft, desert routing and consistently-impeccable manicuring from tee-to-green, layout and course conditions on both Desert Willow tracks have a way of appeasing in presentation alone (which is to say that, for rusty snowbirds, scoring may become an afterthought).
Last week I was out at the Firecliff Course for the first time in a spell, and the round instantly rekindled my fondness for the grounds. Readers should note that while the more benign (but equally satisfying) Mountain View Course goes to overseed from Nov. 10 to Dec. 25, a day at the more demanding Firecliff should still be on the tee sheet for all levels of players.
I count the Firecliff among the most astute tests in the area (public or private) with better than 100 bunkers and waste areas, a host of water features and tipping-out at 7,056 yards.
photo by chris miller with imagine imagery
The No. 17 hole has water and waste bunkering all along the right side.
The par-3 No. 17 is an excellent coalescence of everything the Firecliff throws at you. Playing at 204-yards from the back tees, the hole presents water and waste bunkering all along the right side, coupled with a mean, horseshoe bunker to the left of the green. It's the kind of well-placed challenge at the close of the round that can break a clean scorecard or prove pivotal in your group's game of choice.
Courtesy of Desert willow golf resort
"Music and Dining Under the Stars" starts Nov. 13 and runs through early spring.
I recommend taking in a "Music and Dining Under the Stars" evening at Desert Willow's Lakeview Terrace this season. Based on the continued popularity of the event, Desert Willow is expanding the "Music and Dining" schedule for the season. Combining a buffet dinner with entertainment that plays from jazz to blues to classic rock, the fare, show and setting is on par with the golf.
The first event takes place Nov. 13 and, starting Jan. 22, will now run on an ongoing Thursday night slate throughout the high-season.
"You really can't beat it," says Bruce Nation, director of sales & marketing at Desert Willow. "Sitting outside, right after sunset with the fire going, the greens are lit on both sides and sometimes we'll bring in tiki torches just to give it a little more atmosphere. The bar is open outside and we've got a selection of wines as well, so it gives everybody a nice opportunity to see the facility at night."
Desert Willow Golf Resort, 38-0995 Desert Willow Drive, Palm Desert, 760-346-0015, www.desertwillow.com
Judd Spicer is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America. Have a golf tip or golf story idea to share? E-mail Judd: email@example.com
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See Judd's previous posts under Life on the Links.