Explore Palm Springs: Bob Hope Desert Classic

The legend steps in to create the desert's biggest golf attraction

Renee Brown History 0 Comments


Each January, professional golfers from all over the world come to the Coachella Valley to play in one of the most celebrated golf tournaments on the PGA Tour.

Palm Springs pioneer Milt Hicks founded the Thunderbird Invitational Pro-Am, making its first start which in 1952. The name of the tournament was changed to the Palm Springs Desert Golf Classic in 1959, and additional courses were added: Thunderbird, Tamarisk, Indian Wells and Bermuda Dunes Country Clubs.

Some members of the tournament board were convinced that to make the tournament more of a financial success was to ask local resident and avid desert golfer, Bob Hope, to lend his name and support.


Bob Hope, Barbara Eden and Arnold Palmer stand by the gold cart at the Bob Hope Desert Classic on Jan. 4, 1970.


Beginning in 1965, the tournament was renamed the Bob Hope Desert Classic and it began attracting more celebrities and more sponsors.

Starting in 2012, the tournament was narrowed to a four-round event and the name was changed to the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, hosted by PGA West in La Quinta. The PGA Tour announced that 2015 will mark Humana’s final year as title sponsor of the Humana Challenge.

Desert Classic Charities and the Clinton Foundation are currently in discussions with a number of prospective sponsors.

There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013.

One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org for more information.


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