Designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Dry (along with Southern California golf legend John Cook), the Mountain View and Firecliff courses at Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert frame one of the top municipal golf facilities in the nation. For what the Mountain View offers in stunning vistas and natural desert routing, the tougher Firecliff counters with astute bunkering and formidable forced carries from the tee.
PHOTOGRAH BY CHRIS MILER/IMAGINEIMAGERY.COM
Meanwhile, SilverRock Resort in La Quinta boasts a 200-acre course tucked into the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains — it’s fit for a king, because The King designed it. Reflective ponds and sweeping native bunkers dot SilverRock’s Arnold Palmer Classic Course and epitomize the scenic lure that Greater Palm Springs has had on Palmer and so many other greats of the game. You’ll find another Arnie design at Classic Club in Palm Desert, known for its wide landing areas, plentiful water features, and bridges. desertwillow.com; silverrock.org; classicclubgolf.com
Feeling a little rough around the edges? A few hours at Two Bunch Palms will smooth things out. Spa treatments tailored to men slough off the grit, untangle the knots, and leave you freshened up for the rest of the day. Try a CBD massage, which begins with a tincture and incorporates a CBD oil and restorative balm, used to relieve soreness and inflammation, or opt for a mud bath (what Two Bunch is known for) to restore the body’s mineral balance with a soak in clay, peat moss, and the natural healing waters of Desert Hot Springs. Fuel up afterward with a brunch of prosciutto Benedict — or hanger steak, because this is, after all, a vacation — at the on-site Essense restaurant. twobunchpalms.com
Feel the Wind
Birthed in a garage in San Pedro, California, the national motorcycle rental company EagleRider has locations in 44 states, including an outpost at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. Rent a Harley, BMW, Triumph, or electric Zero S for a daytrip up the twisty Palms to Pines route (Highway 74) and into the flatlands of Anza. Before the turnoff for Anza (Highway 371), treat your crew to a brunch of buttermilk biscuits or empanadas at The Sugarloaf in Mountain Center. This historic pit stop, built in 1929, sat abandoned for years, but in January, new owners swung open the doors. The chef? He’s a Harley fan. eaglerider.com; thesugarloafcafe.com
Did you know?
The opening sequence of the 1963 hit It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, where Jimmy Durante’s car crashes on the side of a mountain, was filmed off Highway 74 near Palm Desert. For almost 60 years, film buffs have been hiking to the spot in search of car parts.
Three award-winning breweries in Greater Palm Springs craft suds that highlight indigenous ingredients like dates, citrus, and sage. Sample a flight — or a few pints — and check out the massive brewing systems. Coachella Valley Brewing Co. in Thousand Palms
puts out seasonal concoctions like the Ludicrous Speed Lager (a German black lager made with beans from Joshua Tree Coffee Company). Their 17 Barrel Brewhouse high-efficiency system is one of only 15 in operation on the planet.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY BABE’S BAR-B-QUE & BREWERY
Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewery
Meanwhile, La Quinta Brewing Co. serves up rotating menus at taprooms in La Quinta, Palm Springs, and Palm Desert, where the brewing facility is. In Rancho Mirage, Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewery houses a half-million-dollar system with four fermenters, five serving tanks, and a monstrous functioning malt silo at the entrance of the restaurant. cvbco.com; laquintabrewing.com; babesbbqbrewery.com
Test your mettle behind the wheel of an M Series at BMW Performance Center in Thermal. Hourlong track drives in one of the luxury manufacturer’s most powerful rides include six laps. You’ll follow the instructor for a warmup run to study the line, then have the chance to race the clock and push the car to its limits. (Or will you reach yours first?) For those seeking a lesson in performance, track training sessions and customized group events can propel your pack to the next level. Think the M is mightiest of all? The Mini marque bears muscle, too. Three-and-a-half-hour Mini experiences hurl drivers through track exercises in handling, braking, and autocross stunts. bmwperformancecenter.com
The Palm Springs Modernism Tour app, available on Apple and Android for less than $5, features guided tours of more than 80 midcentury modern landmarks. Select a suggested driving route by location or architect — or craft a custom tour with a few clicks. Properties pop up on an in-app map, and listings include detailed histories written by top architectural historians, expert-narrated videos of estate interiors, and new and vintage photographs (including shots by the late, great Julius Shulman). The app also features in-depth profiles on the area’s most iconic architects — explore these narratives before you round up the fellows to wow them with your savoir faire. psmodcom.org/mid-century-modern-tour-app
Winston Churchill once said his life mantra prescribed smoking cigars as an “absolutely sacred rite.” Named after the Cahuilla word for “smoking tobacco,” the new Pívat Cigar Lounge at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage purveys a selection of premium hand-rolled stogies in addition to a signature-cocktail and small-bites menu from the resort’s award-winning restaurant The Steakhouse. Browse the spacious walk-in humidor, get a recommendation from the cigar server (they’re trained to help you pick the right smoke), and sink into the large leather club chairs to partake in life’s sacred rite with friends. Padrón 1926 80th Anniversary Maduro, anyone? hotwatercasino.com
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY AGUA CALIENTE RESORT CASINO SPA RANCHO MIRAGE
Pívat Cigar Lounge
The 36-hole Indian Wells Golf Resort tests linksmen on two courses, the Celebrity and the Players (aptly dubbed “Beauty and the Beast”). Clive Clark’s Celebrity Course stretches across an undulating landscape with streams and waterfall features, while the John Fought–designed Players Course dares with sculpted bunkers and thickets of trees. At dusk, the resort’s Shots in the Night Glow Golf experience features play for all skill levels using huge inflatable targets and blacklight balls. Plus, there’s a laser show, resident DJ, and food truck manned by Vue Grille & Bar. Farther east, The Lights at Indio Golf Course serves up one of the longest par-3 scorecards in the county and is the only course that remains lit after sundown for evening play. The facility is also accredited for footgolf, a game in which players kick a ball toward 21-inch-diameter holes and use a golf-style scorecard to par. indianwellsgolfresort.com; indiogolf.com
Get an up-close look at some of the most breathtaking and peculiar natural wonders in the desert, from the San Andreas Fault and Joshua Tree National Park to Painted Canyon. Sign up for a tour with local companies Desert Adventures or Adventure Hummer Tours to learn about the area’s flora, fauna, and geology. Desert Adventures provides sunset excursions that wind through the labyrinth canyons of the fault zone along with stargazing journeys across the group’s own private nature preserve. In addition to local rides, Adventure Hummer Tours will even escort you to nearby Temecula for wine tasting. red-jeep.com; adventurehummer.com
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY BARBERSTOCK / GREATER PALM SPRINGS CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
5 Things | Cocktail Hour
Made with Laphroaig single-malt whisky, blended scotch, blueberry, ginger syrup, and lemon, this libation is available at the dimly lit Del Rey bar at the Villa Royale hotel in Palm Springs. delreypalmsprings.com
Pívat Old Fashioned
Agua Caliente Casino’s cigar lounge infuses the classic cocktail with applewood smoke. When servers present the drink, they remove a cloche to release the cloud right before you take a sip. hotwatercasino.com
House-Mixed Tonic & Gin
At Morgan’s in the desert, the historic restaurant at La Quinta Resort & Club, Hendrick’s gin gets stirred with Wilks & Wilson tonic elixir and San Pellegrino in lieu of the cheap, fizzy stuff from a soda gun. morgansinthedesert.com
Rittenhouse Rye, Charbay Walnut Liqueur, IPA syrup, and a dash of Amaro di Angostura bitters will quench your thirst at Seymour’s, the speakeasy-style backroom bar at Mr. Lyons in Palm Springs. seymoursps.com
Armando’s Dakota Bar & Grill in Palm Desert is famous for its stiff drinks, and its classic, fresh-squeezed margarita comes with a disclaimer and a drink limit. They’re so strong, you can only order two. 760-346-0744