Everyone knows that the Coachella Valley boasts scores of public and private country club golf courses. But less well known are the “semi-private” tracks, which are also open to the public.
Semi-private courses make tee times available to the public outside of preferred time-blocks reserved for club members and homeowners. One example is the Oasis Country Club in Palm Desert. An 18-hole executive track, it consists of six par-4s and 12 par-3s, totaling 3,475 yards from the tips and 3,014 from the up tees. Befitting an oasis, the layout’s 22 lakes offer refreshing picturesque diversion and come into play hole after hole. As a result, while the shots are fewer and shorter, several are solidly challenging.
Rick Downes, the PGA assistant professional at Oasis, offers at least two factors reasons semi-privacy works well for the club. “For one thing, it’s nice to see new faces on a regular basis,” Downes says. “Even our members like to see others enjoying the place and raving about what we offer. Second, it’s a great way to showcase our houses to potential buyers.”
The proximity of those houses to the fairways and greens is a feature that distinguishes semi-private from public courses in the valley. Visiting golfers enjoy a surprising feeling of belonging. Plus, if you don’t actually live on a golf course, it’s easy to imagine doing so during a round here.
At the same time, the homes stretching side-by-side the length of each hole can often define an especially narrow route from tee to green. Accuracy, in other words, is at a premium.
Staying on target is important at Indian Palms Country Club & Resort, a semi-private track in Indio where two of its three nine-hole courses, the Indian and the Royal, test golfers’ control. The Royal is the shorter half-track of the two, at 3,138 yards from the back tees compared to 3,400 yards. By comparison, the 3,292-yard Mountain nine at Indian Palms feels roomy where you can grip-it-and-rip-it.
• See related story: 5 Courses to Tune-up Your Golf Season
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OASIS COUNTRY CLUB
A rainbow marks the first tee at Oasis Country Club.
The Oasis Country Club
42330 Casbah Way, Palm Desert
Indian Palms Country Club
48630 Monroe St., Indio
Cathedral Canyon Golf Club
68311 Paseo Real, Cathedral City
Mission Lakes Country Club
8484 Clubhouse Boulevard, Desert Hot Springs
The Golf Club at La Quinta
60151 Trilogy Parkway, La Quinta
Woodhaven Country Club
41555 Woodhaven Drive East
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY WOODHAVEN COUNTRY CLUB
Woodhaven Country Club allows you to employ a host of different clubs in the bag.