Out of the Shadows
The debut domestic design from six-time major winner Nick Faldo, Marriott’s Shadow Ridge tees up a scorecard of resort-style, championship golf in Palm Desert. Generous landing areas define fairways, while an onus on approach accuracy proves the key tenet for scoring.
Hot Tip: Keep approach shots in front of the pin.
Look Westin, Young Man
The “Black Knight” has created but one California course, and the
Gary Player Course at Westin Mission Hills Rancho Mirage is a beauty. Water features define much of the routing, while mounded
greenside surrounds make for a focus on strong wedge play. Hot Tip: Low-cut fringes give options for all sorts of chipping; make use of the design element at Westin Mission Hills.
Don’t Hate the Players
Often referred to as “beast” to the “beauty” of its sister Celebrity Course, the Players Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort is aptly named. Tipping at nearly 7,400 yards, the John Fought design is revered for its deep, distinct, and artfully crafted bunkering.
Hot Tip: The opening hole par-5 is a monster; don’t be psyched out by the tough start.
Bring Your Glasses
The manicured, desert-style routing at Firecliff Course at Desert Willow Golf Resort pairs native surrounds with a round of ongoing intimidation. While fairways prove getable for all player levels, the more distance one bites off results in enhanced forced carries from the tee box. Hot Tip: Keeping the focus in-play proves crucial, lest one gets lost in the stimuli of desert-scaping.
The Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course at PGA West annually plays host to the world’s best as one of three courses in rotation on the PGA Tour’s The American Express (formerly the Desert Classic). Famed for its par-3 island green known as “Alcatraz,” the rest of the layout can also jail the lowest of handicaps. Hot Tip: To conquer, players need be ready for succinct ball-striking — both above and beneath one’s spikes. pgawest.com
have a ball
For a proper post-round segue that’s not too far from the green, stop at these hot spots to complete an entire weekend of golf-related fun.
Take in the popular Sunday brunch at Escena Golf Club, sporting stunning mountain views, the valley’s most lauded clubhouse, a unique “Sunday Bloody Sunday” cocktail menu, and the excellent Escena Benedict. escenagolf.com
Following a round at the Eagle Falls Golf Course, stroll over to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio for a full spread of machine and table games, along with the desert’s only off-track betting room for railbirds. fantasyspringsresort.com
Need to be outfitted for play or just want to upgrade your gear? Pete Carlson’s Golf & Tennis in Palm Desert has been a local staple since 1981. Top name brands for gear, apparel, and footwear are all in play.
After taking on one of five public courses at PGA West and La Quinta Resort and Club, assuage the pain of those bogeys with the sports massage at Spa La Quinta. It’s customized to a player’s athletic goals.
Vue Grille & Bar at Indian Wells Golf Resort reopened this fall after a $1 million renovation. The new, rectangular-shaped watering hole now seats inside and out, and boasts fresh specials throughout the week, starting with half-priced wines on Mondays and a daily happy hour. indianwellsgolfresort.com