Among the beauties and diversities of golf is that the game means different things for different people. For most low handicappers, golf is about competitive drive and personal betterment. For juniors, elders, beginners and sight-seers — the game is about having fun. If you fall into the latter category, here are five very playable courses in the Coachella Valley that are designed to tee up a fine time for players of every skill level.
Cimarron Golf Resort
In Cathedral City, the San Jacinto Mountains overlook the John Fought-designed, dual course facility at Cimarron Golf Resort, where the unique spread presents an immediate visual contrast to most courses in the desert. Open, native and sprawling, the championship Boulder Course is a great test for the refined player. Those seeking a more benign round will be well-served by Cimarron's Pebble Course, a fast and fun, par-55 executive layout that plays under 2,900 yards from the middle tees.
Shadow Mountain Resort & Club
Shadow Mountain Resort & Club holds the title as Palm Desert's first golf course. Complementing that rarified history, it’s one of just a handful of tracks designed by the legendary Gene Sarazen. Mature palms route the classic Southern California milieu and the 5,400-yard, par-70 layout ensures that players lacking length won't be punished (its par 4s average 327 yards). Those looking to hone their wedge play will readily enjoy this fine test of short game, where notable green undulations keep even stellar putters honest.
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage matches prime, mid-Valley location with 27-holes of Ted Robinson-designed golf. The North-South Courses prove a wise start for players needing a warm-up, while the West Course (with a formidable three-hole start) serves as the goal for those aiming toward a more stringent test. This late '70s design swaps distance for taut iron play and the congenial grounds also make this an ideal stop to get in a leisurely nine.
Sun City Palm Desert
In Palm Desert, the Mountain Vista Golf Club at Sun City Palm Desert calmly weaves two Billy Casper courses through the Del Webb community with gentle ease. Both the San Gorgonio and Santa Rosa tracks present occasional teeth on and around the greens, but the oft-bowled, massive fairway landing areas provide opportunity for all from the tees.
Indian Springs Golf Club
Even those embattled by a tough stretch of opening holes at Indian Springs Golf Club in Indio are still entitled to the course's free lunch with green fee. Water is prevalent here (found on 11 of 18 holes), but the course is structured with merciful space to allow the high-handicapper ample bail-outs to avoid trouble. Players of all levels will find the premier putting surfaces matched in nicety by the always-welcoming staff.
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