You’re only visiting Greater Palm Springs for a short time, so where should you golf?
We’ve picked out some of the most beautiful and challenging signature golf holes for you. It’s your own ‘must play’ list for your stay in the area.
These picturesque holes are selected from courses across the valley, so no matter where you’re staying, there’s a great round of golf near you.
Escena Golf Club, Palm Springs
The towering San Jacinto Mountains and blue desert skies frame the flight of your opening tee shot on this Nicklaus Design golf course. Palm trees, native desert landscaping, and dramatic waterscapes surround the outstanding layout of the #6 ranked public golf course in California, according to PGATOUR.com.
Hole #1 is a stunning example of what this course has to offer. Stretching to a demanding 611 yards from the tips and easing up to a casual player-friendly 483 yards from the forward tees, this opening par 5 has enough challenge and beauty for any golfer.
Desert Willow Golf Club, Palm Desert
The Firecliff course is one of two “must-play” destinations at Palm Desert's Desert Willow Golf Resort. At 7,056 yards, and lined with extensive natural areas, numerous water features, and more than 100 bunkers/waste areas, this course is a work of art—and hole #17 is its masterpiece.
Before teeing up for this 204-yard par 3, take a moment to soak up the view. You are surrounded by a rich palm oasis. In the distance are the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains. And all along the right side of this hole is a bunker that looks like a most inviting beach. Even so, you don’t want to be there.
No trip to the desert is complete without a round at Desert Willow. Actually, make it two.
PGA West, La Quinta
The 17th tee at The Stadium Course invites you to recreate history. The legendary Pete Dye design at PGA West was the site of the 1987 Skins game—the “made-for-TV” event that saw Lee Trevino’s unforgettable hole-in-one with $175,000 in skins. A bronze plaque marks this historic event as you tee it up on the hole called “Alcatraz.”
The Stadium is a formidable test of golf. Its difficulty is matched by its beautiful surroundings. Don’t kick yourself if Pete Dye’s diabolical design has your score a little higher than you’d like. When you get to the tee on #17, take a deep breath. Enjoy the moment. Then hit a smooth 165-yard shot to the middle of the green. Roll in your birdie putt—or sneak out with a par—and look back over your shoulder as you head to #18.
You can’t golf in La Quinta without a story of how you escaped Alcatraz.
Indian Wells Golf Resort, Indian Wells
The Players Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort is a classic American design. You’ll contend with lots of big, sculpted bunkers like the ones at Riviera or Winged Foot. Throughout the course, you’ll notice the trees from the original landscape incorporated into the designs to impart the feel of one of the deserts classic golf clubs while still delivering the challenge of a modern course. It’s a little bit Arnold Palmer and little bit Dustin Johnson.
#5 on the Players Course is a long, challenging 469-yard par 4. Water and a well-placed bunker guard the left side of this hole while a long natural desert area on the right side spell deep trouble for errant shots. A good drive and a good long-iron into an elevated green will be needed to make par.
Enjoy this gem of a golf course while you take in the jaw-dropping views of the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa and San Bernardino mountain ranges.
By this point in the round, you’ve marveled aloud at the beauty of this course about 4 dozen times and taken twice as many selfies with the rest of your foursome. Then you get to hole #17.
The cascading waters, the rocky outcroppings, the stonewall in front of this spectacular island green. Take a picture. Then take a moment. Then take a swing.
From the back tees, you’ve got 160 yards to a treacherous green that plays slightly downhill. The front of the green slopes from back to front making any front pin placement a sucker’s errand. Club selection is key and a solid shot to the center of this green will feel like an accomplishment.
Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa, Gary Player Course, Rancho Mirage
Lakes and waterfalls are hallmarks of Gary Player’s first course in Greater Palm Springs. The Gary Player course at Mission Hills is a destination course for many golfers and its greatest challenge is the 558-yard par 5 11th hole.
Water along the right side gives golfers the opportunity to measure the risk-reward of this hole for themselves. Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew!
The greens on the player course have plenty of undulation and challenge themselves. A more conservative tee shot followed by two well-measured irons is the surest route to par—or birdie. But who could resist bombing one over all that water!
There you have it. Six destination golf holes on stellar courses that range from Palm Springs to La Quinta. Keep in mind, you’re in a place with literally hundreds of spectacular golf holes and nothing should stop you from discovering your own favorite.
Where ever you play golf, enjoy your round and enjoy the view.