As an avid golfer, I have composed this list based on a few basic factors that matter to me:
- Golf Course Layout
- Consistency of golf course conditions(mostly the greens, nothing better than perfect greens in the desert
1. PGA West Stadium - What's better than going on a golf trip and getting humiliated. The Stadium Course is still the toughest test of golf in the area by far! You will be hitting long irons(or drivers!!) on all par 3's-except for number 17, Alcatraz, which is just surrounded by water! Great test of golf and worth the money(peak season rates are $230+)
2. The Celebrity Course at Indian Wells - You tee it up and Indian Wells and you have no idea you are in a desert climate. The course is as green as can be, always in great shape and who wouldn't want to play the course that used to host the LG Skins game for the likes of Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples, and many more.
3. La Quinta Mountain Course - This Pete Dye gem is absolutely amazing. Don't be surprised if you see some Bighorn sheep scaling the rocks around you. Each hole has its own identity, a fair, yet challenging course that will keep you on your game or in the rocks if you don't pay attention. My favorite hole is the risk reward par 5 15th, where if you choose to go for it in two, beware of the rocks on the right.
4. Firecliff course at Desert Willow - The service at Desert Willow is awesome and the golf courses live up to the hype. The Firecliff Course, which is my favorite is a course that demands accuracy on your approach shots due to quite a bit of undulation on the greens along with great lag putting-which I could use a bit of help with right now:(. When you go to Desert Willow, be sure to eat lunch there, food is great and service is amazing.
5. Terra Lago North Course - Still love this course even though it has changed ownership and management companies a few times over the last 10 years. If you like a some elevation changes and some wildlife, you will not be disappointed with Terra Lago. It used to be the site of the old skins game where Tiger, Nicklaus, Palmer, and many others use to compete. It doesn't get as much attention now, but still a course worth seeing. Also, rates at Terra Lago tend to not empty the wallet.
6. The Classic Club - Formerly a host of the Bob Hope Golf Tournament(now Humana Challenge), The Classic Club has one of the best course layouts of any course in the area. It is the kind of course where if you are hitting it well, it will seem very playable and if you are not, you will end up shooting a very high score. You may even encounter a little breeze while you are there as the course sits North of Highway 10. Don't let that scare you though, it is still well worth it.
7. PGA West Nicklaus/Norman - I really wanted to separate these into two different rankings, but they are so close I have them together. Both courses are great, anyone who has played all the courses at PGA West knows that each course is like your options for Ice Cream, some days you go Vanilla, others you may go with Rocky Road! I like the Nicklaus because there are a few really good risk reward holes like the par 5 15th hole, which has always had my number! The Norman Course is great and has quite a few water holes, like the par 3 13th, which is a long par three and probably my favorite on the course.
8. Escena Golf Club - Not only is Escena a great golf course, it also sits in the perfect location for a day of arrival or day of departure round of golf, only 10 minutes from the Palm Springs International airport. Escena has wide fairways and is very friendly off the tee. The greens are almost always in great condition, but what makes this place is amazing are the views of the mountains nearby.
9. Westin Mission Hills Gary Player Course - The Gary Player Course surroundings have changed over the years, going from a course that basically just in the open desert to a course surrounded by homes and condos. That being said, the course has not lost its beauty as Gary Player did an awesome job combining a course that offers an array of long par 4's that are extremely challenging as well as some short holes that offer you a chance to score.
10. Marriott Desert Springs Palms Course - There are two courses at the Marriott and you really can't go wrong with either. The Palms Course has lush fairly forgiving fairways and lots of water holes. It is a great resort experience you will not soon forget.
Well, there is my top ten, all this talking about golf, and I am still here!! Off to the course! If you are planning on coming to Palm Springs, you can't go wrong with any of these courses.
Feel free to call me so I can set up your next trip to Palm Springs.
Scott Curry 888-985-9170 or email me at email@example.com