Palm Desert Resort Country Club beckons locals 'and' snowbirds with player-friendly golf fun
PALM DESERT, Calif. -- In golf, as in life, it's important to know what you are.
At Palm Desert Resort Country Club, there's no identity crisis.
Amid the ample golf bounty of Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley, opportunities abound; however, for myriad visitors, it's the (deservedly) well publicized tracks that enjoy the most "outside" play from vacationers.
Inversely, "inside" play courses (i.e., long-term seasonal rentals or gated snowbird communities) generally host approximately 90 percent of rounds from those who stay within their walls. These "semi-private" tracks are open for public play and often (too often, actually) are overlooked by valley visitors who are generally more geared to test bigger courses (for bigger bounties).
Among those that really shouldn't be overlooked is Palm Desert Resort C.C., where a quality track, a welcoming staff and a fine time can be had for a solid value.
"I think we are what we are: We're a player-friendly golf course for that relatively senior golfer who wants to come down from wherever it is they live and have some fun. It's not going to beat you up," said David Bartholomew, general manager at Palm Desert Resort C.C. "I know that I don't enjoy playing those 7,000-yard golf courses anymore where you need all this distance and carry. People want to have some fun, and I think we offer that. We're an affordable opportunity for the average person who wants to play some golf."
Palm Desert Resort Country Club: Know thyself
No, this early 1980s, residentially lined design isn't going to awe with a wash of distance or a slew of signature tests.
But nor is it intended to.
Rather, the courses pleasantly roll with sizeable, high-quality greens, a host of water hazards (nine all told), ample scoring opportunities, and a curious but ultimately engaging home hole.
"It is pretty wide; you don't have to be overly accurate to enjoy playing golf out here," Bartholomew said. "You don't have to hit it long, and I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I've seen guys play the Blue Tees (6,616 yards)."
Though pedestrian from the outset, Palm Desert Resort C.C. does begin to evidence intrigue starting on the 484-yard, par-5 fifth, which sports water all along the deep right of the fairway before a skinny landing area presents risk-reward for those seeking eagle.
On the par-3 sixth, a quasi-island green sports water guarding the front of the putting surface, coupled with a false front, bunkering along the right side of land and a smaller bunker serving as bailout on the left.
Rounding back to the clubhouse, the 537-yard, par-5 eighth presents a mirrored (albeit longer) challenge to the fifth, with fairway-long and greenside water to the right, putting a governor on the aggressive play. On the short, par-4 ninth, a skinny tee shot asks for prudence before lurking lake water to the left of the green warrants careful club selection.
On the back, Palm Desert Resort's most discussed challenge is found on the 372-yard, par-4 finisher.
"No. 18 probably gets talked about more than any other hole; it's a tough shot," Bartholomew said of a landing area tee challenge preceding a water-guarded approach. "Even standing on the tee it's, 'What do I do?' So if you go ahead and lay-up a little bit, you've got quite a poke on your second shot over the water. Now, if you want to take out a wood, tempt it, go for it. But you better make sure you fade right a little bit and find level ground, because if it kicks left there's the water; and even if it doesn't roll toward the water you've got a 170-yard shot from a downhill lie."
Palm Desert Resort Country Club: The verdict
"A really fun course, and I was impressed with the condition of the greens," said Gary Eden, a local mid-to-high handicapper. "I've played a bunch of these community-type courses out here, and this is one of the better ones for the price and just going to have some laughs with friends."
Perfect for ladies and seniors, Palm Desert Resort C.C. will prove a fine time for the average player looking to find ample scoring chances, combined with a smiling staff and a sound value.
Full practice range, snack shop and lounge are on site.