Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort: A Star Among Desert Courses

By Georg von Suder, Contributor

Designated by Golf Digest as one of its "places to play in 2000 -2001," the Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort is located in the shadow of the spiraling San Jacinto Mountains. The three-year-old Ted Robinson Resort Course and the popular Billy Bell Legend Course take full advantage of the dramatic views for which desert golf is famous, and attract golfers worldwide.

Under the management of Arnold Palmer Golf, it's immediately clear why the Four-Star Resort Course Award winner is a star among desert courses.

Bell originally designed the Legend Course in the 1950's. In 1996, the Arnold Palmer Design Company redesigned several holes and placed 41 new sand bunkers on the course thereby increasing play difficulty significantly. It is a 6,775-yard, par 71 traditional country club layout with narrow, tree-lined fairways and fast, sloping greens. The course, minutes from the Palm Springs International Airport, meanders through desert homes and resort condominiums.

The new Resort Course, opened in 1995 and is one of Robinson's masterpieces, features shimmering waterscapes, waterfalls, lakes, fountains, and a landscape duplicating the beauty of the nearby Indian Canyons. This 6,705 yard, par 72, desert, links-style layout will test all of your golf skills.

The Practice Center offers one of the most comprehensive facilities in the country with two putting greens, a chipping green, multiple bunkers, and a well-defined fairway cut into the practice range. Featuring "Top 100 Teacher" John Geertsen (instructor to Johnny Miller, Tony Lema, and Mike Reed), the instructional program is second to none.

The 73.2 rated Resort Course with a 128 slope begins with an easy starting 349 yard, par 4 hole named "Outta the Gate." Keep your tee shot short and left where you have plenty of room. A small green requires careful club selection to carry the front left pot bunker and stay on the green.

The 371 yard, par 4 second requires a tee shot to the left of the right-side fairway bunker. Club selection is at a premium on the second shot as the double-tier green finds most balls drifting into the front left quarter of the green. Number three is a tough 175 yard par 3, which shares a double green with hole #16. Use enough club to carry the pot bunker at the front left quarter of the green.

Four is a great double-dogleg par 5 that plays to 551 yards. Pick a palm tree in the background as your target off the tee. It takes three except for Tiger to get there, so consider laying up short of the fairway bunker on your second shot. Look for the knoll short and to the left of the green.

Five is a "golfer's" hole. At 390 yards, this par 4 requires you to stay left and play into a wind that sends many good shots into the lake on the right. Aim left on the second shot to stay away from the front right bunker on your approach since the ball will be below your feet.

Number six is another interesting par 5 at 531 yards. Favor the left side of the fairway off of the tee for a better view on your next shot. Avoid the lake on the left side on your second and third. You are now in position to score.

The par 4, 384 yard 7th is the number one handicap hole on the course. This hole has water left, tight, short, and long on this intimidating island fairway. Once safely positioned, you still have a difficult second shot. The wind is usually following, so it's easy to fly the green.

However, if you come up short, the ball will roll back to the bottom of the hill fronting the green. Hole number eight is the course's signature hole. This beautiful 196 yard, par 3 is all carry. Trouble looms left, right, and front where a waterfall and lake awaits an errant shot. A wind in the face makes this a very difficult par.

Closing out the front side is a formidable hard dogleg left par 4 of 416 yards. Plenty of room right, but avoid the deep bunkers left, which leave a blind and sandy second shot. Use an extra club or two to this uphill green that usually plays against the wind. Beware of the two greenside bunkers on the left.

The back nine begins with "No Turnin' Back," the par 4, number two-handicap hole, which stretches 404 yards. A good drive down the left side sets up for the best approach. Choose your club carefully if the wind is assisting. Looks simple, however, good scores are few and far between.

Numbers 11, 12, and 13 are among the easier holes on the Resort course, but the par 5, 562-yard number 14 brings one back to reality. This long hole features a fairway that slopes right to left.

Place the tee shot down the right side away from the hazards on the left. The ball is usually below your feet on the next shot causing you to aim left for a birdie possibility.

Fifteen keeps the pace going with a 400-yard, par 4. Unless you can drive 290 and straight, you may want to hit a three wood here to the 150 marker, which will leave you short of the bunker and narrow neck of the fairway. The 411 yard, par 4 16th ups the ante.

The difficult dogleg requires a tee shot favoring the left side, which will kick the ball right into the center of the fairway avoiding the right side traps. The green is a generous double green connecting to number 13.

The par-3 17th is only a 130 yard pitching wedge, but demanding and memorable. The small double tiered green is well protected by a lake and bunkers. A left to right wind can send shots short into the beautiful lake. Aim for the center of the green.

Closing out with number 18, the par 5, "Last Chance," is a real test at 577 yards. Bunkers line both sides of the undulating fairway. Carry the face of the green or your ball will not hold. A tough putt waits on the left-to-right sloping green.

The Legend, with its 71.0 rating, can be just as formidable as the Resort course. The two courses combine for a great weekend challenge.

Beginning in 1997, Palmer Management completely redesigned the restaurant and golf shop. Sporting a new look and ambiance, the golf shop offers top-of-the-line products with value pricing meant to be competitive with off-course shops.

The Palmer system's new approach to instruction will surprise you. Their innovative programs will definitely assist you in improving your game.

Traditions Café is a golfer's eatery displaying memorabilia from "The King" Arnold Palmer and great moments from events such as the Masters.

Palm Springs offers some of the best atmospheric conditions in the world with an annual rainfall of only 4 to 12 inches allowing for daily play. Only ten minutes away from downtown Palm Springs, Tahquitz Creek , as a unique combination of the old and new has created one of the best golfing destinations in southern California - a "must-play" destination.

Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort
1885 Golf Club Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92264
Phone: 800-743-2211 or (760) 328-1005

Georg von Suder, Contributor

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment