Landmark Golf Club: Combining Tradition and the Elements

By Georg von Suder, Contributor

Landmark Golf Club, located in Indio, Calif., at the foothills of the Indio Hills, features two desert oasis championship golf courses set amid hundreds of acres of natural terrain that are as challenging and picturesque as any in the Coachella Valley.

Created for professional golf events by the Landmark Golf Company and Schmidt-Curley Design to promote the spirit and competition of the game of golf, Landmark plays host to The Skins Game through 2003.

The design of the courses melds the traditions of golf with the power of the elements, land topography, rolling sand dunes, and natural desert vegetation.

In keeping with the expansive desert theme of the courses, hearty grasses and emerald green fairways wind through colorful native vegetation, offset by Landmark's signature bridges crafted from vintage railroad cars.

Challenging holes zigzag along and across the banks of Southern California's innovative All-American Canal for over a mile, and climb to the heights of earthen berm dikes at the northern boundary.

From dramatic elevated tees that provide 360-degree views of the entire valley and undulating greens, there are breathtaking panoramic views with incredible topography changes that span from San Gorgonio Mountain to the Chocolate Mountains. With the entire Coachella Valley as a backdrop and magnificent sunrises and sunsets shining through orange and purple hues, the alluring magic of golf rises from the whispering hills of Landmark.

From the Tournament tees, Skins North stretches to 7,123 yards, and sports a 74.3 course rating with a 135 slope. The women's tees play to a 5,856-yard distance with a 75.0 Rating and a 134 slope. The Skins South course is a lengthy challenge of 7,229 yards with a 75.1 rating and a 136 slope. The women's tract is 5,905 yards with a 75.5 rating and 135 slope.

From the tournament tees, Skins South is the toughest course in the desert. There are 146 bunkers on the 36 holes, and 30 acres of waste bunkers. However, with 210 acres of fairways, the courses are fair, demanding, enjoyable, and memorable.

The Skins South crusade begins with an uphill 382-yard, par 4. The long ball is always king at Landmark. But, this hole is an easy starter as long as you hit the fairway. Number 2 "Box Car" starts the fun with its 412-yard, par-4 challenge. A long drive past the left-side fairway bunkers leaves a six or seven iron to the green which lies on the edge of the All-American Canal. Hole Three is the first of relatively easy par 5's. The hole is 540 yards. A 280-yard drive will leave you with a possible eagle if you can circumvent the center-fairway bunkers that prevent a roll-up.

Four is a tough par 3 of 201 yards. The 360-degree view from the tee makes it enjoyable even if the challenge of a difficult long iron shot takes its toll. The 471-yard, par-4, 5th hole "Panorama" requires a tee shot to the left over the waste bunker for a clear second to the green. The view of the valley is spectacular.

Number six is a staggering 231-yard, par 3. Your tee shot crosses the canal to a tight, slick green. If you reach, a tough putt is in store. Next is the 459-yard, par-4, 7th hole. An elevated tee allows for additional distance. The second shot is made difficult due to a long, narrow green. Pin placements can be very deceiving and require target precision.

The 8th is a forgiving 556-yard par 5, which leads to the number-1-handicap, par-4, 9th named "The Sluice." This bear of a hole is 453 yards of serious golf. The canal runs the entire left side and behind the green. A well-placed second is a requirement to avoid the protecting sand bunkers.

Making the turn, we find the 405-yard, par-4 10th. This is a tough hole to start the backside. The hole is a horseshoe surrounding a lake. The tee shot must be placed near the left side by the lake for a shorter shot into the green, which borders the lake, a real challenge of strategic golf. Hole 11 is the number 2-handicap hole, a par 4 stretching to 483 yards. Named "Brutal," and it is. You'd better have the "big stick" in gear or there is no chance for a par. Birdies are few and far between.

At 192 yards, number 12 is another tough par 3. Bunkers surround, and it is usually a shot into the wind. Bring your rifle! The 13th hole is the easiest on the course. Fourteen is another of those monster par 3's. It plays 249 yards uphill. Playing into the teeth of the wind, it takes a driver to get there.

Hole number 16 is only a 389-yard par 4, but a small undulating green makes for a difficult par. Seventeen is the easiest par 3 on the course at 148 yards, but a very shallow green calls for an accurate tee shot. A very long putt could be in order. Closing out the 18 is "Entrapment." It is well named as this 507-yard, par 5 lures the golfer into a second-shot attempt to the green. This can be disaster as the green is totally bunkered in deep sand bunkers. It takes a perfect second shot to reach the green.

Landmark will bring you back for more, as these eighteens are great golf courses. You only need to choose the right set of tees to make this club one of your most enjoyable golfing experiences.

There is a complete practice facility that covers 10 acres, a wonderful pro shop, good bar, delicious food, and an amiable pro and staff. Landmark has all of the right ingredients to become a favorite golf destination of players from throughout the nation.

Landmark Golf Club
"Home of the Skins Game"
84-000 Landmark Parkway
Indio, CA 92203
Phone: (760)775-2000

Georg von Suder, Contributor

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