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The Best Golf Courses in Palm Springs

Jennifer Kupcho’s win at the Chevron Championship secured her a maiden Major victory and was her first win on the LPGA Tour. The tournament played out at the spectacular Mission Hills Country Club in Palm Springs (USA) which in turn inspired us to share more Californian desert golf course gems with our readers. 

Did you know that Palm Springs has approx. 100 renowned golf courses and more than 300 days of sunshine each year? Yep, the greater Palm Springs region sure has earned its reputation as a top destination for golf. Designs by legendary architects like Arnold Palmer, Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman are a major draw, as are the gorgeous mountain backdrops against lushly manicured courses. Plus, the PGA and LPGA Tours stop in this golf oasis for annual tournaments.

Indian Wells Golf Resort

Throughout the Players Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort, you will 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, most of the holes are oriented to take full advantage of jaw-dropping views of the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa and San Bernardino mountain ranges and majestic Eisenhower Mountain stands sentinel to the south.

Escena Golf Club

 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 Resort

 No trip to the desert is complete without a round at Desert Willow. 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.

PGA West, La Quinta

Tucked into the majestic mountains, this golf mecca boasts nine iconic courses, each offering a unique desert golf experience. Every course features multiple tee boxes for varying skill levels and spacious practice facilities. The pros have played these fabled links for over 35 years. Now it's your turn.

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. You can’t golf in La Quinta without a story of how you escaped Alcatraz.

Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa

Lakes and waterfalls are hallmarks of Gary Player’s first course in Greater Palm Springs. The Gary Player courseat Mission Hills is a destination course for many golfers and its greatest challenge is the 558-yard par 5 11th hole.

Mission Hills North, Gary Player Signature Course has proved to be a popular one with both public and resort golfers. It is used as an alternative to the Pete Dye Course and is generally easier for the average golfer to play.

Player’s design makes extensive use of water, with lakes coming into play on 10 holes. Gary Player fit his signature course into the natural surroundings, taking advantage of the California desert. When possible he worked the greens and tees into land that was already there. The fairways are wide. Blind shots and doglegs are virtually non-existent. 

Indian Canyons Golf Resort

In Palm Springs, the Indian Canyons Golf Resort presents the classic stylings of the North Course coupled with the remodelled routing of the South Course, which enjoyed a redesign from Casey O'Callaghan and LPGA Hall of Famer Amy Alcott in 2004.

The South is among the desert's most player-friendly layouts (and aptly-recognized as one of the country's top courses for women). Matched with a wealth of engaging (and short) par 4s are the views of the surrounding San Jacinto Mountain, a pleasing paucity of homes and better than 800 palms, revered by the native Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

Once a private club named Canyon Country Club, this 36-hole facility was a favourite haunt of Hollywood celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Jackie Gleason.

Image credits: visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

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