The Top 5 Public Golf Courses in the Greater Palm Springs Region

The Perfect Golf Vacation
The Top 5 Public Golf Courses in the Greater Palm Springs Region
By Tony Schieffer, PGA

Have you been waiting for the perfect golf vacation your entire life? Let’s say you have five days to play, money is no object, and you want to experience the best public courses in the Greater Palm Springs area.  From November through March daytime temperatures here average in the mid to upper 70’s, making fall and winter the best time to plan your trip. The Coachella Valley is blessed with one of the most temperate climates in the world; it’s truly a golfer’s paradise.


Over 30 golf destinations in the valley are open to the public, and many of these golf clubs have multiple courses available.  With so many options, the toughest decision for your golf vacation will be where to play.  While many of these resorts and public facilities have great amenities and off-course activities, our focus will be on the golf courses themselves.

The following five “must play” public golf courses in the Coachella Valley are premium choices for your once in a lifetime golf vacation. The finest course conditions, best playability, and unique course designs are all featured at these facilities. Add to these qualities a wonderful ambiance, plus stunningly beautiful surroundings and the result is a first rate golf experience.

Five days can go by quickly. To have the perfect golf vacation, use this guide in deciding your course itinerary.

Anchors Away

Photo credit Getty Images.

Photo credit Getty Images.

So the USGA has decided to ban the anchor stroke. The new rule, 14-1b will be enacted January 1, 2016. Long putters will still be legal, but the stroke, whereby you anchor the butt of the club to your body will be against the rules. Players have been using this stroke for arguably over 40 years in different amateur and professional tournaments around the world. Many new players in the game today have grown up using this stroke. Tours throughout the world have major tournament champions that have won using the anchor stroke.

“We strongly believe that this rule is for the betterment of the game,” USGA President Glen Nager said. “Rule 14-1b protects one of the important challenges in the game — the free swing of the entire club.”

The announcement followed six months of contentious debate, and it might not be over.

The next step is for the PGA Tour to follow the new rule or decide to establish its own condition of competition that would allow players to anchor the long putters. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in February the USGA and R&A would be “making a mistake” to adopt the rule, though he also has stressed the importance of golf playing under one set of rules.

“I think it’s really important that the PGA Tour — and all the professional tours — continue to follow one set of rules,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said. “We have gotten very positive feedback from the tours around the world saying that they like one set of rules, they like the R&A and USGA governing those. So if there was some type of schism, we don’t think that would be good for golf.

“And we are doing what we think is right for the long-term benefit of the game for all golfers, and we just can’t write them for one group of elite players.”

The tour said in a statement it would consult with its Player Advisory Council and policy board to determine “whether various provisions of Rule 14-1b will be implemented in our competitions, and if so, examine the process for implementation.”

PGA of America President Ted Bishop, who had some of the sharpest comments over the last few months, also said his group would discuss the new rule — and confer with the PGA Tour — before deciding how to proceed.
“We are disappointed with this outcome,” Bishop said. “As we have said publicly and repeatedly during the comment period, we do not believe 14-1b is in the best interest of recreational golfers and we are concerned about the negative impact it may have on both the enjoyment and growth of the game.”

Whether you agree or disagree with the USGA decision, there is sure to be a lot of discussion over the next few years as players will continue to win with this method.

Desert Willow Attracting New Players

Weekend Specials at Desert Willow

Palm Desert, CA-The Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert is using some new strategies to attract golfers.  Giving players Tee Prizes to go along with their green fees is a nice touch to bring extra value to customers and give them a little memento of playing the course.  Discounted rates over the holiday weekend and restaurant vouchers included in the price of a round, are a great way to fill the golf course and bring players in throughout the day. It is nice to see that there is still some business going on out there instead of just the same old status quo.

So let’s do the math on this one.  $55.00 Green Fee-includes tee prize, $15.00 lunch, a beer or margarita, a golf cart, range balls and you get to play at one of the finest public golf facilities in the Coachella Valley.  Sounds like a no-brainer if you enjoy playing golf  or would like to give Desert Willow a try.

Gridiron Challenge

Desert Willow has also introduced another interesting opportunity to try out their beautiful Firecliff and Mountain View golf courses.  It’s called the Gridiron Challenge and incorporates golf with a little football.  It is an “18 and Dine” of sorts.  The $25.00 Green Fee-includes tee prize, golf cart, range balls, closest to the pin and long drive competitions for 18-holes. All players are then invited back to the clubhouse to watch the games and for more fun and raffle prizes.  Sounds like a great way to get the girlfriend or wife to go watch football after you take her to play in a little fun afternoon of golf.

These are just a couple of ways that Desert Willow is bringing a bit of excitement back into the game of golf.  I wish them all the success in their effort to bring some life back into the sport.

Big Break Indian Wells

Starting May 16th, stunning mountain vistas play backdrop to the Big Break Indian Wells season 15. The all-male cast will tee off the 10-episode series on the Indian Wells Golf Resort’s two championship golf courses – Celebrity Course and Players Course.

These beautifully landscaped courses are ranked as California’s only 36-hole public golf facility on Golfweeks’ Top 20 “Best Courses You Can Play”. The famed Celebrity Course is also a two-time host to the PGA TOUR’s Skins Game.

During Big Break Indian Wells, one contestant will be eliminated each week, with the last player standing awarded the coveted sponsor’s exemption to a 2012 PGA TOUR event—a once and a lifetime opportunity to compete against some of the top players in the world.

Catch the action on the Golf Channel every Tuesday at 9 PM EST/6 PM PT to watch highly skilled golfers compete in a variety of challenges on world-class Indian Wells golf courses fit for legends.


Stacy Lewis leads after day-two at the KNC.

Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie.

Rancho Mirage, CA-Stacy Lewis kept her game hot Friday and moved to a three shot lead in second round action of The Kraft Nabisco Championship.  Temperatures on the course exceeded triple digits at times as the field struggled to maintain their positions on the leaderboard.  The women’s #1 player in the world and defending champion, Yani Tseng shot a second round 68 to move her into a three-way tie for second with Brittany Lincicome and Jane Park at -6.

The heat took it’s toll not only on the afternoon groups, but the fans as well as dozens of people were rushed off the course throughout the day complaining of heat-stroke symptoms.  Playing early also seemed to help with scoring, as Michelle Wie  shot the low round of the day and moved into contention with a 5-under par 67.  The forecast is for temperatures to cool down a bit on the weekend, but that means the wind will probably become a big factor down the stretch.  Stay tuned to for more updates on The 40th Kraft Nabisco Championship.