Greater Palm Springs Community

Why Palm Springs is the Golf Capital of California

By bradschmett|November 21, 2019

Of the many outdoor activities offered in the Palm Springs area, the hands-down most popular is golf.

The area around Palm Springs hosts more than 100 top-notch golf courses that draw golfers from around the world for some time on the green. Add over 300 sunny days a year and a stunning landscape, and you’ve got a formula for world-renowned golfing, year-round.

The range of golf courses in Palm Springs is wide, offering something for golfers of every skill level.

Looking for a casual game where you’re sure to stay on par? Palm Springs has got it at places like the Classic Club and Indian Canyons. Prefer to navigate sand traps all day? More challenging courses like Desert Dunes are readily available, too.

Here’s our pick of the 5 best golf courses you’ve got to play in Palm Springs.

1. Classic Club

Where: Palm Desert, CA
Skill Level: Easy

Tee off in style at this legendary course designed by none other than the golf icon himself, Arnold Palmer.

This is a high-end, more expensive, golfing experience, but for good reason: The course itself hosts more than 30 acres of lakes and other water features, 14 stone bridges, and over 5,000 trees for plenty of stops in the shade. Flowering bushes accent the landscape, which is surrounded by a majestic mountain view.

After sinking a few putts, try out the fine dining at the Tuscan-style clubhouse restaurant, Bellatrix. Then walk it off with a stroll through the Bob Hope Gallery, which features Hope’s epic collection of golf memorabilia.

2. Desert Dunes Golf Club

Where: Desert Hot Springs, CA
Skill Level: Difficult

 

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The reason every golfer needs to try this course is because of its remote desert layout.

Each hole is designed around sand dunes and ancient desert trees, far away from any street noise or other signs of life. You might even spot a roadrunner or a desert kit fox!

Don’t worry, though — you still golf on actual grass (if you can keep the ball on the green, that is).

One thing to keep in mind about this course is that it’s not for the faint of heart — changes in elevation, tough fairways, and steep greens make it a challenging play, so be ready to bring your A game.

3. Shadow Ridge Golf Club

Where: Palm Desert, CA
Skill Level: Medium

This Marriott-hosted golf resort sits in the shadow of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Golfers can enjoy a stunning view of snow-capped peaks with each swing of the club.

But while the snow may be within view, you’ll be warm on the palm-tree laden course. With a nod toward Australian Sandbelt terrain, this beautiful course is loaded with traps and trees, but the fairways are relatively kind to players with medium experience.

Even if you don’t fare so well on the scorecard, you can count on getting first-place treatment at the clubhouse restaurant, which features high-end American cuisine and a full bar.

4. Desert Willow Golf Resort

Where: Palm Desert, CA
Skill Level: Easy to Difficult

This is the highest-rated golf resort in the Coachella Valley, probably because of it’s two distinct courses integrated into the desert environment.

The Firecliff Course is a challenging one for highly skilled golfers, with bold bunker designs and difficult greens. Fortunately, everyone else can hit up the Mountain View Course, which is designed for all skill levels to enjoy.

Regardless of how good you are, this resort is worth visiting for its sheer beauty — the design is elegantly crafted with diverse plant life, incredible desert vistas, and a mountainous backdrop.

5. Indian Canyons Golf Resort

Where: Palm Springs, CA
Skill Level: Easy to Medium

This golf resort is one of the country’s top-rated designs for women golfers, with two courses featuring a heavy helping of par 4s that are compelling and accessible to all skill levels.

The plant life selection (and the resort’s name) is inspired by the plants that the native Agua Caliente Indians used extensively. And the surrounding San Jacinto Mountains give players a view to behold while they work their way from drive to putt.

Don’t just take our word for it — everyone from Frank Sinatra to President Lyndon B. Johnson have made it a point to play Indian Canyons.

Find More Fun in Palm Springs

Golfing in Palm Springs is a dream for both casual and hardcore enthusiasts, but not everyone is an ace with a 7 iron.

Regardless of whether you prefer the clubhouse or the green, though, there’s so much more to Palm Springs than golfing. Hiking, fine dining, pool parties, and luxury shopping are just some of what our little slice of paradise has to offer.

Find out why Palm Springs is the perfect escape »

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