Palm Springs is known for their golf courses but very few of the multitude of courses there have hosted a golf tournament much less a golf major. Mission Hills is one of the rarified few hosting the LPGA's major tourney, the ANA Inspiration Championship.
Mission Hills is one of the crown jewels in the Club Corp portfolio and is home to 3 courses including the Dinah Shore championship course. I am fortunate to know a member of this club and recently got out to play the course. Also part of my luckiness? Getting to play from the ANA Championship tees!
The good news? The golf course is just as fun and challenging to play as it is to watch the LPGAers play it during the ANA. The course is in immaculate shape due in part to a robust watering program but played firm and fast even after the greens were watered.
The thing about this golf course is that it lays the hole out in front of you including the risks and rewards and it really makes you think off the tee. For example, hole one is framed by trees and clearly has bunkers in play on the left.
After that basic assessment you start to notice the undulations in the fairway and start to contemplate how close can you flirt with that bunker and then whenever you end up, how doe the undulations effect your ball for the approach shot?
The second or third shots at Mission also make you think as the greens are often multitiered and where you place the ball is paramount. That being said, the course isn't a hard slog, you are never out of it even if you are off line. Plus with water coming into play on several holes, the course gives you some visual feasts for the eyes.
The par 3's on the Shore course are true superstars. Long and hard, often involving water or uphill greens, the par 3's are no joke and if you go around with them in even par you are playing really well.
The back 9 is a tighter and tougher affair and then the course ends up on the famous 18th where the ANA winner takes a dip in the pond. I missed my par putt by inches on that hole but enjoyed that and my round immensely.
If I lived in in Palm Springs, I would join Mission Hills in a heartbeat, especially because they have 54 holes to choose from. The true superstar though is the Shore course and I can't wait to play there again.
For more info on Mission Hills, check out the link here: http://www.clubcorp.com/Clubs/Mission-Hills-Country-Club