Tuesday, February 28, 2017

La Quinta Mountain Review

Palm Springs has underwhelmed me so far in my travels out to the desert. So many of the courses are unimaginative romps through housing developments. When I research courses on the internet, the best ones, to my eye, are the private ones nestled right up next to the mountains. Well, all things Palm Springs turned around for me in a big way playing La Quinta's Mountain course. The best course I have played in Palm Springs and one of the most scenic courses I have ever played is this one and one you have to play post haste.

The first hole starts you off in Dye land. Not too long but full of treachery either going left or going too long right into the humps.

To say that the course nestles up to the mountains for a long kiss and some scotch is an understatement. The mountains influence everything from putts to views and it is some of the most stunning scenery in Palm Springs or anywhere else.

Dye's classic railroad ties and other architectural flourishes are on fully display but yet softened compared to TPC Stadium or other Dye tracks I have played. Sure there are long sand waste areas and tightly cut fairways

but these aren't penal flourishes and in fact make for a really fun golf day.

The front 9 is wide open with no houses, fantastic conditioning and many holes run up against the mountains. It was super surprising how fun the front 9 is and each tee shot gives you a lot fo visually chew on.

Water is definitely a factor here and my advice is to steer well clear from it as the fairways and even the waste area bunkers are subtly sloped toward the water.

The less that is said about holes 10-13 the better. Forced to thread their way through the La Quinta housing development, the holes offer some of the claustrophobic ridiculousness that Palm Springs gives more times than not. There is a beautiful tree though so there's that.

The Reason For The Season:

All the money you pay for this course, all the holes you play beforehand all lead up to the last stretch which is arguably the best stretch of 5 holes in SoCal. First up, 14:

With no sense of fairways and pot bunkers everywhere you are faced with an uncertain tee shot and definitely an uncertain second shot with a potential gully eating your ball.

All of this leads up to a green that is one of the most beautiful sights you have ever seen.

This is all prelude to the 15th, a long par 5 that parallels the mountains.

The real beauty of this hole comes into focus from above, in what is perhaps the most oft photographed hole in all of the La Quinta resort.

16 is a shorter par 3 that has a sea of green amidst a sea of rocks. Visually, there is nothing quite like it, at east in SoCal.

17 and 18 are really fun and challenging holes with a par 4 and a par 5 to close it out.

The only negative of the round was the pace of play. There were plenty of marshals but little marshaling. For a Saturday at high season, its not surprising but otherwise the round was fantastic.

Overall, this course was a surprise in all the best possible ways. I have always viewed Palm Springs with a lot of trepidation but now I am looking forward to going back and playing this course.

For more info on La Quinta, check out the link: http://www.laquintaresort.com/golf/la-quinta-resort-golf-courses/la-quinta-resort-mountain-course/

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