When you hear Palm Springs mentioned, your mind immediately is deluged with thoughts of luxury and the rich and famous.
This is the place where Hollywood's big stars hang out, after all. And it's the place with as expensive of shopping as you'll find on the West Coast, including Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles.
Somehow, however, this attitude has transferred to the area's golf scene, as well. Now, when many think of golf in Palm Springs, you imagine famous courses built by illustrious designers that have green fees that equal your next month's rent. Such is not the case, however. For while there are ritzy courses in and around Palm Springs, there are plenty of other courses for a player to enjoy that won't break the bank.
"It turns out that if you go a little bit off the usual resort palace track, the Palm Springs area is home to a number of reasonable, satisfying and sometimes shockingly good plays," wrote TravelGolf.com's Chris Baldwin. "Palm Springs golf on a budget? It's more than possible. It might even turn it into the unexpected trip of your life."
With views of the Santa Rosa, San Jacinto, and San Gorgonio mountain ranges, it's easy enough to see where they got the name for Mountain Vista Golf Club in nearby Palm Desert. But the views aren't the only things that Mountain Vista has to offer.
As a club in a subdivision, Mountain Vista keeps green fees low, with players often getting in 18 for less than $50.
"This is one of those places that just wants to get golfers out onto their courses, hoping this results in a fair share of interested new home buyers. Which means cheap golf for you," wrote Baldwin.
Mountain Vista consists of two 18-hole runs, designed by Billy Casper and Greg Nash. Named the Santa Rosa and San Gorgonio courses, the two feature plenty of water.
Mesquite Golf and Country Club features eight small lakes that will keep you busy enough with forced carries you won't mind one bit that the course measures out at 6,328 yards from the tips. The combination of desert golf with running water and mountain views will more than make for a great day on the links.
At Mesquite, even during the busiest of seasons, green fees will rarely drift higher than $75. It's a course popular with locals, as well as with seniors and women, though the course will more than provide enough of a challenge for low handicappers.
"This is the kind of place the locals actually play," writes Baldwin. "The kind of place that offers regular Sunday champagne brunches and New Year's Eve parties in the clubhouse.
Indian Springs Golf and Country Club has developed a great reputation for amazing conditioning as well as low green fees. It's a course that those in the know swear by, and they can have you on the tees for less than $75, normally.
Cimarron Golf Resort is a par-3 course with excellent condition that will have you feeling like you're on a full par-72 course. And you can be playing it for less than $50, often much less.
Palm Springs has long been a favorite for celebrities: Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Albert Einstein and Al Capone all have strolled the streets in the desert town. Place like the honeymoon cottage of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard and Liberace's mansion are featured on bus tours throughout the city.
June 21, 2006
William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.
Finding a golf course to play in the Sarasota/Bradenton area 45 miles south of Tampa is easy. World-ranked beaches, European-style boutique shopping and al fresco dining, and a fantastic circus museum are just a few of the choices available for off-course entertainment.
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