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Palm Springs a golfer's dream for big spenders

By S. Adam Cardais,
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Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort and Club
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Try not to let views distract you from golfing challenges at the Mountain Course at La Quinta. (GolfPublisher.com)

In Palm Springs, where green fees run around $200 and a night at the famed La Quinta Resort and Club: goes for $400, it's tough to pinch pennies.

"Palm Springs still intimidates with the aura of its price tags today," Chris Baldwin wrote in a story for GolfCalifornia.com. "It's almost like people expect Robin Leach to be standing guard at the city limits, examining bank accounts to either grant or deny passage."

Perhaps. But if you're one of those fortunate enough to be granted "passage," the possibilities are nearly endless. From the 2,000-square-foot El Presidente suite at La Quinta to the Maine lobster at Azur, opportunities to splurge abound in Palm Springs.

Here are a few tips on how to make the most of Palm Springs on an unlimited budget.

Where to stay

If money is no object and luxury is paramount, the La Quinta Resort and Club is your place.

Boasting 41 pools, 800 guestrooms and five gargantuan suites, La Quinta usually can't be experienced for less than $400 a night. But the expense is worth it.

"La Quinta will wow even those used to the resort lifestyle," Baldwin wrote in a recent review. "This isn't your ordinary resort. La Quinta is to resorts what the Empire State Building is to skyscrapers."

Want more privacy? Consider renting a villa.

Luxury Retreats offers several in Palm Springs, including the Andreas Hills Golf Home, featured as an "Ultimate Destination" on NBC's Mansions and Millionaires. It runs about $1,000 a night.

Where to golf

Nestled in the Santa Rosa Mountains, the Mountain Course at La Quinta: might not be terribly long (6,758 yards from the back tees), but it will put you to the test.

"You start at the Mountain Course talking about the looming Santa Rosa Mountains," Baldwin wrote of this Pete Dye design. "You leave in wonderment or disgust (often both) at just how Dye managed to make this relatively short course such a monster."

The scenery and challenge come at a price: Green fees can run as high as $200 in high season.

PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course is less terrifying than its sibling, Dye's infamous Stadium Course, but it does a better job harmonizing with the surrounding desert. The Nicklaus course boasts picturesque mountain views, and its deep grass bunkers will test your short game.

Robert Trent Jones Jr.'s Desert Dunes Golf Course offers a completely different take on Palm Springs golf. It is full of thick vegetation that can swallow up golf balls, making focus key.

Where to dine

For great seafood try Azur, an offshoot of New York's Bernadin and the most elegant restaurant at La Quinta. The Maine lobster, poached in coconut and truffle butter, goes for $55. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Hip bistro Twenty 6, also in La Quinta, is a bit livelier. The menu ranges from the traditional (roasted half chicken) to the exotic (lobster ravioli). Entrees run about $30 to $40.

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