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Three great days in Palm Springs for the (relatively) frugal golfer

By S. Adam Cardais,
Contributor
Cimarron Golf Resort
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Cimarron Golf Resort's par-3 course will challenge you with bunkering and elevated greens and comfort you with modest green fees (Courtesy Cimarron)

Paying $400 a night for a suite at one of Palm Springs' luxury resorts might seem reasonable if you're George Clooney. For those of us not living the impossible dream, it just seems stupid to spend big bucks on a hotel room when you know the golf course is where you'll be spending most of your time.

And while it's tough to be budget-conscious in a town with a history as a high-roller playground, there are bargains out there, both on and off the course.

"Palm Springs golf on a budget? It's more than possible," Chris Baldwin wrote in a GolfCalifornia.com story. "It might even turn into the unexpected trip of your life."

Trip of your life? Probably overreaching a bit. But you can spend three great days enjoying some of the best Palm Springs has to offer without draining the kids' college funds.

Friday

When you arrive in the morning you're surely going to want to drop off the luggage and get into your golf togs as soon as possible. Location makes the Best Western Palm Desert is a great budget lodging choice.

You're not here for the view - it's smack-dab on Highway 111, amid fast-food chains and grocery stores - but the Best Western offers plenty of amenities, with its own tennis courts and a golf professional who will help set up tee times for you at any of the nearby courses. Rooms run around $100 a night in the fall.

Once you're checked in, head to one of the most pristine local courses, Indian Springs Golf & Country Club. Indian Springs' immaculate greens rival those of the region's highest-profile (and highest-cost) courses, but you can get on them for under $100, even in high seasons.

Replenish some of the calories you burned off on the course with dinner at Grill A Burger. Everything here is made by hand, even the French fries. A burger goes for $6 to $7, and a hot dog will run you about $5. Unlike most burger joints, Grill A Burger has a full bar, so you can settle in and make a night of it if you like.

Saturday

If you did make a night of it, give yourself a break in the morning at Cimarron Golf Resort's Short course. This John Fought design may be brief at 3,152 yards, but its bunkering and elevated greens make it seriously challenging. It is also remarkably varied for a par-3 course.

"[R]ather than a par-3 that features short, tight holes that parallel each other in a confined space, Cimarron's Short Course is open, with each hole having … a separate, stand-alone feel," Larry Bohannan wrote in a review for GolfCalifornia.com.

Green fees run around $50.

You had a cheap dinner last night, you leave town tomorrow - treat yourself tonight. The Falls steakhouse serves up great cuts of beef, daily fresh seafood and tableside Caesar salad. And you know a steakhouse is good when its menu warns, "The Falls is not responsible for steaks requested medium well and above."

Sunday

It's your last day. That sad, all-good-things-must-come-to-an-end feeling is creeping up. But the trip ain't over yet. There's still time for a round at Mountain Vista Golf Club. Located in Palm Desert subdivision, this course has views of the surrounding Santa Rosa, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio ranges. With plenty of beautiful landscaping, Mountain Vista remains relatively inexpensive despite the scenery.

 
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