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Palm Springs' wide open golf courses let you boom it off the tee

Judd SpicerBy Judd Spicer,
Cimarron Golf Resort
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Cimarron features two John Fought designs that spread far and free. (Courtesy of Cimarron Golf Resort)

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- Golfers possess no shortage of manias.

From bad thoughts to weird thoughts to no thoughts, from yips to divots, from distractions to bad playing partners, from animal noises to ambient noises to no noises -- the number of fixations that get in one's head runs longer than a listing of the approximately 15,000 golf courses across the United States.

Among the very real concerns for many at the beginner level is a sense of claustrophobia, which sets in when looking down the barrel of a tight tee box, a home-lined fairway or a hole running adjacent to street traffic.

With nearly 125 courses, the golf-rich Coachella Valley sees a steady stream of vacationing, beginner and snowbirding players who haven't dusted off the sticks for a spell.

Should your own Palm Springs golf travel include towing the stressful figurative luggage of busting-up some glass during a round, here are five suggestions (listed alphabetically) for grounds allowing ample space to let it fly off the tee.

Cimarron Golf Resort

Two John Fought designs dot the unique (to the desert) links-style grounds, which spread far and free of much encumbrance. San Jacinto Mountain surrounds frame the untamed sprawl, which play sans residential routing.

Feel free to blast away on the 6,782-yard championship Boulder Course or to refine the irons across the 3,020-yard par-55 executive Pebble Course.

Classic Club

High handicappers take note: This course was literally built for the pros. And though Classic Club served as a three-year host to the PGA Tour's formerly-titled Bob Hope Classic (2006-08), the course maintains its potent and alluring teeth as one of the best plays across the valley.

From the tips: Classic plays at a monster 7,322 yards and couples rolling fairways with 30 acres of water features. Of course, the subject herein is space, which players of all levels will find ample from most tee boxes, and which beginners will want to play forward from about 6,200 yards.

Expanse is in abundance across Classic Club, where more than 200 acres of manicured turf is in play. A wealth of nature sightings and approximately 5,000 plantings complement the Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary grounds, as does the massive 63,000-square-foot, Tuscan-inspired clubhouse that awaits the close of your round.

Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon

Located 30 miles west of Palm Springs, the Schmidt/Curley-designed dual-course grounds at Tukwet Canyon prove an intriguing alternative to most courses on the nearby desert floor while concurrently presenting a welcome spread of natural, home-free terrain.

Played from the tips, both the Champions Course (7,377 yards) and Legends Course (7,442) will give single-digit players all they can handle; yet, from the whites (5,948 on Champions; 5,871 on Legends), both tracks are readily pleasant for new and beginner players seeking some nature and space.

For what the Champions presents in a host of benign opportunities from the box (followed by a boast of testy approaches), the Legends offers in hilly serenity and ample quietude.

Mountain Vista Golf Club

Though the only locale herein to sport residential lining, the sister Billy Casper designs of the Santa Rosa Course and San Gorgonio Course both sport a host of mammoth landing areas ready-set to accommodate its retirement community, along with like-aged public players and mid-to-high handicappers of all ages.

To be sure, both of these very well maintained courses are easy on the eyes from the boxes before sporting some true tests on and around the greens. But in large part, the more benign San Gorgonio and the slightly tougher Santa Rosa each present a swath of fairway landing areas spread far and wide.

The Lights at Indio G.C.

You won't be the only beginner upon the venerable, east end muni, which is the area's only course lighted for night play.

The 3,004-yard, par-3 Lights at Indio G.C. does present some surprising teeth (seven holes playing at least 179 yards; just three holes at 137 years or fewer), but high-handicappers are in abundance across these modest grounds, so rest assured that your cross-fairway balls won't be the only ones with wayward flight.

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Morongo G.C. at Tukwet Canyon - Champions CourseThe Lights at Indio G.C.Classic Club golf course

Judd Spicer is an award-winning, veteran freelance writer hailing from St. Paul, Minn. After 12 years of covering MLB, NBA, NCAA and the active golf landscape of the Twin Cities, he relocated to the Palm Spring, Calif. region to further pursue his golf work and Champions Tour dream. Sporting measured distance off the tee, Spicer refers to his pitching wedge as his "magic wand." Follow Judd on Twitter at @juddspicer.

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