A California Desert Drive
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The Coachella Valley in Southern California is made up of nine cities located in a fairly compact area blessed with dazzling mountain views. That relatively small space means you’re never far away from a golf course. In this case, there’s a foursome of Troon-affiliated facilities worth the visit.
After picking up your Avis rental car at Palm Springs International Airport, drive a quick seven miles to The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa on Dinah Shore Drive in Rancho Mirage. You can set up base camp here for a few days of golf, good food, and poolside fun. First up, take on the challenging Pete Dye-designed course that opened in 1987 and sits right behind the luxurious 512- room resort. Next day try the scenic Mission Hills North Gary Player Signature Course a short drive away.
Your next stop is Classic Club (pictured above), a mere five miles away on the north side of Interstate 10 in Palm Desert. From its three-story, Tuscan Village-inspired, 63,000-square-foot clubhouse to its Arnold Palmer-designed layout that has hosted the PGA Tour multiple times, this facility is top-notch. The late King’s favorite hole was reportedly the 162-yard par- 3 12th, but locals will argue that the dogleg right, par-5 closing hole generates the most post-round chatter given its high degree of risk and reward.
A little more than eight miles southeast on Interstate 10 in Indio sits Shadow Hills Golf Club, where two distinct courses flow across the desert floor. The South Course is a full-bodied 18-hole experience while the North Course, an 18-hole par-3 layout — perfect for a practice round or family fun — where distances range from 102 to 200 yards, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
While in this area, consider stopping by Shields Date Garden in Indio for a very popular local treat: a thick, tasty date shake.
Last but far from least, the 36 holes at Indian Wells Golf Resort are split between The Players Course and Celebrity Course. The latter, a pure resort-style layout designed by Coachella Valley resident Clive Clark, overflows with colorful flowerbeds and multiple waterfalls. That scenery can affect your focus, especially on holes 10, 14, and 16, all backdropped by nearby mountains. The adjacent John Fought-designed Players Course is the tougher layout with bigger and deeper bunkers, plus difficult up and downs around the larger greens.
On Thursday to Saturday between mid- October and Memorial Day, a different version of golf starts 30 minutes after sunset next to the 53,000-square-foot Indian Wells clubhouse with the popular “Shots in the Night” program, featuring a Glow Golf Range and The Putting Experience powered by Nextlinks.