Gary Player delivers golfer-friendy design to Westin Mission Hills near Palm Springs

By Travel ArticlesApril 2, 2012, 4:00 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Gary Player has a formidable fitness reputation for working up his heart rate. But when playing his signature golf course at Westin Mission Hills, golfers will find themselves in a pleasantly mellow mood.

Westin Mission Hills' Gary Player Signature Course is the namesake's lone example of southern California design and serves as a credit to the 'Black Knight' in that Player created a versatile track that can not only stretch out for the low-handicapper (7,062 yards) but also appease the vacationer who seeks a resort-style game.

'I think there's a little mystery about it,' said Michael Macleod, director of sales and marketing at the Westin Mission Hills. 'Player is known for courses overseas in South Africa and the Middle East. He's got some courses in the southeast of the U.S., but not much in the West at all.'

Sister course to the Westin's Pete Dye, the Player offers more space and solitude than its sibling, tenets that have resulted in a course that's easier on both the eye and the scorecard.

'The Gary Player is very different from our Dye Course,' Macleod said. 'The Player is a little bit more wide open. It's a bit longer, a little more straightforward where there are very few doglegs or 'where are we going?' sort of stuff. But at the same time, it's a couple hundred yards longer than the Dye, so if you're a better player and want to play from [the] tips, there's plenty of challenge. But if you just play a few times a year, you can play it easy as well.'

But all siblings have something in common. In the case of the Player and the Dye, it's found in exceptional greens. The Player does differ in the green surrounds, however, with low-cut grass presenting more options (a sure nod to that resort player) to keep the wedge in the bag in lieu of putting up toward the pin.

And when the staff passes along putting tips, be sure to listen: Don't over-read these greens. Play to the hole.

Westin Mission Hills' Gary Player course's holes are short, memories will last a long time

Bowled fairways will gently cup askew tee shots on benign holes, but when the Player gets demanding it does so in full. Though all four of the par 3s chart among the course's six easiest handicap holes, each has its own distinct challenge.

To wit: No. 5 plays at 200 yards from the tips and is fronted by lake water with bunkering behind and to the right side of the green. On the eighth hole, water plays to the left, as does a sneaky greenside bunker. The diminutive, 158-yard 12th presents a tee shot that requires carry over both the drink and stone. No. 15 is the lone par 3 sans water, though a massive dune stands before player and pin.

All told, the Player sports better than 20 acres of varied water features and will play at its most memorable when the drink comes into play.

Before the turn, the demanding, 447-yard par-4 ninth is the top handicap hole with water playing to the left of the deep fairway and running all along the left side of the green. No. 12 is a 558-yard par 5 that flips the senses with a water hazard that stands the length of the hole's right side before a tricky, three-tiered green takes your approach.

The homestretch serves as homage to the designer's stamina.

'No. 16 is a very long par 4 at 450 yards and No. 17 is a very long par 5 at almost 600 yards,' Macleod said of two tests that eschew water hazards for length and well-placed bunkering. 'And the par-4 18th is a great hole with water and some decisions to make off the tee with a narrow landing area and going back into the prevailing wind.'

Westin Mission Hills' Gary Player Course: The verdict

'Very playable for the average golfer and well-designed for the player of average ability,' said Richard Gary, a mid-handicap snowbird living in Palm Desert. 'The par 3s were very pretty with water and rocks. A really fun course to play -- challenging, but it didn't beat you up.'

The sticks will appreciate the Player's distance, while high-handicappers will enjoy the water challenges, wide landing areas and continuous mountain vistas.

GPS isn't in play, though 150-yard fairway poles serve as apt guides and the truly prepared will make ample use of both the supplied yardage card and the Westin's exceptional 'Virtual Tour' on their Web site.

Westin Mission Hills Resort: Instruction and facilities

Full practice facility is offered and private instruction is available to players of all levels via the Barry Clayton Golf Academy. Tip: Make certain to note that the Player and Dye Courses are located at separate sites, just about a mile apart.

Getty Images

CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
Getty Images

After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

Getty Images

Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

Getty Images

Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.