Must-play, must-stay: Four great Palm Springs golf resorts

By Travel ArticlesJune 19, 2012, 4:00 am

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- For desert guests: Prepping for a Coachella Valley golf getaway is akin to an American historian taking a trip to Philadelphia, a foodie traveling to New York or a gambler rolling into Las Vegas.

Palm Springs is the proverbial kid in a confectionery for golfers, and the options for diverse play are limitless.

As are the choices for accommodation to complement your rounds.

Here are four top options for area resorts with exceptional 'play and stay' facilities that are certain to ensure your travel meets high expectations.

Indian Wells Golf Resort

The 36-holes on at Indian Wells Golf Resort sparkled upon the Golf Channel's 'Big Break Indian Wells' in the spring and summer of 2011.

Start with the inviting water and flower features of the Clive Clark-drawn Celebrity Course before taking on the tougher, bunker-heavy round of John Fought's Players Course the next day. The driven will want to check out the on-site Callaway Performance Center or study at the Bird Golf Academy while the casual player will enjoy the nine-hole, natural-grass putting course.

The clubhouse is brilliant and well matched in stature by the dining at the IW Club. After dinner or a drink on the patio, turn in at one of four hotel options that adjoin the resort. Groups or parties will want to look into the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, while a more intimate stay may be found at the Hyatt Grand Champions.

For a top spa treatment, book at the Miramonte. At the Indian Wells Resort Hotel, reserve a seat for Frank DiSalvo's Thursday through Saturday croonings in the aptly named 'Frank's Place' lobby lounge.

La Quinta Resort & Spa and PGA West

Match desert history with new memories at La Quinta Resort. Opened in 1926, this is the desert's longest-running resort property, and the 45-acres host an impressive array of amenity for all styles of getaway.

From celebrated spa treatments (for both humans and their pets) to 23 tennis courts (both hard and clay) to one of the region's top dining choices at Morgan's in the Desert -- the resort nears its 90th anniversary with award-winning aplomb.

Oh, and there's some golf to be played here as well. Known as 'The Western Home of Golf in America,' a luminary cast of designers combine for nine courses (five public) that count among the most unique and inspired in the Valley.

For a three-day stay, start with Pete Dye's Mountain Course, which weaves a magical back nine that takes you through the Santa Rosa Mountains. Warmed-up and properly mellowed, move over to the Greg Norman Course at PGA West, which combines a dearth of both homes (fewer than 200) and turf (less than 70 acres) with the lining of Decomposed Granite to sport a round meshed with outback solitude and a shark's teeth. To wrap up the vacation, test the skills at Dye's TPC Stadium Course, where water, slick greens and ample undulation make for one of the toughest courses in all of California.

Marriott's Shadow Ridge

One of the Valley's most thorough golf experiences combines Nick Faldo's first American course design with an instructional institute bearing his name (just one of two in the country) and an on-site Master Clubfitter's Workshop.

Year-round promotions place additional shine on Marriott's Shadow Ridge Golf Club. A free round is presented with a lesson, and huge discounts on lodgings are offered for those studying their swing at either the two- or three-day golf schools (offering four hours of personalized instruction per day). A cost breakdown for both options on the getaway scorecard finds savings of nearly 30 percent for your multi-day lesson combined with lodgings in a one-bedroom villa.

When booking, be sure to inquire about rooms along the three finishing holes, where friends and family of students have a stadium view of how those lessons apply to the playing grounds.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

Few locations in the region can offer the all-encompassing experience of Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. Start the day soaring with a round at Eagle Falls Golf Course, the desert's newest, 18-hole championship course that serves as host to both the annual Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitation and the Playboy Golf Scramble.

The Clive Clark design combines pleasing solitude with renowned conditions and challenging elevation changes to count this among the top-10 public facilities in the Coachella Valley.

Post round, segue to the cache of gaming and entertainment options that encircle the casino floor. The Special Events Center brings in some of the desert's best bookings, while the outdoor Rock Yard offers a free, regular series of tribute acts on Saturday nights. Dining choices abound for all styles of party, and a family-driven trip will no doubt roll to the bowling fun at Fantasy Lanes.

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After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

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

On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

Laura Davies won the day.

It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

“I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

“It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

“It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

“People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

“Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

She also relished showing certain fans something.

“Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

“I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

“I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”