New look Indian Springs Golf Club springs forth to satisfy

By Travel ArticlesMarch 23, 2012, 4:00 am

INDIO, Calif. -- Perhaps it's appropriate that the modern-day grounds of the Indian Springs Golf Club were initially designed, in part, by crooner/composer Hoagy Carmichael back in the early 1960s. What was once counted among the Coachella Valley's golf also-rans was razed to Stardust at the turn of the New Millennium.

'We had 102 golf courses in the area at that time,' said Indian Springs General Manager and Director of Golf Neil Finch, who was on site for architect David Ginkel's total course overhaul in 2000. 'I used to say this one wasn't ranked in the top-100. It was not very impressive.'

More than a million yards of dirt were moved to craft the grounds of today, and the result is a highly playable golf course that serves as a nice, little gem on the east end of the Valley.

Indian Springs is also a point of pride for Finch, who added the title of 'proprietor' to his aforementioned duties in 2008.

'It's nice working in the resort business,' said Finch. 'I'm trying to give people a good product at a good value. Nobody is excluded from having a good time here. Some other places with difficulty and length are designed for Tour pros, and mama just can't play those. And, usually, if mama isn't having fun, nobody's having fun.'

Such a homespun vibe is mirrored throughout the clubhouse. While a number of the region's luminary tracks are bigger than Indian Springs, few can match the consummate cleanliness of these grounds and affability of these caretakers.

Indian Springs: Perfect for couples and families

The Indian Springs' staff calls these greens a 'Perfect 10,' a reference to the speed of the Stimpmeter setting. The putting surfaces indeed roll true, though pitches and chips require a studied touch.

The other name feature here is water, which spreads across 11 holes. But true to the course's inclusive design: The hazards are coupled with ample 'outs,' serving as a test for the low-handicapper while concurrently playing as a pleasing aesthetic that won't beat-up the duffer.

'They kind of come in on the side, so there's tons of bail-out area,' said Finch of the water features. 'So it's not in your face. It's not target-golf.'

The front side at Indian Springs will make the more distinct impression, though getting from the gate quickly requires some finite shot-making before the course offers some ease. The 350-yard, par-4 first is short but skinny, presenting water on the deep right and bunkering to the left mid-fairway.

'No. 2 is our signature hole,' said Finch of the 400-yard dogleg left. 'There's a waterfall behind the green that creates a stream that goes to the left and front of the green. And there's also a lake on the right. Even though it's only 400-yards long, it's probably our most difficult hole.'

After a lengthy, 233-yard, par-3 third, the 562-yard, par-5 fourth hole sports an ample landing surface before water appears before the front and right of the green.

The 360-yard, par-4 No. 7 is a thesis of hazard meeting a bail-out option. The tee shot proves benign before lake water emerges to the right and back of the hole on the approach, though going left finds ample playing space.

'There's a lot of good-looking holes at you finish up,' said Finch. 'No. 15 is a simple par 4 with a stream that fronts the left of the green and water behind to the right.'

The 193-yard 17th is another example of a bail-out option, with spacious turf to the left and water and bunkering to the right. Choices are also evident on the par-5 home hole, where water guards the front and right of the hole, yet mama can still find that par by playing safely to the left.

Indian Springs Golf Club: The verdict

'It's a nice course, and it was hard to hold the greens,' said Tod Louis, a high-handicap vacationer from Highland Park, Minn. 'It's pretty spread out, so there's some commuting between tee boxes. There was some water but not too much to get you in a lot of trouble.'

Bigger isn't always better. While many area courses advertise themselves on the tenet of inclusion, Indian Springs truly is a golf course that will prove very playable for all levels.

Indian Springs G.C.: Instruction and facilities

Full practice facility is offered, and instruction is available to players of all levels.

Visitors will surely appreciate the free lunch that is included with your green fee. Tip: Though the free lunch can be used for an on-course snack, wait until after your round to enjoy the voucher in the excellent Club House Grille.

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.

Getty Images

Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry