Defeated again at Hole no. 17!

Time for a golf vacation again. My choices were Colorado, Palm Springs, and of course Vegas, but with only 3 days to spare I needed a destination where I could easily hop from one lushly green haven-in-the-desert to another, golf clubs and all, without losing the buzz of relaxation. I chose Palm Springs. Known quite well for its gambling, party, and Spring Break vacations, I’ve often felt its golf attraction has lacked the acclaim it deserves. From Cathedral Canyon to Seven Lakes, and don’t forget La Quinta Resort in the middle, the recreational golfer has only the problem of too many options of where to stake his tee.

I started with La Quinta Resort (the Dunes course), a superbly maintained Pete Dye architecture with the finest panorama abroad you will ever see, anywhere, and one of the most challenging Palm Springs golf courses you’ll ever play. Challenging but quite playable, even for me on a bad day. And a bad day it was. At about the 3rd hole I found the rough off the fairways made the play a bit frustration – once you hit your ball, even slightly into the grass, your ball is gone. I recovered by the end of the day with an even par and no courage left to play its sister course, the Mountain.

The following day I was off to an early tee time at Palm Desert Country Club, determined to not let this city have a 2-fer. From the moment I arrived at the course I was greeted at my economy rental car with my cart by the clubhouse staff, a common pleasantry often discovered at Palm Desert. It reminded me I was in fact on holiday and I could relax once again.

A notable trait of Palm Desert are the houses lining the fairways. A quite imposing feature at other courses, the fairways here are actually set wide and do nothing in the way of losing your on-my-vacation sense. I had my best game ever, as my ability to hit the long ball reached a new height, no doubt welcomed by the forgiving fairways so typical of this course. By the end of my round I noted the greens, how fantastic they were, and a true color. More so than any other course I’ve ever played. It was a great day.

The third day I was interrupted with a phone call. Emergency at work. Need to get back now. Without a tee time booked, I was halfway packed when I saw the complimentary brochure of attractions in Palm Springs. No way, I’m playing Cimarron Boulder. Lucky to get a tee time on such short notice for anything before 10 in the morning, I found myself teeing off moments later at one of the finest golf courses in Palm Springs, the state even. How they fit me in so easily without overbooking the day I will never know. The staff at Cimarron have proven to me again their competence in running a golf course.

A basic up and down, no doglegs, the greens were true and fairways cut well. The course is complex enough for the recreational player without too many intimidating hazards. A very open course, no houses and steady play through – again, the staff’s competence. About 3 hours in I came to it – number 17. A dog that sneaks up on you. I would have broken 80 but I took a double. I couldn’t get the distance down although it’s a very short hole. Damn, the magnificent golf world of Palm Springs has beaten me again.

It wasn’t long before I found myself driving along the barren roadways that promise and promise you’re almost in heaven, now only heaven fading in my mirror. I will be back, I thought with a bitter growl, yet a smile of content on my face.