Designed by Arnold Palmer, the golf course at Classic Club co-hosted the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic for three years, between 2006 and 2008. For a layout that’s described as a desert track, it still manages to somehow feature thirty acres of water hazards.
It's hard to say how utterly different Arnold Palmer the golfer was compared to Arnold Palmer the course architect. The former's playing style was utterly captivating -- riveting in the manner by which he went about winning golf's grandest events. On the flip side, the Palmer architectural output is woefully short on consistently attaining originality and inspiration.
However, there are clear exceptions and the Classic Club is most certainly one of them.
Being able to separate oneself from all the courses that emanate from the Coachella Valley is no small task. The Classic Club is a no-nonsense layout. The challenges are clear and the rewards can be attained -- but only when earned.
The round begins in a rather benign fashion because the opening two holes are simply present to get one's golf muscles and brain ready for what lies ahead.
The outward half has an engaging routing. Hole are constantly going in different directions and the fairway movements are especially good because securing the appropriate angle into the greens is a big time plus when attained.
Matters intensify immensely when you reach the stellar par-4 3rd hole. The fairway is elbowed slightly so driving the ball into the preferred landing is anything but a cinch. Water also enters the picture and it's an intersection that happens numerous times after that.
As mentioned previously, the routing keeps players moving about and with that the need for adjustments are constantly at-hand. The shotmaking requirements maintain a high level and the front concludes with four high caliber holes commencing with the par-3 6th, two demanding par-4s at the 8th and 9th respectively and a notable risk/reward par-5 to close the side out.
The inward half does not have the same type of routing -- it's more out and in. Nonetheless, the overall quality is solid with such holes as the long par-4 11t and the well done 399-yard 13th being clear headliners. The round concludes with a challenging par-5 -- again with water standing in the way between glory and disaster.
The Classic Club is fair when players choose the appropriate tee box. Turf conditions are good although a bit firmer and faster with the fairways would have been a real plus. The green complexes are varied and the bunkering scheme is rather engaging. All in all -- the Classic Club merits a visit and salute to The King for creating such a gem of a layout.
M. James Ward
The Classic Club is situated on the outskirts of Palm Springs and was originally designed by Arnold Palmer to be used as one of the courses for The Bob Hope Classic a tournament it co-hosted in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Although the course is relatively open it is a very good driving course with a premium given to accuracy. In fact 9 of the driving holes have water alongside the fairway which means the player is only errant drive away from a card wreck! There is a nice mixture of short and long holes as well as some risk and reward holes. Although there are not many standout holes it is a good course and will provide a test for players of all levels. Hole 6 the long par three is a cracker with its two tier green protected by a 40ft drop off the right and swale on the left is a hole if you walk off with a par you’d be delighted. The 7th is a strong par 4 back to the clubhouse which requires an accurate mid iron approach to this green guarded by water. The par 5 9th curves from left to right and if the player hugs the right side of the fairway they may have the chance to go for this island green in two. The best hole on the course is the 12th an island par three with a green that sloped from back to front…the front hole location is the most difficult as its only about 15ft wide with water on both sides. 17 is another good par three with the green set well below the player which is split into two tiers…picking the correct club is a must. If you are a fan of risk and reward holes then the 18th is for you. Like a number of the holes at The Classic Club the tee shot is from an elevated position to a fairway protected by water of the right and bunkers down the left. Once the player finds the fairway they can either lay up down the left or attempt to find the green which is set well above them. I suggest picking two more clubs than the yardage otherwise your ball will find a watery grave. The Classic Club is one of the better courses in the desert and is well worth playing.