The Indiana course at Desert Springs is where the first full-blown Arizona/California desert themed layout – described by some as “a Wild West resort course” – first collided with the continent of Europe back in 2001, down in the arid south east corner of Spain between Almería and Murcia.
Designed by Walker Cup stalwart Peter McEvoy, the lush, rather narrow fairways of this 18-hole course are set amongst dried river beds, hardpan and man-made lakes so the contrast between manicured playing areas and the surrounding wasteland could hardly be any starker. Accuracy is everything at Desert Springs as the penalty for straying off the green grass into the cacti and rocky scrub is inevitably severe.
Compare and contrast to the more difficult Valle del Este course, which opened nearby a year later than Desert Springs, then decide which of the two you prefer.
I have played this course three times over the years and was back for the third game recently. I enjoy this course. I think that it is a good test of golf. It is well maintained and if you play off the correct tees is challenging but not ridiculously hard. The desert style is unusual and obviously themed that way but it plays like many desert courses that I have played in Arizona. You are near some properties at the start and end of the round but most of the time you are away from it all and facing the good selection of par 3s, 4s, and 5s that make this a well balanced course.
If we are in this area we will always come here for a game.
The food that we were served in the clubhouse was the nicest by far in our two week holiday.
For me an extremely over-rated course. It feels a bit like a them park with lots of propping with things like wooden wagons, cactus etc all designed to make it feel like you are in the wild west. Certain parts of the course wind in and out of villas and other parts of the course are wide open, it just feels confused to me. On a reasonable amount of holes the driving areas for a decent hitter just kind of disappear into scrubland, i.e. you hit what you think is a decent drive and when you get up there you have either totally run out of room and find yourself in a ravine, or blocked out as the dog leg is a little short. It could be I played it from the wrong tees and should have gone one longer, but all in I felt it one one of the courses that I really wanted to like but just didn't.
The clubhouse and driving facilities were great, but it is a little out in the middle on nowhere so I certainly wouldn't rush back to it.