Greater Palm Spring – a collection of more than twenty communities in the Coachella Valley 100 miles east of Los Angeles – has more than eighty golf courses to its name. Unfortunately, most are private clubs immediately recognizable by high walls, stay-away gates and bubbling fountains set in elaborate gardens.
But these havens of privilege haven’t put a lock on tradition. La Quinta Resort & Club is the most venerable of the valley’s getaways, and its guest list reads like a Who’s Who of American filmmaking. Opened in 1926, La Quinta began as a modest collection of cottages that soon became the preferred retreat for the stars of Hollywood’s “Golden Era”.
La Quinta has undergone several ownership changes and has expanded greatly since its inception, but still the resort maintains an air of quiet sophistication and charm. While the hotel’s original layout, La Quinta Country Club, was long ago sold to its club members, Pete Dye was hired in the late 1970s to build a pair of courses at the resort.
The above passage is an edited extract from Golf Resorts of the World – The best places to stay and play by Brian McCallan.
Feature holes on the Mountain course include the left doglegged 4th, the par three 5th and the 400-yard uphill 6th whilst, on the back nine, the signature hole 16th (played downhill to a Dye-trademark island green) is a par three where some golfers might think it’s worth an 18-hole green fee just to play this one hole.
This is a fun course, especially if you are hitting the ball decent off the tee. The second hole is a long par 3 with H2O all the way along the leftside, thus if you are going to miss, miss right. Be wary of the sucker pin. The 4th is a reachable par 5 with the optimal tee shot right center of the fairway. The 7th is another reachable par 5. The left side of the fairway is best as the water on the right side really comes into play. The 12th is a short par 4 with plenty of trouble. If I remember correctly there is about 10 bunkers and a water hazard to the far right. The par 4 14th is visually stimulating and plays longer than you think, favor the left side off the tee. The par 5 15th is another pretty golf hole. Favor the left side of the fairway through the hole. It is reachable but there is a very large bunker that protects the right side. The downhill par 3 16th is the signature hole and if you par it you think it is awesome and if you don’t it is just a reminder that beauty is only skin deep. Worth the $$
My San Diego golf group does an annual 'road trip' to La Quinta and we always play the Mountain Course. The Mountain is my favorite of the La Quinta / PGA West courses we play over the 3-day weekend. For this round, we always play a team Ryder-Cup like 4-ball match play event on the Mountain.
Though I am typically not a fan of Pete Dye's architecture, in this case it works. The previous reviewer is correct that some of the holes are not equal to others. But the strong par 3 #2, the par 5 #5, and the par 3 #6 set the tone. Clearly the holes along the edge of the mountains really differentiate this course. #14-#17 is a really good stretch. Club-up 2 clubs on the #14 approach.
Fast greens, amazing scenery and the last 5 holes are one of the best stretches in golf with greens and fairways weaving up around and near mountains. Throw out holes 10-13 and this course is one of the best in Palm Springs and one of the best I've played. The staff are all friendly although pace of play is definitely an issue.
The course has all the Dye flourishes like railroad ties, penal bunker complexes and undulations but unlike its sister TPC Stadium West course all of these architectural quirks are softened and offer a golfer choice instead of being penal. A golfer actually enjoys a round on a Dye course, what a surprise!