Debuted in 2005, the Arnold Palmer Classic is the first of two planned courses at an ambitious residential development within the SilverRock Resort. This 7,578-yard monster co-hosted the PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge (formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic) from 2008 to 2011.
In the Palm Springs Area Golf Guide, Daniel Wexler commented as follows; “the City of La Quinta’s Silver Rock Resort reportedly cost $58 million (!) to build, yet was dropped from the Bob Hope Classic rota after an initial four-year run. Aesthetically the Arnold Palmer-designed layout is beautifully situated flush against the mountains – a point only slightly diminished by the concrete-walled Coachella Canal where it crosses several holes.”
It's hard to square the reality that as charismatic as Arnold Palmer was as a golfer -- his foray into course design often produced vapid designs with little more than formulaic outcomes time after time.
Many of the courses created by Arnie had as much architectural heft as the staid architecture found at a McDonald's fast food restaurant. Ho-hum golf at its best.
SilverRock is not for the feint hearted and is anything but a yawn.
The layout can stretch to just under 7,600 yards but the story of the course goes far beyond the mega-distance encountered.
The layout is skillfully routed -- plenty of movement and enough change of pace situations to force players to make continuous adjustments.
The key is players selecting the appropriate tee boxes so that the challenges encountered are within one's reach.
I have been visiting the immediate area for well over 30+ years and clearly the quality of the golf in the California desert has dramatically risen. SilverRock is not among an area top 10 for me -- but when I first played it I was pleasantly surprised on how much better the course is than so much of the Palmer portfolio.
M. James Ward