Not quite vintage Tom Fazio, nonetheless this early 1980s project at Vintage Club certainly gave the golfing world an insight into what the architect was capable of and it set him on his way to design many other big budget courses in the years that followed.
Situated in a sheltered location close to the Eisenhower Mountain, the 18-hole Mountain course arrived first in 1980, followed three years later by the much shorter Desert layout.
One of literally dozens of golf complexes to be found in the Coachella Valley, the Vintage Club is a cut above most of them and, unlike many that have opened as exclusive, member only facilities then become more open to the general public, this facility has remained steadfastly private.
Water comes into play at almost half the holes on the Desert layout – with the odd waterfall thrown in for good aesthetic measure – though the course’s main defence is its extravagant bunkering, where no expense was spared when setting out the sand traps.
Even though none of the holes on the Desert course quite match the photogenic quality of the iconic 16th on the Mountain course, there are still plenty of spectacular mountain views to be found at many spots on the layout.
It’s interesting to see the Desert course ranked higher than the Mountain as the Mountain was awarded the best renovation in 2015 by Golf Digest. Having played here recently, I can understand why you have them the other way round. I found the Mountain to be a little too contrived in places and too picture perfect, whereas the Desert seemed to be more natural and a more manageable test for this mid-handicapper, who particularly liked the Desert’s unusual bunkering.