What Califormia trip would be complete without a round of golf in the oasis that is Palm Springs and after flipping too many coins chose Indian Wells Golf Resort as our one choice out of the many suggestions and web sites we studied leading up to the “big trip”.
As I had alluded to in one of my previous blogs my course reviews start the minute, no the second I enter the grounds of the golf course and my oh my did this place tick every box, yes every box! Conveniently we only had to drive 400 yards from our hotel to this desert gem. The desert ended at the driveway, as this is a parkland beauty, which I knew anyways because you couldn’t pay me enough to play an actual desert course. Hate em, hate em, hate em. Actually if I really want to play in the sand I can go to my local beach.
Now back to my new favorite California course, we pulled in and immediately a smiling attendant, who suggested we, greeted us park the car come in and get familiarized and then go get the clubs and gear. We walked into the clubhouse and thought we had stumbled into a 5 star hotel by mistake. It was spotless; a wide-open atrium with very easy routing to the pro shop, restaurant, lounge and restrooms was our introduction. Two steps into the pro shop and a smiling young gal folding golf shirts warmly said hello and we sauntered in. My initial point of contact was away for the day and a very worthy, professional and delightful Marissa Patterson took the reins and catered to our every whim. My better half, can shop till you drop, so I had to inform her, that we indeed had a tee time and we both needed to hit a few.
We were directed firstly to the driving range but not before being supplied with plenty of water, a cooler full of ice, nice large cups and a few friendly warnings about the heat! At 10 am it was already 85 degrees and we would experience golfing in 102-degree heat by the end of 18 holes. It was a much, appreciated heads up.
Although we are walkers, the cart was a must actually. Patiently we watched and waited at the first tee as 3 groups teed off, in between the starter shared pleasantries with us and gave us a few directional pointers and the it was our turn. As to be expected with a busy course we were paired up and awaited our playing partners.
Well they might have had a hint of seriousness but the warmth and friendliness our playing companions displayed was an absolute treat. Well what would you expect when you’re paired with two fellow Canadians, western Canadians to boot! So two golfing, hockey mad men, Bill and Brad and two fashionable, bubbly ladies, were now a team! From my opening tee shot, long and straight down the middle I knew this was going to be great day. Not 5 seconds after my ball landed a dark haired, polished looking man pulled up on a cart. After we had all hit he said hello and introduced himself, it was Joe Williams, The Director of Golf himself. Even If he could never hit a balloon with a tennis racket he was the epitome of what the golf industry needs more of at the helm. Engaging, accommodating, smiling and utterly friendly to a fault, what a great feeling to take with you out onto the course. It wouldn’t be the last of him either! So off we went playing a perfect course, level tee boxes, smooth greens, lovely bunker sand and undulating fairways cut at just the right length. Lets throw in cold water stations every 3rd hole and attendants on carts who brought out terry towel face cloths soaked in some kind of peach scented water. Oh did I tell you this was about $50 with the cart and range balls?!! Established palm trees, vibrant floral details including stunning Birds of Paradise everywhere and water features including ponds, waterfalls and babbling brooks. I just had to use that expression people, I am still giddy just thinking about how much fun, yes fun, the forgotten word in life’s most frustrating game, we had! There were no poor holes and at least 6 of them could have been signature holes on many other 5 star courses around the world. Poor shots were punished and great ones were rewarded.
One hole in particular was world class, The Par 5 number 4 which I elected to go for in 2 while my male cohort Brad after laying up knocked his on and there we were putting for an eagle and a birdie all the while admiring our lovely wives who were having a grand old time and playing well themselves. The first of 2 birdies in the bag we headed on and at the turn stopped for our favorite after 9 rituals, a hot dog. Nobody does a hotdog like an American golf course and this one was the Cadillac of them all with what looked like a salad bar for condiments and a really tasty bakery style bun. It was placed in a plastic container and accompanied by chips and a pickle. Gourmet or what!
The back 9, all be it that is was now breaking the 100 degree barrier, was as awesome as the first 9 and we capped off the day with delicious nachos at the suggestion of our very knowledgeable waiter and cool drinks in an air conditioned lounge over looking the course, well 2 courses really but our focus had been on this Par 72 gem, “The Celebrity Course” as it was officially known.
We parted ways promising to keep in touch with our new golfing friends, who we have recently exchanged emails with actually and headed out for the not so long 400 yard drive back to our hotel. Low and behold as we headed to the car, clubs cleaned and delivered by the best golf staff anywhere, Joe Williams came out and presented us with his business card and many fond farewells. We were delighted at his own dedication to our day as well as my vote for the most attentive golf support staff I have been privy too in many years. Thinking back to our round, after hitting a tee shot that was less than her usual down the middle certainty, one of the grounds crew supervisors came over and offered an apology for the noise the grounds crew were making while we were teeing off!
My day with my new golfing friends was a perfect 10 and cemented my commitment to return year after to year to the same place, thank you Indian Wells Golf Resort!