The Classic Club – Palm Desert California


“May the course be with you”. It was with these prophetic words that Davey the starter at The Classic Club in Palm Desert, CA sent us onward to play this Troon Golf managed masterpiece.

Backing up a little, we turned into the grounds of The Classic Club which immediately made a profound impact on us.

The clubhouse was a bastion of architectural prestige appearing to have been transported from the coast of Tuscany to the deserts of Southern California. The interior was resplendent with an incredible décor of stylish tile work, leather furniture and beautiful pieces of art.

Classic Club - The Pro Shop - I would call it "La Boutique"

The Pro Shop – I would call it “La Boutique”

Everything about this facility was upscale and although it may not be within the budget of a lot of golfers, I would recommend if you were to dedicate a portion of your annual golf investment, you press your nicest slacks and matching shirt, make your golf clubs sparkle and tee it up at this – the ultimate in a golf day experience. Sometimes in life, a splurge is worth it.

Looking over the practice putting green from the clubhouse balcony

Looking over the practice putting green from the clubhouse balcony

Only a scant 10 years old, this Arnold Palmer designed 3-year host of the former Bob Hope Classic is without simply without flaw. The course is technically perfect in every way. No good shot is punished and no poor shot is rewarded, it consists of the logical blend of 4 par 5’s, 4 Par 3’s and 10 par 4’s – Matching 36’s front and back for the optimum Par 72.

Take it all in.

Take it all in.

The pro shop looked more like an exclusive boutique with its wooden display cases filled with high end garments and merchandise from all the top manufacturers. We were greeted and sent out the door to the awaiting botanical paradise in a friendly and expeditious manner by Nick at the pro shop counter. After having our clubs loaded up on the very comfy Club Car Precedent, complete with GPS, we marveled at a practice facility of the highest quality. Titleist practice balls housed in small logoed Titleist bags were spaced out on the range. A separate practice green with a green side bunker was off to the side and a short distance away another dedicated chipping area with its own green. The practice green was manicured and very expansive and it only took a few putts to realize that the speed was just right. The ball glided to the hole and a good pace, but not so much that it felt like putts would just run forever.

View from the 11th fairway to the elevated green

View from the 11th fairway to the elevated green

The conditions of the various practice areas was replicated to an exactness which is often overlooked at most golf courses and made for an easy transition.

The greens were exquisite and very fair and the tee boxes very level and plentiful. There was a much appreciated set off shorter forward tees which Myra used on the Par 4’s and 5’s and on the Par 3’s she moved back one set to the Purple tees which gave her par 3’s ranging from 93 to 136 yards.

"Arnies Oasis"

“Arnies Oasis”

Another view of "Arnies Oasis"

The fairways were quite lush and easy to hit all clubs from, testament to that was twice in the round I hit driver off the deck very well. Sand play, challenging for most golfers, was not that daunting. Although a number of the greenside bunkers were quite deep, the sand was of the texture that made getting the club under and through quite easily. I was 3 out of 3 getting out and made a great up and down on the 5th hole to save par. That was especially rewarding after making a text book, driver, 5 wood, PW to 2 feet, tap in birdie on the previous hole, the Par 5 4th.

The awesome Par 5 14th

The awesome Par 5 14th

The layout of the course with its gentle rolling terrain, wide landing areas and an abundance of stunning lakes and water features was well thought out and I would think one of the marquee courses designed by Palmer design team. Added to that was not just the impact of the design, but the highest standard of overall maintenance of all the grasses on the course. Simply as good as it gets. The greens staff should be very proud of their work.

Myra and I were beaming the entire round and describing all the positive aspects of this gem hole by hole would require writing another 1,000 words minimum. It’s not necessary.

I didn’t ask or find out what was considered the signature hole, flip a coin it could be one of 10 holes minimum.

The Par 3 17th was probably my favorite hole and “Arnie’s Oasis” the Par 3 12th was Myra’s.

My personal favorite the Par 3 17th

My personal favorite the Par 3 17th

We could play The Classic Club 365 days a year and never tire of it, it’s that good and fun, yes fun.

As far as taking pictures I took over 50 and it could have been a 100 easily.

Although my own personal target of breaking 80 wasn’t realized, a 40 on the front nine was pretty decent.  If not for the distraction of one of our playing partner’s phone going off repeatedly the whole round, I might not have ballooned to a 46 on the back nine. Golf etiquette would dictate that unless it’s for emergency purposes, a cell phone is not a piece of golf equipment and therefore unwelcome and unnecessary.

Looking back across the water from the back of the 18th green.

Looking back across the water from the back of the 18th green.

We ended our day thanking Jason, who was now in the pro shop, by asking him to pass on our well wishes to General Manager Greg Rubino for this great day. We then headed for a bite to eat.

The Bellatrix Bar area was buzzing with people taking advantage of not only a great atmosphere, but very reasonable prices and on the suggestions of our waitress Gina we gobbled up a juicy burger for me and a delicious beef dip for Myra. With a cold O’Douls each, we walked away avoiding the chore of making dinner for $30, including tip. Happy hour from 3- 6 is really popular there.

The Classic Club deserves the highest of grades, complimentary bottles of water every 3 holes, yardage books, repair tool and wooden tees supplied at no cost were the cherries on top of a near perfect golf experience.  Phone 760 601 3600






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Bill Flower

Bill Flower is a passionate golfer and lover of the game who lives on Vancouver Island in Parksville, BC. He has played the game since the age of 10 and has spent many years in the golf business ranging from full time teaching pro to part time professional caddy, golf tour operator and golf writer. He loves to travel with his wife Myra throughout the US and Canada playing and reviewing golf courses of all styles. To date he has reviewed over 125 golf courses.

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