After taking a much deserved rest for the weekend which included attending a car show and some great NFL football action at a local sports bar Myra and I were keen to get back out on the golf course to do what we came here to do. Today was to be the first of our two-day experience at Desert Willow in Palm Desert a short 15-minute drive from our condo in Palm Springs.
It was also going to be our third and last round with our new golfing friends Murielle, Myra’s golf buddy from back home and her husband Ken. Again that most important first impression was a lasting one as we drove down the half mile long entry road into Desert Willow. From walking into the very impressive entryway of the clubhouse through to the clean spacious and well stocked pro shop we knew we were in that very fortunate position again of playing one of the top facilities in the valley. Much to our surprise Justin Zile, Assistant Professional from Myras home state of Michigan one of the assistant pros informed us that Desert Willow is a public green fee golf course. One of the agreements that the golf management team must have had to make with the Palm Desert Civic Authority was that the employees must possess the highest standard of customer service. Justin not only greeted us but made a point of walking us out to meet Eric who was in charge of golf cart allocation and also invited Jason Wilkinson tournament coordinator to come out and say hello and welcome us as well.
From that point onward every expectation of excellence that we had was met and exceeded. The practice range had complementary bags of Titleist balls to hit with two separate putting and chipping greens close by. The organizational procedure of getting groups to the first tee to meet the starter and head off was impeccable. We teed off exactly to the minute of our tee time and as you can see in the numerous photographs that we took this desert course known as the Firecliff course, is an absolute gem. Some of the amazing features of the course are noticeable from your very first shot. Each tee box is a separate circular raised launching pad and the definition from the fairway to rough areas and the bunkering visible from the tees presents an excellent aiming point for your drives.
There was not a weakness on the entire course from a playing standpoint, the fairways were what I call “really juicy” a beautiful carpet of dark green grass which was the perfect complement to the beautiful tan silica sand that was consistent in all of the bunkers on the course. The greens ran true and smooth and at a very fair speed. We were told that number 17 was the signature hole and it was easy to see why a beautiful challenging par three with the most gorgeous lagoon off to the right.
On both the front and back nine the consecutive holes of 8 and 9 and 17 and18 could possibly be the best consecutive finishing holes I have played in numerous years. One of the most fascinating features of the course was the off the fairway areas which were a variety of cacti, shrubs, trees and long grasses. Being the gardener in the family Myra continually pointed out these marvelous parts of the landscape.
Several different varieties of palm trees, one in particular that purposely had the older growth left on them making the palm tree look like it had a very interesting long beard.
While playing a very efficient and friendly cart service gal was ever present, and the greens staff were maintaining the course at all times but never impinged on play. The washrooms on the course were nice and clean and water stations at them even provided ice to keep you hydrated.
At the end of the round the clubs were cleaned quickly and in a very friendly manner very close to where the parking lot, making a short easy walk to your vehicle and then back to the clubhouse to have a cool drink and some appies. The onion ring tower was delicious and the service of an equal standard at this beautiful clubhouse.
We posed as a group for a couple of photos on the deck overlooking the ninth green and all four agreed we had just played one very special golf course. It made the cold beers, onion rings and nachos taste even better than they actually were. The best part for Myra and I is that we get to do it all over again tomorrow at the Mountain View course at the fantastic Desert Willow golf complex in Palm Desert California. If this was a school child’s report card an A would not be an unreasonable mark if grading it that way.
Well done Desert Willow, long may it continue.