The driving range at the practice facility at Desert Willow
Heading back to Desert Willow for a second day at this golfing extravaganza was like waiting for your dessert order to come after you’ve just polished off the main course at a five-star restaurant.
When we pulled into the now familiar parking lot at the course Myra made a very modest request to please use the bag drop instead of carrying our clubs from the car to the awaiting power carts. This may not seem overly important or impressive but again being someone who is deeply impacted by the first impression at a business it was. One of the very efficient outside staff members Cody directed us exactly to the perfect spot to unload with precise arm and hand gestures and of course a big welcoming smile.
Although the two courses Firecliff and Mountain View are fairly different in their playability and design style one thing that was completely consistent and almost exactly the same was the performance of the customer service people that we encountered. Again the day started off with another warm welcome from Justin Ziles in the pro shop and we were also treated to meeting head professional Ryan Szydlowski he like Myra a fellow Michigander.
The opening hole at the Mountain View, the green is far left.
After Myra and he shared some stories of good fishing in their home state Ryan welcomed us to come and chat with him after our round. It is not often that the head professional offers such a warm welcome mat to a golfer and after the round we took full advantage of it. He offered us some further insight into the operation at Desert Willow, including the very thorough customer service training program that the staff goes through. It was evident at all times that the commitment to this program was highly successful and it only further added to the overall experience which as mentioned in the Firecliff review would easily garner an A on any report card. His personality was so upbeat you could see him succeeding in any aspect of business he might choose. The fact he is a proud new daddy might have helped too.
The rolling fairways on the Par 4 2nd hole
Today we were paired with a really nice couple from Bellevue Washington Debbie and Tim, and on this 19°C day sunny as usual their company was appreciated and we had a fun day with them. Mountain View is quite a bit different than the Firecliff course. The tee boxes on each hole are not separate little launching pads but are the more traditional style where the gaps between them are linked by beautiful turf grass.
Myra poised to tee off on the Par 3 8th rendering her a great par
The course has a little more of a rolling feel to it, and without having to utilize water some holes have what appears to be dry creek beds with strategically placed small boulders in them. Also there isn’t as many bunkers but still a healthy enough amount to frame the holes and make for a challenging day.
A dramatic back drop behind the Par 4 10th green
The course was aptly named as the mountain view of the San Bernardino range came into play numerous times and is absolutely stunning. Take a good look at the photo of number 10 green with the range in the background and tell me you don’t agree.
Myra again achieved her very modest goal of making a good par on the course and my start of six straight pars and finishing with three pars afforded me my best round of the trip so far a solid 40-41 = 81.
Looking down the fairway from about 200 yards to the green on the Par 5 16th
Amidst the abundance of male staff members in and around the pro shop as well as the on course greens crew, one beacon of loveliness appeared, Kelly the beverage cart girl, whose smile and friendliness equaled her male counterparts.
Small boulders stand guard in from of the open fronted green on the Par 17th
We finished the round on what is another of the typical features of the two courses at Desert Willow, a great hole at the end of each nine. 18 is a real beauty of a Par 5 and it was home to the funniest moment of the round. Myra feeling gutsy “went for it” in trying to clear a little creek with a dash of clear blue water running down it about 80 yards from the green. Her hybrid was hit well but came up short took two hops and into the creek at a good speed. All was not lost though as it rebounded back onto the fairway off of one of the happy little boulders that were smiling at her. We all let out a good laugh.
The standard at Desert Willow, fantastic finishing holes and Myra’s new buddy, boulder number 5.
We headed to the parking lot, chatted with young Mathew who gave the clubs a good cleaning, another of the Ferris State alum who had migrated from Michigan westward, and off we headed back to home base in Palm Springs. Thank you Desert Willow, your are the “A Team” of the golf industry at this superb Hurdzan/Fry designed nugget!
www.desertwillow.com Phone 760 346 0015 or 1 800 320 3323
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 up and down the west coast of the US playing and reviewing golf courses of all styles.