Back in November when I initially started to research which golf courses we thought would be beneficial to review for the readers, SilverRock was one that really captured my interest. Promoting a business on the Internet via a website sometimes can be misleading, especially with photographs that can be edited and tweaked to look even more enticing. In reality not one of the photographs that they used on the SilverRock resort website was the least bit misleading.
Our new golfing friend Robert tees off from green tees on Hole 1
After our day 12 round on January 13th was rained out, Myra and I were even keener than usual to get back on the golf course.
We awoke on Saturday, January 14 to clear blue sky’s and the forecast of over 20°C. It was a great start to my 58th birthday. With some new Taylor-made irons in my bag, a gift from my lovely wife, my only other real wish was that I got off the par train and score a birdie on my birthday. Of course, needless to say, seeing Myra hit some good shots and make a par on SilverRock would be an even greater gift.
Myra tees off on the Par 3 3rd hole
La Quinta, a very affluent city and part of the Coachella Valley, is in one of the newer areas that has been built up in the last 20 years amid an array of gorgeous homes, businesses and incredible golf courses.
SilverRock is what I like to describe as a stand alone golf course. It is void of anything but golf holes making for a very serene and isolated recreational environment. The Santa Rosa mountains rise up dramatically and loom over the south edge of the entire golf course. This makes for a very dramatic backdrop to many of the holes as you will see in the number of these photographs.
As you turn off into the long entrance road to the golf course, it is painfully obvious that the facility is of the highest standard . The stunning waterfall feature made out of huge boulders and surrounded by an array of gorgeous desert flowers and vegetation is your first introduction to this awesome golf resort.
Everything is laid out very efficiently so you know where you are going the entire time with all the amenities of the course marked out clearly. At the bag drop Doug, a former college baseball pitcher, placed our bags on an awaiting power cart and nearby the pro shop awaited our arrival.
Shadows cover the stylish stone clubhouse
John Saenz, the Head Professional, was the first person that I met as I walked into the clubhouse. We chatted for a few minutes and then he directed me towards the very friendly and efficient duo of Jonathan and Rick at the pro shop counter. After the usual well wishes this friendly pair of fellows sent us on our way and after best wishes from Doug we headed off towards the practice facility and the awaiting first tee.The driving range, complete with baskets of brightly cleaned complementary balls, had five or six very green target greens. At the end of the practice range was a separate chipping and pitching green in near perfect condition. The same could be said of the practice putting green which was in impeccable shape. Over the conveniently placed public address speaker, we were called to the first tee to join another couple who hailed from Quebec, Canada. We had briefly met Robert and Lise Tessier in the pro shop and now we re-acquainted ourselves with them near the first tee. One very friendly starter named Bill Beasley gave us our pregame pep talk and all smiles we headed off to play. The wind was blowing down along the Santa Rosa mountain range at a pretty good clip, so we had to take this into consideration for most of the 18 holes. The course was in pristine condition, the maintenance of it at the highest standard and I loved the layout of the entire golf course. As we moved throughout the course you could see why it was a former Bob Hope Desert Classic venue.
The short par 4 10th
I didn’t need to take many notes while playing the course. One of this pedigree would be easy for me to remember with all of the highlights of playing it. My goal of getting that elusive birdie which I hadn’t had for the last two rounds was achieved on the very first hole. The design style placed a very high demand on sound bunker play, as there was a large number of various types of bunkers strewn throughout the golf course. None of them were unfairly positioned, but most were quite challenging. The simple fact that they consisted of beautiful soft sand allowed a well played shot to be rewarded. I was not the only one who made some great outs from the bunkers as Myra on a couple of occasions pinched the ball out nicely and floated it up onto the green. I was, however, the only one who played a green side bunker shot that floated up through the air and landed directly in to the hole. That was the nature of my birdie on the first hole.
Bill teeing off on the Par 5 15th after coming off a birdie 2 on 14
The off fairway rough was very unique as they were known as native areas, which were predominately desert vegetation and a slightly course or type of sand. You were permitted to ground your club in these areas and three or four times I played full iron shots onto the green in the air.
The Coachella Valley Canal began on hole 10 and ran through parts of the back nine coming into play a number of times. It was a beautiful feature to look at as it was concrete lined and was full with an almost swimming pool like coloured water in it.
One single but daunting bunker guards the straight Par 4 16th
Manicured tee boxes, greens and fairways, as well as a diverse blend of holes, made this one of the most outstanding golf courses I have ever played. The par threes were all really fun to play the par fours of various lengths, even a couple that you could drive with a bomb, and some very tasty par fives. SilverRock yielded me another birdie on the back nine making this the first multiple birdie course I have played during this trip. Myra herself negotiated the stunning par 3 8th hole perfectly and rolled a nice 15 foot downhiller in for a par.
With a stream bisecting the fairway and extensive bunkers, the Par 5 home hole awaits
Apart from a three hole stretch which was a bit of a score wrecker, my 39 on the front as well as some very crisp shots and that remarkable par by Myra made this a birthday to remember. My reward for the two birdie day was to head into the pro shop and pick out something that Myra was going to treat me to. I scored a cool looking SilverRock logo hat and a pitch mark repair tool to add to my rather extensive collection, all with the assistance of Monica and Andrew two really helpful and caring staffers. When we shared the lengthy list of courses that we were here to review with Andrew and Monica, Andrew asked me what was my favourite so far. I said it really wasn’t fair to pick a single favourite as many of the courses we played have been very enjoyable and rewarding to play. Let’s just say I have played golf in over 16 countries globally and numerous top 100 courses around the world. SilverRock Resort fits right in with the pedigree of some of those outstanding courses which includes Wentworth, Royal Troon, Royal Melbourne and Pumpkin Ridge to name a few. Put this one high on your “must play”list.
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.