Although Mother Nature did not cooperate with us on Monday the seven holes we managed to get in was a nice little teaser. Wednesday was a completely different day. There was not a breath of wind the entire round or any clouds to speak of clear, bright, blue sunny skies and a very comfortable +18 Celsius.
We knew what to expect at this very well run 36 hole facility. The same fleet footed crew of guys at the bag drop greeted us again even remembering we had been there a couple of days before.
A great starting Par 4 hole
It is a very short and convenient walk from dropping off your clubs to you parking your vehicle. By the time you enter the pro shop and check in you look down toward to the cart area below to see your clubs already placed on a power cart for you to head onward to the practice area.
A short ride on the cart takes you to a double ended driving range complete with target greens, separate bunker and pitching area and also a huge well manicured practice putting green. We were again playing the North Course and upon arrival at the first tee the starter said that our happy twosome would now be part of an even happier foursome. It was another all Canadian day as the two gentlemen, Scott and John, both resided in the greater Vancouver area and knew our home area on Vancouver Island very well.
The par 4 9th, long and tough
The North Course is an outstanding and very exciting layout to play. It possesses huge undulating greens, some of them are quite elevated with run off areas around all sides. They are super fast and if you are not careful and get a little too greedy you can easily watch your ball slowly disappear off the green and down into one of the collection areas. Some of the fringe areas off the green are very tightly mowed and all of us opted to use the putter quite often, with much success.
A great Par 5 to start the back nine
With the fairways being over seeded and bright green and the Bermuda grass very dormant knowing where to aim off the tee was quite easy. Large white posts in the centre of each fairway were very good aiming points and a definite target for setting up your approach shot.
Approach shot view to the 10th green
One aspect of the layout that I appreciated was that the off course rough areas were completely untouched. The North Course starts out with a great uphill par four and meanders up and down rising to a very high point of land at the spectacular short par 3 7th. From here you can see the entire Coachella Valley, the view is absolutely awesome.
It was on this hole that John, a native New Zealander made the first of two very impressive “deuces”. He equalled that feat on the back nine when he made another two on the island green par 3 15th hole.
The recent snow added to the incredible site on this hole
It is very easy to see why some 15 years ago or so when this was formally known as The Landmark, it hosted three consecutive years of The Skins Game. A trophy cabinet in the spacious clubhouse contains the photos and winning amounts for each player in those three skins games, very cool to see.
Short but tight the Par 4 14th dog leg right
If I wasn’t playing the course I would have been equally as rewarded in just taking my camera and clicking hundreds of shots from various angles.
Adjoining the pro shop is the restaurant and bar area which is completely surrounded by glass giving the patrons one heck of a dynamic view of the course.
With a fair mix of water hazards, waste bunkers and thick bush and shrub areas it is certainly a thinkers golf course.
The island green on 15, worth the green fee just to play this hole
It is also very good value for money. It is clean and tidy, but not overly glitzy which indicates to me that the money is well spent on maintaining the course to such a high-level.
Our host, Mr. Neil Sauer, Assistant General Manager is part of a very well-run and really remarkable 36 hole golf course. The guys in the cart and bag drop area, the starters, the pro shop service staff and the often overlooked heroes working out on the course itself are a formidable team.
If your day at Terra Lago includes a calm, clear, sunny day like ours then you too will appreciate this desert gem like we did.
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.