Over the last couple of weeks of playing here, we have driven past Heritage Palms Golf Club numerous times on our way to and from other golf courses.
We could only get a glimpse at a fairway or two, but each time we looked at each other and excitedly said “Oh that looks really nice”.
On our daily visits to the PGA Superstore in Palm Desert, we would also update the team there on where we were playing the following day. When we told them we were playing Heritage Palms the response was unanimous in that we would really like this course and facility.
A separate dedicated chipping and bunker practice area
That was a huge understatement. The purpose of our review trip was not to select any single course as being better than the other. All of the ones we played have had unique features and aspects that make them very worthwhile in playing. Honestly though, the conditions at Heritage Palms Golf Club were exemplary and of all the courses we have visited the attention to detail and course conditions are at the top of our list.
Austin chips up to the flag on the 10th green while Don looks on
Our day here included the first course that employed a dual shotgun start system one at 8 AM the second at 12:30 PM. We were in the afternoon session. We found every aspect of our round at Heritage Palms to flow very smoothly. We appreciated being able to take the power cart right to our vehicle to load and unload our clubs and gear. Director of Golf, Gordon Leith, welcomed us and also introduced us to Nancy who was working alongside him in the pro shop. He personally walked us out to the cart area assigned us a card and gave us an overview of where everything was for us to enjoy. We couldn’t have felt more welcome. He also told us that today we would be joined by a PGA professional Don Littrell and his guest. His guest, Austin Bustemante turned out to be a two handicap player himself, so for Myra and me it was a treat in watching two, very fit, younger guys blast drives of 300 yards all day.
Looking back from the 15th tee to the par 3 14th green
Every aspect of the practice facility was close to the clubhouse making it very convenient to get to the driving range, the two practice putting greens and a separate short game area.
There were a few subtle things about this fantastic operation that stuck out in my mind. Each hitting area on the practice range not only had pyramids of balls, but also an alignment stick mounted in the wooden club stand. The practice chipping and bunker area had a wooden bench with a canopy over it for people to either rest or to wait, perhaps while watching someone practice.
An amazing stand of Palm trees looks over the back of the green
We started off on the Par 5 10th hole and marvelled at the condition of the grass on not only the tee boxes, fairways and greens, but the rough areas where every square inch mowed to a consistent height. Unlike many of the courses down here, there is no dormant Bermuda – it was a sea of lush green grass. The beautiful and well-maintained subdivision of homes that surround many of the holes did not encroach on play as the fairways were generous and wide. Playing with a couple of mid 30s talented golfers like Don and Austin meant I had to really bear down. Don’s eagle attempt on the 10th just slid by and I left a birdie on the lip so at least a par to start was a good omen for me. Myra admittedly is usually a little bit nervous when she starts out, but after a not so bad eight on number 10 she quickly became the star of the show. The downhill par three number 11 awaited her. She proceeded to hit an absolute beauty rolling up to 7 feet from the hole. I left her to her own devices and just stood back and observed her lineup for this rare short birdie chance. A sign on the pro shop door said the greens were stimped at 11 today. Unfazed by the lightning quick greens, she rolled that putt in dead centre like a seasoned LPGA tour veteran. Even Susie Berning, 3 times US Women’s Open champion, whom I had the distinct pleasure of meeting after our round would have been proud.
The spectacular long Par 5 7th beckons those who dare
Don’s comment of “that was as pure a putt as you could make” resonated all day in Myra’s mind. She really got on a roll after that and three holes later on the next par three in front of two other foursomes hit a 7-iron to 6 feet. Not wanting to blast it past the hole, she inched it up close and it sat on the left lip. She proudly tapped in for a par. After six holes, Myra was six over par, playing bogey golf and although she had a little blip on the next two holes she rolled a 20 footer in on nine for bogey to shoot a personal best 52 after 9 holes. She was beaming and I was so proud of her, it was a fantastic feeling for both of us.
I wasn’t on top form, but challenged birdie on the last two out of three holes lipping out on both and the entire day was one of the most pleasurable golfing experiences of our 2 1/2 years golfing together. Both of the guys were so polite and friendly, it certainly made Myra feel at ease which reflected in numerous bogeys as well as those two great par three holes.
It was hard to believe that they put 144 golfers out on the course at 12:30 and at exactly 5 PM we tapped in on our final hole.
Don, who runs a successful golf instruction company and teaches at one of the local courses, joined us for a cold drink on the beautiful patio area.
As the sun sets, long shadows highlight our last hole , the Par 4 9th
Whether it was on the practice range, round the practice greens or out on the course every member we encountered was friendly and jovial. It’s obvious why Heritage Palms with its fabulous clubhouse, restaurant and overall facility is such a popular place for people to reside and socialize.We finished up and went into thank Nancy still busily running the pro shop.
We couldn’t of been more thankful for this absolutely fabulous day. This Arthur Hills designed gem of a golf course, maintained to the highest level of quality by golf superintendent Nathan Glaser and his very capable greens staff, is any golfers dream.
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.