1. roarksown1 Posted: 12/04/18 9:42p Member Since: Jan 6, 2013 From: Playa del Rey
Day Three of our annual desert trip was a journey to golf heaven. The Palms Golf Club of La Quinta is everything you imagine a PGA tour quality course to be when you're stuck in a divot surrounded by ... Continue »
Day Three of our annual desert trip was a journey to golf heaven. The Palms Golf Club of La Quinta is everything you imagine a PGA tour quality course to be when you're stuck in a divot surrounded by brown and thin at Dad Miller.
It's such a rare treat to experience a place like this, and, being private, taking your time to stop and gawk at the roses is not on the cards. The enforced POP here is 3:50 and deviations are not tolerated. You take it all in while moving as purposefully as possible, and of course in between all this visual distraction, you're supposed to concentrate and play golf (which I sadly did an incredibly poor job of on the worst possible day).
If I'm not mistaken, this is a Freddy Couples design and he actually had a small house right next to the 15th tee box which was cool to see. Apparently he would just jump on whenever he felt the desire after riding his bike over to the clubhouse.
Describing The Palms is fairly straightforward. Fairways are lined almost exclusively (save a few of the first three or four holes) with rows of perfectly coiffed palm trees that create some stunning shadow tricks. Everything at ground level is that dreamy dark green stuff that goes on forever. The course's main defense is length (we played the blue tees), but on the shorter holes there's no shortage of thick foliage mixed strategically amongst the palm trees, and of course glassy, super fast greens and a big selection of bunkers to force uncomfortable angles. Add to that a few well hidden water features to torment you on select holes, and you get the picture.
The routing and finding the next hole here can be a bit of a puzzle as there are no real cart paths and no tee box markers. The members simply know where to go so it's an adventure if you're not one and used to it. There are some 'gates' that help guide the way though or it would be pretty much hit and hope at that point.
But yes, all conditions were perfect and I felt incredibly lucky to be able to experience that level of quality. Fairways and quite penal rough were thick, lush and consistent on every inch of the property. Bunkers had very good sand in them that maybe could be a tad bit fluffier if there's any possible knock at all today (which there really isn't). Tee boxes immaculate. Greens running about a 12 and very tough to hit the brakes on with anything less than a perfect pitch or chip. Very subtle breaks everywhere but magnified by the speed and very easy to misread. False fronts on many holes as well.
This is a golf club and that's pretty much it. You'll need to go elsewhere if you want to join a club that has swimming pools and tennis courts for the kids. The clubhouse is nice but nothing super fancy - very unassuming and unpretentious. It's all about the golf here and there's simply nothing wrong with that in the least. Even the carts are very basic - no GPS here and no frills like USB ports or speakers. No time for distraction here - get moving! I did however still sneak in pics of all 18 holes that I will upload to the site later.
Staff was also incredibly nice and took amazing care of us despite not being members. My only regret is of course a horrible round of golf personally, but that memory will long be overshadowed by having the good fortune of spending a gorgeous early winter day at The Palms.
2. sixpez Posted: 06/03/16 11:03a Member Since: Oct 16, 2003 From: Irvine
It just so happened that a player in my foursome at La Quinta CC was a member at The Palms. Naturally, I was extra nice to her to try and work an invite. Instead, she called over to the club after the... Continue »
It just so happened that a player in my foursome at La Quinta CC was a member at The Palms. Naturally, I was extra nice to her to try and work an invite. Instead, she called over to the club after the round and vouched for me, so they said I could come out. Summer guest rate was just $50 and I zipped around the course in a little over 2 hours. It was well over 100 degrees and the breeze had completely died down by the time I finished, so there weren't many players out there.
Though the course played nicely, it's not the ideal time of year to play here. Things are just starting to dry out and brown up a little bit, so the course isn't looking nearly as pretty as I'm sure it does in peak season. It's kind of a different style out here with more of a sprawling, semi-links layout from Fred Couples and Brian Curley, so it would be nice to see it when the sightlines are more clear and everything is more defined visually.
Still, it played well. The tee boxes were good and the fairways were always nice to hit from with tight-ish lies. The rough was dry and cut down, so the ball sat up nicely. Bunkers were excellent. The only issue was the greens because they were aerated recently (probably within a week or two). They were slow, sandy and bumpy. In another few weeks they will be nicer and my rating would certainly be higher.
I enjoyed the layout as something a little different in the desert. It was forgiving off the tee, but rather difficult on approaches and around the greens. There are a ton of palm trees throughout the course (especially on the back nine). Some sections just have rows and rows of trees planted like some kind of palm orchard, which offers kind of a cool look. There are many different types of palms and I would be curious to know how many are actually on the property. Would love another chance to play here in the peak season someday because I'm sure the course looks more striking and the layout shows better. As a guest by myself, I got lost in the routing several times. Nothing is marked, the cart paths are minimal and there are several intersections that are very confusing. I often had to compare the yardage plates on the tee boxes with the scorecard to make sure I was on the proper hole.