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Last Updated: August 10, 2018
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Mark's Golf Course Reviews
Waited until the last second to decide if and where to play today, and ultimately couldn’t resist a last-minute (after-midnight booking) tee time at 8... » More
Waited until the last second to decide if and where to play today, and ultimately couldn’t resist a last-minute (after-midnight booking) tee time at 8:40 this morning for about $38 ($45 minus 15% off promo code) on TeeOff.com. Arrived around 8:10 and the course was far less busy than I expected. Only the North & West nines are open. Looks like they didn’t overseed the South this year, or maybe just recently did so. A twosome headed off before me, and I played by myself. I have often jokingly said I think you should get one free stroke on every hole that you “play through” another group, and today I would’ve received three free strokes from that twosome ahead. They waved me up on my approach to 2, but then after I hit they putted out and went and hit their drives on 3. Then I rushed over and hit my tee shot on 3 before driving ahead and finishing the hole. But then one of them sprayed their approach over on the 4th tee and so I felt hurried again, and dunked my tee shot on a watery par 3. Anyway, was happy to play through and finished the front nine in a little over an hour. Back nine was slower but overall POP was outstanding at 2:47.
Conditions are really great! The greens are just about perfect: Smooth, medium-fast, accepting of full shots and very few blemishes. Fairways are lush with great coverage and attractive mowing lines. The rough varies from lush rye on some holes to a mix of rye and dormant bermuda on others. The bermuda is a little thin but the rye rough is great. Black tee boxes were mostly good; some of them are a little small (Black tees almost seem like an afterthought or were maybe added later here) so some of them had lots of divot damage because there’s not much room to move the markers around. Still good, though. Bunkers were not all that well maintained (no rakes) but played really good anyway, filled with sufficient sand.
When this course is in really nice shape like this, I enjoy it quite a bit. It has some nice elevation changes that you don’t often find on some of comparable “resort courses” around the Valley. It’s not very long at all (except the 645-yard par 5 on the West nine), but it requires you to think your way around and rewards players who can move the ball both ways. On that note, the GPS seemed a little weird. Either it was wrong or the yardages on the scorecard are wrong on some holes. Some of the par 4s listed as in the 330-340 range on the card said only like 310 on the GPS, and it wasn’t like the tees were moved up. GPS said the 645-yard par 5 was only about 610. Pro shop staff and starter were very friendly. Overall a lot of fun and a ridiculous value for this time of year at the rate I got.» Close
Played here today with an 11:33 TeeOff.com “Deal” time for a great price of around $77 after 20% promo code. Hard to beat for a course that’s hosting ... » More
Played here today with an 11:33 TeeOff.com “Deal” time for a great price of around $77 after 20% promo code. Hard to beat for a course that’s hosting the PGA Tour in two and a half weeks. (More on that in a minute.) Started right on time, got paired with an old guy who has been a PGA West member for 23 years, and then a guy from L.A. playing with his young son (and had an even younger son riding along with them). So we teed off and as we were waiting to hit our approaches to No. 1, the starter drove out and yelled to us that holes one and nine were cart path only. No problem, although we weren’t notified beforehand. Here’s the weird part: I never saw the guy who was a member again. One of the young kids said they saw him driving back toward the tee, but he didn’t say goodbye or anything, just bailed on us halfway through the first hole. I’m not sure if he was mad at the starter for sort of “yelling” at him, or didn’t want to play with young kids in the group, or didn’t feel well all of a sudden, or what? Anyway, the other guy and I didn’t let it faze us, and we soldiered on. Overall pace was good, finishing in just a little over four hours. Sometimes we were a little slow (understandable with a young kid playing one of the hardest courses in the world) and other times we were waiting on the group ahead of us. Group behind us seemed to always be just far enough back that they didn’t have to wait. Weather was absolutely perfect, beautiful and comfortable all day, blue skies and little/no wind.
Anyway, onto conditions. First of all, the course looks absolutely gorgeous right now, and I’d seen lots of 5-star reviews on GolfAdvisor leading up to this round. And here’s where things get tricky, ratings-wise. When you get on top of the fairways and greens, there are quite a few thin spots. Don’t get me wrong… there are also super-lush areas that you’d expect with the Tour arriving shortly. And for the most part, the course is in great condition. Just not consistently “Tour quality.” Especially on the front nine, many greens seemed very thin and even had some bare spots around the edges. I also found the greens really difficult to read today. They were mostly smooth, medium/medium-fast speed, and medium firmness. I’m frankly surprised they’re letting the public play on them when the world’s eyes will be on them in a couple weeks. Fairways were deep green lush rye, but did have some thin spots and muddy spots here and there. The rough is mostly dormant bermuda but there is some rye rough around some greens. Blue tee boxes were good; a couple were moved up in to keep the “pro tees” pristine in advance of the tourney, but not to a ridiculous degree. A few tee boxes also had large coverings in spots to keep things pure as well. All the bunkers I was in were good; no rakes.
First time I’ve stayed dry on 17! But… I still missed the green. I was in a little patch of rough on the far left edge of the island. Also first time I was ever down in the greenside bunker on San Andreas… hit a fantastic bunker shot to about 8 feet on my first try, but missed the par putt. Overall I had a great time and I’m sure it will add enjoyment to watching the American Express tourney when it arrives. Highly recommended at the rate I got.» Close
Played the FRONT NINE ONLY of the Cove course after we finished Classic today. We started around 3:55, so we were flying around trying to play as many... » More
Played the FRONT NINE ONLY of the Cove course after we finished Classic today. We started around 3:55, so we were flying around trying to play as many holes as possible. We caught a threesome ahead on one hole, but they quickly let us play through. Then on another hole someone was seemingly practicing putting on the green for a few minutes before they noticed we were on the tee. Finished nine holes in probably a little under an hour. We still had enough sunlight to probably play at least 3 or 4 more holes, but didn’t want to press our luck with having the carts out too late as grateful guests invited to play more after our first 18 of the day.
Conditions were very similar, although it seemed some of the rough on Cove wasn’t overseeded quite the same as on Classic. I saw some dappled yellow spots here and there. Otherwise, medium-fast, smooth, firm greens (although accepting of full shots). Fairways great. Tee boxes and bunkers both very good.
While the Classic course has more history, the Cove course (at least the front nine) is arguably more fun, with wider fairways, a more modern look, and beautiful mountain backdrops on many holes. (Classic mostly looks like a 50s/60s Palm Springs course, while Cove looks like an 80s/90s Palm Springs course.) I’m anxious to play the back nine sometime!» Close
Got an invite from a friend to play out here at 12:00 today, Sunday 12/27. Worked out perfectly as I was sitting on 299 different lifetime courses, so... » More
Got an invite from a friend to play out here at 12:00 today, Sunday 12/27. Worked out perfectly as I was sitting on 299 different lifetime courses, so getting to play such a historic private club and former PGA Tour venue for No. 300 was awesome! We started right on time and were sent out just as the two of us, following a walking threesome and with two single riders immediately behind us. The club puts an emphasis on fast play, and even though we were waiting on the group ahead, we definitely felt pressure from the twosome behind us as we both wanted to relish the experience a bit and take lots of photos. Things worked out when the twosome behind us decided to jump over to the Cove course after the par-5 5th. Even with lots of waiting on the group ahead of us, POP was great at about 3:45. (And quick enough that we got offered the opportunity to keep playing on Cove. I’ll write a separate review for that.) Saw the beverage cart twice. Even the attendant stressed fast play, as she encouraged us to continue playing while she made our Bloody Marys and drove to catch up with us when she finished. Marshal came by every few holes as well.
Conditions are fantastic. Everything is deep green with really good coverage. Nothing was quite immaculate, but 8s and 9s across the board. Greens were smooth, medium-fast and pretty firm. A few blemishes here and there, but mostly great. Fairways were lush, cut short with good coverage, and never had to think twice about any lies. Rough was even more lush and not too deep, maybe two inches at the most. Tee boxes were all good. I was in a bunch of bunkers and they were all pretty consistent with a firm base (not hardpan, though) and sufficient sand on top to play shots accurately. No rakes due to covid, but it’s obvious they are grooming the bunkers daily as they all looked really nice.
The layout shares similarities with many Coachella Valley courses such as palm-lined narrow fairways, occasionally playing through the flood channel/wash, and desert homes lining the edges and bringing OB into play. Then there are a few holes – 3, 4, 5, & 18 – that play right against the Santa Rosa mountains and are clearly a step up from the rest. I loved those holes, especially the 5th and 18th, both of which are excellent and beautiful par 5s. The only minor bummer of the day was that the sun never fully emerged from behind pretty thick cloud cover, stifling the course’s beauty just a bit. Overall it was a fantastic experience, and felt great to notch off because I was supposed to play here back in March, but my tee time at that point was the first weekend of the Riverside County covid golf shutdown.
If you ever get a chance to play here, make sure to take advantage of it!» Close
Played here today with an 11:51 “Deal” time from TeeOff.com for a great deal of about $53 after 20% off promo code. Check in went smooth and the start... » More
Played here today with an 11:51 “Deal” time from TeeOff.com for a great deal of about $53 after 20% off promo code. Check in went smooth and the starter informed me I would be playing by myself, wedged between some foursomes. That was fine with me; no need to worry about Covid from a stranger, and I could take all the pictures I wanted. (Although cloudy skies all day didn’t make for the best picture taking. By the time I finished, the cloud cover was very thick, making it almost dark at 3:45. Then it started raining on my drive home.) POP was moving along fine, and then the foursome in front of me asked me to play through on No. 8. By the time I got to the 10th, there was another foursome on the green ahead of me, but I was fine just relishing the back nine on one of my favorite courses, so I just laid back a bit and tried not to pressure them at all. Total round was a little under 4:00.
Conditions are pretty good, and probably a little better than Dunes, which I played a few days ago. Greens are good, mostly smooth (16 had tons of ball marks), medium-fast and accepting of full shots. I don’t remember which holes, but I did notice a few bare spots around the edges of some greens. It seems this course always has certain greens that aren't quite pristine. It’s weird to me that a course of this caliber and reputation can’t get things like that under control when other high-end desert courses can present near-immaculate conditions this time of year. Fairways were mostly lush and had good coverage. If there was a downside, it seemed that quite a few front nine fairways were quite wet and even muddy in areas. The rough on Mountain is lush overseeded rye (as opposed to dormant bermuda on Dunes) and pretty easy to hit out of, maybe two inches deep at most. There are some of the deep, nasty grasses if you get too far offline, which killed my score on No. 17. Avoid those areas at all costs! I think I was only in one bunker and it was good quality sand. Tee boxes were good. Also there’s an abundance of coots around the water features on the front nine.
Highly recommended at the price I got. If paying full rack rate, you might be let down by the conditions, but in my mind the layout here never disappoints. One of my top 10 favorite courses and it was nice to play it in lush winter conditions (Seems like I usually play it in summer.) Merry Christmas all!» Close
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