Best Golf Courses in the Palm Springs Area

Best Golf Courses in the Palm Springs Area

Picture of Robert Kaufman

Robert Kaufman

Robert Kaufman is an internationally published golf & travel writer and award-winning photographer with an observant eye and insightful journalistic style that has guided him around the world, including all 50 states...and playing golf in 24 countries! During his entrepreneurial career, Robert founded Northern California’s first monthly golf publication and was instrumental in directing Visit California’s golf marketing initiative to raise global awareness for the state as a top-tier golf destination. His work can be viewed at Picture PARfect.

From the air, the Coachella Valley resembles a jigsaw puzzle consisting of more than 2,000 grassy configurations. Put them all together and that number represents the staggering sum of fairways and greens in this California desert playground where the sun shines all day and the stars sparkle all night. Deciding which pieces of the golf maze to play can be a difficult task and then add to that the vast collection of overnight accommodations as your home away from home. Yes, planning a golf getaway to this renowned golf destination can sometimes be intimidating, but well worth the green fee. Here are the best golf courses in the Greater Palm Springs Area.

Feature Photo: Indian Wells Golf Resort by Robert Kaufman
A wide golfing green and pond as seen from above at Classic Club
Photo: Courtesy of Classic Club

Classic Club


This former host site (2006-08) to the PGA Tours Bob Hope Chrysler Classic features rolling terrain accented by a core design with pine, olive and pepperwood trees, offset by flowering bushes, shrubs and pine straw ground cover. Despite its desert location with surrounding mountains and vistas of the Coachella Valley, the 7,305-yard Arnold Palmer-designed layout alongside a 63,000-square-foot Tuscan Village-inspired clubhouse does not have the feel of a desert track given the multitude of trees and water on many holes.

Two decorative fountains spew water in front of Golf Desert Springs' pool and golfing green
Photo: Courtesy of Desert Springs Resort

Desert Springs Resort


The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa is home to two Ted Robinson-designed 18-hole championship golf courses framed by the Santa Rosa Mountains. The Palm (6,761 yards) and Valley (6,627 yards) golf courses feature 35 acres of shimmering streams, lakes and waterfalls, as well as pot bunkers and large, sweeping sand traps. Also onsite is an 18-hole all-natural turf putting course, complete with contoured fairways, sand traps, lakes, streams and waterfalls.

Desert Willow golf course's sand pits in front of palm trees and mountains
Photo: Robert Kaufman

Desert Willow Golf Resort


Two of Coachella Valleys premium courses, designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, test golfers skills with a desert experience beginning with a mile-long approach through a beautifully manicured landscape setting the stage for what is about to unfold. The 7,056-yard Firecliff course, which is more challenging, requires golfers negotiate their way around extensive natural areas, numerous water features and more than 100 bunkers. The 6,913-yard Mountain View course was designed with more forgiving fairways and limited desert waste area.

A flag is planted in a golf hole at Golf Escena in Palm Springs
Photo: Courtesy of Escena Golf Club

Escena Golf Club


Bordering the towering San Jacinto Mountains, this Nicklaus Design golf course is noted for its unobstructed sightlines, generous driving corridors accentuated by palm trees, native desert landscaping, strategically-placed bunkers and dramatic waterscapes. As you wind your way through this stunning oasis with back tees stretching to nearly 7,200 yards, Escena offers four sets of tees offering a formidable test for players of all skill levels.

Photo: Robert Kaufman

Indian Wells Golf Resort


This 36-hole resort, consisting of the John Fought-designed Players Course (7,376 yards) and the Clive Clark-designed Celebrity Course (7,050 yards), showcases two courses ranked in GolfweeksTop 20 Public Access Courses.” Different in design but similar in character, both layouts share jaw-dropping views for golfers and those who watched the 15th season of Golf Channels Big Break.” Also on property is a 53,000-square-foot clubhouse and Shots In The Night featuring an after-dark putting experience and Glow Golf Range.

Photo: Robert Kaufman

Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort & Club


Part of the PGA WEST collection, The Mountain Course (1981), nestled at the base of the picturesque Santa Rosa Mountains, is famed for its Pete Dye design, playability and stunning visuals. This 6,666-yard course features pot bunkers, rock formations and well-bunkered greens. From the top of the elevated tee box of the signature 16th hole, golfers are treated to a majestic panoramic view of the course, named one of Golf Magazines Top 100 You Can Play.”

Photo: Courtesy of Pete Dye Resort Course

Pete Dye Resort Course


Located at Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa, the Pete Dye Resort Course has been described by some as potentially diabolical, yet indescribably playable.” Ranked by Golf Digest as one of the Top 50 Golf Resorts in North America,” the 6,706-yard layout is set among beautiful rolling hills with spectacular sights of the surrounding desert mountains and Dyes legendary trademark carries over water.

Palm Springs PGA West
Photo: Robert Kaufman

Stadium Course at PGA West


Of the 109 holes of championship golf on six legendary courses at PGA West, the Stadium Course (1986) is, typically, top of mind. Designed by Pete Dye as one the toughest golf challenges in the world, the 7,300-yard layout hosts the PGA Tour “Q-School” Finals every other year. Golfer’s must navigate the island green of hole #17, known as Alcatraz” and the menacing water-lined 18th as they end their golfing journey.

Photo: Courtesy of SilverRock Resort

SilverRock Resort


The quintessential desert resort golf experience and the City of La Quintas first municipal course, SilverRock Resort is a challenging 7,239 yards sprawling over 200 acres with massive native bunkers and stunning water features. The Arnold Palmer design, set against the backdrop and natural beauty of the Santa Rosa Mountains, is a former host course of the PGA TOURs Bob Hope Classic from 2008 to 2011.

Tahquitz Creek golf course is among the best golf courses in Palm Springs
Photo: Courtesy of Tahquitz Creek Resort Course

Tahquitz Creek Resort Course


Within ten minutes from Palm Springs International Airport and downtown night life and hotels in Palm Springs, Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort offers two championship golf courses with the San Jacinto Mountain as a backdrop. The Resort Course, at 6,705 yards is a classic Ted Robinson-designed links-style course with beautiful waterscapes and undulated greens. The 6,815-yard Legend Course features a more traditional style golf course with tree-lined fairways designed by William F. Bell.

Looking for more places golf in California?

Visit our best of the Bay Area, Tahoe, Central Coast and San Diego golfing pages!

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