Challenge yourself on these holes
From big and burly to short and strategic, from professional tests to duffer dares, the 120-course bounty of golf courses in Greater Palm Springs offers no shortage of challenges.
Amid this golf oasis, a checklist of SoCal's most stated, singular trials await the most driven of players.
For valley visitors and desert locals alike, here are 10 public golf holes that are certain to try the scorecards of golfers, ranging from the world's best players to avid amateurs.
17th Hole | Stadium Course, PGA WEST
The most famed hole on the desert's toughest public play, the par-3 17th at The Stadium Course at PGA WEST has fast proven a rite of champion's passage since Pete Dye's infamous design re-entered the CareerBuilder Challenge rota in 2015. Playing at just 168 downhill yards from the tips, the daunting island green of "Alcatraz" is pure prison for those searching for lofted iron confidence on the Stadium's penultimate hole.
18th Hole | Marriott Shadow Ridge Golf Club
The final test on Nick Faldo's debut domestic design proves a championship challenge worthy of the six-time major winner. A test of both length and accuracy, the par-4 18th hole at Marriott's Shadow Ridge Golf Club has spoiled its share of good scorecards rounding home. Tracking at 446 yards with a creek holding the left side of the fairway before fronting the green, many players feel content with a prudent approach en route to a final hole bogey.
5th Hole | Players Course, Indian Wells Golf Resort
In the midst of a trio of tough par 4s at the Indian Wells Golf Resort's Players Course, the top-handicapped, 469-yard 5th sports intimidating barranca along the entire right side of the hole and lake water to the left. For those in good shape with a strong tee play, a demanding second shot awaits, with an approach to a well-guarded, elevated green.
9th Hole | Classic Club
Known as "Black Diamond," the par-5 9th hole at Classic Club may not necessarily shine on the scorecard. Tracking at 595 yards from the tips, tree trouble lurks right while bombers need be mindful of lake water deep left. And even for those in fine position with a primo drive or well-studied layup, the elevated putting surface intimidates with a rocky creek fronting and limited bailout options.
1st Hole | Escena Golf Club
An opening hole par 5 isn't a total rarity. A top-handicapped opening hole par 5? Yeah, not seen too often. While gorgeous in setting with mountain backdrops, the 611-yard par-5 1st at Escena Golf Club in Palm Springs may not prove so pretty a start for those toying with the ample desert waste lining either side of the fairway.
9th Hole | Gary Player Signature Course, The Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa
Labeled "The Black Knight," the grueling, 447-yard par-4 9th at Westin Mission Hills' Gary Player Signature Course is not a task for the timid. Golfers will need to match Player's luminary fitness to survive a front side final test featuring water along the entirety of the left side of both the fairway and putting surface.
17th Hole | The Golf Club at La Quinta
One-time host to the former Skins Game, The Golf Club at La Quinta finds a stated signature in the 206-yard par-3 17th. With a tee shot sporting all carry to the green over water, players can find mini bail-out to the right in an effort to avoid a deposit in the drink.
15th Hole | Tournament Course, PGA WEST
While PGA Tour pros strike with aplomb at PGA WEST's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, most amateurs need not attempt a "CareerBuilding" effort at the par-5 15th. Getable off the tee and agreeable for studied lay-ups, the hole's bunker-laden island green proves a bear to hold for those lacking confidence in wedge play.
17th Hole | Firecliff Course, Desert Willow Golf Resort
An awesome path of desert-scaping nears conclusion at the 17th hole at Desert Willow Golf Resort's Firecliff Course. For those surviving the track's series of forced carries, a potential card-killer lurks in this 204-yarder featuring water and dune bunkering all along the right side of the lengthy play.
12th Hole | Classic Course, SilverRock Resort
An exciting debut awaits the east end of the valley as SilverRock Resort in La Quinta concludes a back nine realignment and redesign project in the fall of 2017. Host to the PGA Tour's former Bob Hope Classic (now the CareerBuilder Challenge) from 2008-11, the Arnold Palmer-designed grounds are enjoying a $420 million property development overhaul. Among the reworked, latter side layout, SilverRock will unveil a brand new par-5 12th hole. Formerly the par-4 13th, the burly, new 12th will stretch to nearly 600 yards from the elevated, back tees and require players from the tips to carry 270 yards of water just to find the fairway. Guests will no doubt revel in the new play, but, hey, is there anything tougher in golf than the unknown?
Looking for more challenges? Check out all of our golf courses in Greater Palm Springs.