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Good Holiday Ideas | May 22, 2024

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Sunshine mountain golf in winter!

Sunshine mountain golf in winter!
  • On 5 May 2014

If you’re a golfer missing his winter fix then I have the ultimate dream destination – Palm Springs in California, where they have sunny and warm mountain and desert golf year-round.  And I  had the joy of visiting in January when Britain was deluged by floods.

Palm Springs is self-styled Golf Capital of the World and although usually skeptical about such claims,  I began to believe the hype.

It was a balmy 65-70f minimum during the height of the day with  temperatures dropping a trifle in the late afternoon,  but easily warm enough for a fresh-off-the-plane Brit to sit outside with a well-earned post-golf beer watching the sun disappear behind the spectacular backdrop of the San Jacinto mountains.

It is easy to see why Palm Springs and its neighbouring desert cities of Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells and La Quinta are a mecca for visiting ‘snowbirds’ – Canadians who visit in their droves when the weather north of the border is more conducive to skiing than to golf.

The sheer amount of golf in Palm Springs is staggering.  Whilst many of the 115 courses are private and therefore unplayable unless you know a member, there is still a vast array of good courses for the visiting golfer.  I played a round of golf each day for the 6 days of my stay and each course was a picture postcard – desert golf is so totally different from anything in the UK that it took all my will power to concentrate on the golf and not just admire the glorious mountain and desert views as I strolled the vivid green fairways cut through the red rocks and burnt yellow desert scrublands from which they were carved.

As well as beautiful to behold, the courses are also as tough as you want to make them – all six that I played offered a variety of tee boxes, making the courses more playable for golfers of differing abilities. Golf carts are included in the price of your green fee although I preferred to walk, nipping back to the cart only to avail myself of the complimentary bottles of water in the carts’ ice buckets and the bottles of dyed green sand used instead of replacing divots.  Each course also boasted wonderful clubhouse with wide-ranging views and first class facilities including large, well stocked pro shops, restaurants, and sports bars through to fine dining.


January through April is high season and when courses are in their best condition, it is also the time of year when they tend to be at their busiest and green fees reflect this demand.  However, for those golfers willing to play a little earlier in the day or are prepared to hunt around for a bargain on one of the many local discount golf tee times websites, you can still have the golf course pretty much to yourself and at a price that, considering the level of service, quality of courses and scenic beauty is great value for money compared to Britain.


From May to October, daytime temperatures rarely drop below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the snowbirds head home. So stock up on sunscreen and go play.

Jim Odoire was the guest of-

Indian Wells Golf Resort – Both Celebrity and Players courses named top 20 ‘best courses you can play” in California.

Classic Club – Nationally recognized championship course designed by Arnold Palmer, thrice host site of Bob Hope Classic.

Escena Golf Club – Palm Springs’ newest. Nicklaus design championship course stretches to almost 7,200 yards.

Escana Golf Resort

Escana Golf Resort

Desert Willow Golf Resort – Two award-winning championship courses – a true desert golfing experience.

La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA West – Nine courses, the Stadium course rated one of the Top 100 Courses in the World.

La Quinta golf resort

La Quinta golf resort

Silver Rock Resort’s Arnold Palmer Classic Course – A challenging 7,578 yards, sprawling over 200 acres with massive bunkers and stunning water features set against the backdrop of the Santa Rosa Mountains.