Some courses are noteworthy for incredible vistas of distant mountains. Others incorporate mountains into hole architecture. Nowhere is this more striking than at the La Quinta Mountain course, the premier track at La Quinta Resort. With 124 golf courses, Coachella Valley is a 40 mile desert valley in Southern California bounded on the west by the San Jacinto Mountains and the Santa Rosa Mountains.
Rising only 1000-1500 feet, the terrain is rocky and rugged.
Courses along the Santa Rosa Mountains boast sensational hole layouts that integrate with the mountain landscape. This prime property often belongs to private clubs such as the Canyons at Bighorn, the Reserve Club, El Dorado Club, and Indian Wells Country Club. Fortunately, two resorts, the Waldorf-Astoria La Quinta Resort and its sister property, PGA West, have public access.
Crafted from over 100,000 adobe bricks and 60,000 roof tile, La Quinta Resort was born in 1926. Providing privacy, luxury and exquisite service, it quickly became a retreat for the Hollywood elite. Forty-one cozy casitas surround the original buildings integrated with forty intimate swimming pools scattered throughout the 45-acre complex. Today, we enjoy the quiet, classy understated elegance as it remains our favorite spot for a premier golfing retreat.
Hilton manages the resort under the Waldorf-Astoria brand.
Five Public Access courses
Guests enjoy five public golf courses with a complete array of accommodation and activity options. Two courses, the Mountain Course and the Dunes Course, next to the resort complex provide public guest tee times. Six miles to the southeast, PGA West sports three additional public access tracks. Known as the Western Home of Golf, PGA West hosts the annual Career Builder Challenge on the PGA Tour. See our profiles of the Norman Course and the Nicklaus Tournament course.
Members of La Quinta or PGA West also have access to four additional private courses. The Citrus course near the resort and the Weiskopf, Nicklaus Private and Palmer courses at PGA West bring the total course menu to nine.
La Quinta Resort and PGA West provide a rich set of golfing package options as they have the same owner. Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, purchased the properties from the sovereign fund of Singapore in 2018.
La Quinta Mountain Course
A short walking distance from the main lodge, both the La Quinta Mountain and Dunes courses, combine rugged mountain scenery and challenging golf. Routing six holes along the Santa Rosa Mountains, architect Pete Dye incorporates rugged rocky slopes, making an otherwise average desert resort course into a visual splendor. It’s not long, playing 6666 yards from the Black tees and 6280 yards from the White tees. But we found misses on these six holes bring severe penalty. Four to eight foot mounds line many of the fairways giving you some interesting lies on only errant tee shots.
The Mountain Holes
Playing in the late afternoon/early evening we found immense solitude when playing holes, 4-5-6 and 15-16-17, that travel along the Santa Rosa mountains. There were no sounds of humanity.
After three holes that head out from the clubhouse, holes four, five and six play along the mountain. Then you pivot back to the clubhouse. Hole four is a 494-yard par 5 with massive waste bunkers along the left side separating you and the rugged mountain terrain. They tuck an eerily quiet green into a little cove. Hole five is a 151-yard par 3 surrounded by steep rock terrain wrapping from left around the entire rear of the green. Hole six is a 352-yard par 4 with the water right, followed by sweeping mountain vistas behind a plateaued green.
Winding through homes, holes ten through fourteen returns you to the intimacy of the mountains. Hole fifteen is a 502-yard par 5 with the mountain running down the right side. The approach turns right to an elevated green again tucked against rocky outcroppings. A 100-yard bunker runs right and behind the green.
Hole sixteen is our favorite and the signature hole. A 157-yard par 3 (white) begins with an elevated tee with views for miles of the resort, the valley and the mountains. A narrow green is an island in a sea of rock. A large bunker left is the only legitimate spot for an up/down for your errant shot. We love this daunting shot with a postcard view. You finish the “Mountain Six” on seventeen, a long 403-yard par 4 with an immense waste bunker along the left side that doubles as a cart path.
Good conditioning of the Dunes and Mountain courses but not as immaculate as those at the sister properties at PGA West. The scenery and solitude make the La Quinta Mountain course is a superb start to a La Quinta/PGA West golf trip.
Explore other California golf courses from Quintessential Golf Magazine.