The Classic Club in Palm Desert, California, is a recognized Arnold Palmer-designed championship course. It has frequently been a host site of the former Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and has been listed by Golfweek as one of the Best Courses in California to play. An abundance of pine trees and pine straw are unusual for a desert course. A profusion of water features navigated by fourteen bridges combined with wide landing areas makes this a fun yet challenging course to play.
A three-story 63,000 square foot Tuscan Village inspired clubhouse is impressive. Each greens fee comes with a $15 food/beverage voucher for the day, along with a logo golf towel. The service is excellent. You’ll love the practice facility. It includes a superb two-acre teeing ground coupled with chipping greens, a bunker, and very large putting greens that are consistent with the course conditions.
They maintain the course to a high standard. The popular greenskeeper.org site ranked The Classic Club as the Best Golf Course Playing Conditions in Southern California. It’s tough to get a poor lie. Even the par 3s teeing grounds are pristine and not torn up. The fairways are just right, making good contact easier for players of all abilities. The rough is thick and maintained but not punishing.
It’s important to define and hit a target line for both the tee shot and the approach shot. A steady wind funneling though the mountains along Interstate 10 can complicate the decision. Although the fairways are generous, it’s best to be in the right position in the fairway given the plethora of dog-legs in both directions. Approaches to most greens are challenging, as misses in the wrong place can be deadly. Water comes into play on tee shots, par 5 layup shots, and approach shots. The greens are outstanding. They are not rock hard with good shots stopping, but hard enough to allow for some roll-out. The speed, undulations, and pin placements make for some treacherous putts if you above or to the wrong side of the hole. The well-groomed bunkers are firm for a desert course. This is the hardest part of this course. It’s easy to “hit it thin” with a high bounce wedge if you open the face too much. It’s worth practicing in the bunker area before the round to get a feel for the sand and pick your best wedge/bounce for these course conditions.
The course is one of the few desert courses located north of the Interstate Highway 10 freeway in the Coachella Valley. Hence, higher winds are common than at the courses fifteen miles south near State Highway 111 and the Santa Rosa Mountains. However, given its unusual design for the desert and impeccable conditioning, this is the one to play near the Interstate Highway 10 corridor.
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