Shadow Ridge GC, Palm Desert. Nick Faldo with Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley, 2000.
The primary design theme here is big flashy bunkers, supposedly in the Australian sandbelt style, though that doesn’t totally jibe with the views. The course is really defended at the greens, not just with the sand but because most greens are perched with tricky runoffs to chipping areas. Here it is a good set of option-filled short par fours that make the course. Three, maybe even four, are actually reachable but play differently and present a host of different options in terms of how to attack—the third features a perched green above a deep bunker, the eighth a divided fairway and a green running along a high spine, the 11th a wickedly divided green that may mean coming in with a wedge is the best option, and at the 13th the green is tucked behind an imposing dune.
The watery run of holes at the end are a bit disappointing—they’re fine enough holes but the sudden injection of ponds and fountains, not to mention the condos surrounding them, feels out of place with the rest of the course. Still, this is a course with a ton of interest throughout and on every shot played. If I lived in the area, I imagine I’d play here all the time.
California 2nd Quintile