Celebrity Course

Indian Wells Golf Resort, Indian Wells. Celebrity Course by Clive Clark, 2006.

The flashier of the two Indian Wells courses, this is a tight routing that still manages to stretch over 7,000 yards from the back tees. It also features only two par 3s and two par 5s, though there’s a mix of real half par holes within all those par 4s that helps keep it interesting.

The front nine on the north side of the wash is a solid group of holes, but not likely what you’ll remember. The stretch that will stick is from 12 to the finish. The 12th is one of the few reachable par 4 holes I’ve seen that’s truly drivable for most players from the right tees. Sometimes you see the pros play a par 4 where they can’t hit driver because it’s too much club, but this is the first hole where I recall facing that issue.

There’s a whole lot of trouble guarding #14

Then come the water features. Every hole the rest of the way features water, usually with accompanying waterfall and flower bed. The most memorable is the 14th, which is a bit of an awkward par 5—a long and bold drive can leave you the chance to go for the green in two, but most players are stuck deciding whether they want to play a difficult layup to a peninsula, or leave it in a wider flat spot that leaves a shot of over 150 yards uphill over water.

By the time you get to the last few holes the sudden onslaught of cascading water is almost numbing, if not worse if your ball keeps finding all that agua. But most of the fairways are wide and the greens adventurous. There are plenty of fun shots and holes here with nice views and vegetation and a wonderful ambiance.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates the chance to hit good shots after getting beat up by Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer and others in the Coachella sun.

California 3rd Quintile [2016]