Best Golf Courses in Palm Springs
If I had to sum up Palm Springs in three words: I’d say, “swimming pools” & “golf.” There are few other places with more world-class golf packed into each square mile than here. And if you’re looking at this area as a whole, the truth is ~ some of the Valley’s best courses are actually on the east side: in La Quinta & Indian Wells. This is where you’ll find the renowned PGA West courses, as well as high-end fare like The Quarry (my brother’s favorite) & The Madison Club (Kardashian-land). But in this article, I want to focus on the best public golf courses in & around Palm Springs, courses that are available to everyone.
Map of Palm Springs Golf Courses
Indian Wells Golf Resort
Mountain Course, La Quinta Resort
Eagle Falls (at Fantasy Springs Resort)
PGA West Stadium Course
Indian Canyons Golf Resort
Escena Golf Resort
JW Marriott Desert Springs
Westin Mission Hills, Pete Dye Course
Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course
Overview of Palm Springs Golf Courses
Keep in mind: rates listed below indicate pricing during “season,” between October & May, when all prices in the desert are higher. If you play during summer (early in the morning, that is ~ before temps hit 110!), rates are typically cut in half, if not more.
You can book tee times by clicking on the name of the course below ~ I’ve linked directly to their websites. And finally, I’ve starred next to the courses that I think are most spectacular & worth playing.
Palm Springs Golf Courses
1. Indian Canyons Golf Resort = North & South Courses. The South Course here is a little more expensive, & it’s the prettier, more interesting course ~ with four scenic lakes & over 850 palm trees. The North Course is still note-worthy: it’s surrounded by some of the area’s most gorgeous, mid-century modern homes, is longer than the South Course, & features the 100-foot tall “Disney Fountain.”
Cost: $55 (Twilight Rate) – $135
2. Escena Golf Club = The #6-Rated Public Course in California by PGATour.com! Features stunning views of the San Jacinto Mountains from every tee box, plus there’s a cool, mid-century modern Escena Grill to grab drinks & food at post-round. Cost: $40-115
Palm Desert & Rancho Mirage Courses
**3. Desert Willow = Two Championship, 18-Hole Courses: Mountain View & Firecliff. My dad plays at Desert Willow every week with his buddies ~ this is definitely a local’s favorite spot! The Firecliff track is more challenging at 7,056 yards, & has been voted the #1 Public Access Course by Desert Golf Magazine for THREE years in a row. Mountain View has wider fairways & is more forgiving (my kind of course).
Cost: $69-198 per round.
4. Westin Mission Hills = Pete Dye Resort Course. “Potentially Diabolical, Yet Indescribably Playable.” Though Pete Dye is known for creating uber-challenging tracks, this one is considered one of his more “playable.” Views here are GORGEOUS. Cost: $85-115
5. JW Marriott Desert Springs = The Palms Course & Valley Course. Great central location, with beautiful 360 degree views of the valley. Designed by Ted Robinson, the “King of Waterscapes,” you’ll find lots of lakes, streams, & waterfalls here. The Palms Course is named for the famed palm trees lining its fairways, while the Valley Course is known for steep hills & low-lying valleys (sounds hard to me)!
Indian Wells Golf Courses
**6. Indian Wells Golf Resort = Celebrity Course & the Player’s Course. If you ask locals for their favorite public course in the desert: Indian Wells comes up over & over. With the easier Celebrity Course & more challenging Player’s Course, there’s something for every golfer here. Plus, Indian Wells has some of the best views in the desert, with its location nestled up against the Santa Rosa Mountains.
La Quinta Golf Courses
**7. PGA West Stadium Course = Known for its Famous “Island Alcatraz” 17th Hole. There are six PGA West Golf Courses in La Quinta, & the Stadium Course is arguably the most famous, & usually cited as the most challenging. The annual “Bob Hope Tournament” always finishes here, with many an exciting finish taking place on its iconic “Alcatraz” hole. Take advantage of the fact that this renowned course is open to the public!
**8. The Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort = Set Right Up in the Mountains. I LOVE this course!! Of all the valley’s courses, this one gets you the absolute closest to the mountains: including their famous 16th hole, which takes you “up above” the desert & has you teeing off high above the desert floor, literally in the mountainside. The La Quinta Resort also features the Dunes Course ~ but the Mountain Course is by far the more unique of the two.
9. Silver Rock = Another Stunning Public Course. For my money: Silver Rock is one of the prettiest courses in town. Similar to the Mountain Course, it’s set right up against the mountains~ & at about 1/2 the cost, it’s one of the best deals in town. Bring your camera to get some great shots here.
10. PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course = Q-School Contender. I know all about this course, because I bike around it almost every day when I’m in the desert! This is a player’s course, giving you challenging holes & beautiful desert backdrops, along with two island greens. Great course for a guy’s outing, particularly if you’re a long-ball striker. Cost: $69-189
Best Place to Happy Hour Post-Golf in La Quinta: Stuft Pizza Bar & Grill, in Old Town La Quinta.
Indio Golf Course
11. Eagle Falls, at Fantasy Springs Resort = Fun Round of Golf with a Side of Gambling. This is one of my mom’s favorite courses! She says it reminds her of Disneyland, is beautifully maintained, & very reasonably-priced at right around $100 per round. Plus, if you like to gamble: this is your spot.
Photos of Palm Springs Courses
Best Golf Courses in Palm Springs
If you’re wondering about those inspirational “Bucket List” private courses in Palm Springs: again, I think the east side of the valley wins out. My friend Mike, who lived in the desert for years & is a serious low-handicap golfer, says his favorite course is The Tradition (by Old Town La Quinta) ~ he loves the layout & how challenging it is. As I said, my brother’s favorite course is The Quarry: it’s immaculately, challenging, & tucked wayyy back in La Quinta’s “hidden” mountain cove.
The most exclusive course in the desert may be The Madison Club: you need an UBER high net-worth to even get in here…hellooo Kardashians! But to be honest, I’ve played here several times, as my friend’s dad was a founding member. Not to burst anyone’s bubble: I definitely don’t think it’s one of the prettiest courses in the Valley. In my opinion, it’s too far from the mountains to have those really epic views.
But its snack bars (stocked with Casamigos Tequila & umpteen snack choices) are indeed legendary…
For those looking to get more out of Palm Springs than just golf, check out some of my favorite desert hikes, or take a road trip out to Joshua Tree National Park…
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