It’s Good To Be The King
Like golf, then you’ll love La Quinta
Chances are if you don’t like La Quinta Resort & Club, you probably don’t like golf. After all, there may not be any place quite like it in the world. Simply put, if you are a golf aficionado, it’s enough to make you drool.
How about five golf courses? And not just five mundane golf course. Five golf courses that will truly make your heart race.
And unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of all of them: La Quinta Resort Mountain Course; La Quinta Resort Dunes Course; TPC Stadium Course at PGA West; Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West; and Greg Norman Course at PGA West.
First opened in 1926 – yes, 1926 – the La Quinta Resort & Club is located in the Coachella Valley in the city of La Quinta – roughly 19 miles southeast of Palm Springs, 130 miles northeast of San Diego and 130 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
And there may be no better backdrop for golf (and resorts) than the Santa Rosa Mountains that sit right behind La Quinta (in a definitive what came first the chicken or the egg, this time it is actually the city that was named after the resort!) with the 45-acre resort that provides an equally stunning view from the other direction. It’s an amazing place – how does 47 swimming pools and 53 hot spas sound?
Originally built around 20 casitas, the resort has grown to 796 guestrooms and villas – all with the look and feel of the original design of architect Gordon Kaufman. And it’s long been a getaway for the rich and famous of Hollywood – the Clark Gables, the Errol Flynns …
The accommodations are first class, as you can imagine, ranging from casitas to suites to spa villas – some of which can be transformed into three-bedroom suites. All come impeccably furnished, and if you really want luxury you might want to sample the Hacienda Grande or the Eisenhower Suite (yes, he stayed there) with its private pool and spa. La Quinta also offers Paws La Quinta – yep, a dog package for your pet where Fido gets his/her own bed, food and water bowls, grooming if needed, etc.
And when you’re not in your room, there’s plenty to do at the resort with eight dining venues, the newest of which is the Ernie’s Bar and Grill and Market Café inside the newly renovated PGA West clubhouse. There’s also Morgan’s In The Desert, Twenty6 and the Adobe Grill.
If Spas are your thing, then La Quinta takes care of that as well with its 23,000-square-foot Spa La Quinta and its 38 treatment rooms. There are also private whirlpool baths, steam rooms, inhalation rooms, open air showers and a 4000-square-foot fitness center. Put it this way: If there’s a piece of fitness equipment that Spa La Quinta doesn’t have, it probably doesn’t exit. And La Quinta also has a state-of-the-art tennis facility with 23 courts – both hardcourt and clay. A good place to spend a day, or 10.
So we’ve pointed out that La Quinta Resort & Club is a place you have to visit … and we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. The golf.
How does 90 holes of golf sound? Combine the two courses at the La Quinta Resort & Club with the three at nearby PGA West – the sister 2200-acre community – and that’s what awaits you when you make the short trek to La Quinta.
The most forgiving of the courses is the Pete Dye-designed Dunes course that is onsite at La Quinta. The Dunes, like the other course, is simply stunning and the views alone are worth the price of admission. The Dunes plays at 6747 yards from the tips, but four sets of tees makes it playable for nearly anybody. It’s truly a relaxing course to play.
The Mountain Course, on the other hand, is a challenge, but is well worth the balls you will likely loose as poorly hit shots usually find the desert. The aptly named Mountain Course (it really is carved into the side of a mountain), another Dye design, plays at 6756 yards fro the tips with the “forward” tees playing in at 4894 yards. Both courses are immaculate and the conditions never vary year round – you will be hard pressed to find course in better condition than these two.
Over at PGA West, things get serious with the Dye-designed PGA West Stadium Course – a true links-type course that separates the men from the boys in a hurry. The Stadium course has received too many accolades to mention, but it remains one of the most famous courses in the world – and a must for any golfing visitor to the West Coast. The Stadium course has played host to the Bob Hope Classic, PGA Q School Finals, the Skins game and the Legends of Golf. The course is viewed as the sequel to Dye’s TPC at Sawgrass and its 7300 yards of trouble – from pot bunkers, water, sidehill lies. It’s a thrill a minute and you will be tested. Think of it as the Magic Mountain of golf – not for the faint of heart. Its signature hole is even named Alcatraz – one of the toughest par 3s in all of golf – and there’s the par five 16th that’s aptly named San Andreas Fault. It features a greenside bunker that’s 19 feet deep. Ouch.
The two other PGA West courses are the Nicklaus and the Norman, which plays at 7156 yards from the tips. The PGA West Norman golf course is all Norman – a man known for his aggressive style of play. The risk-reward ratio on the Norman course is high, but it is playable for a wide variety of skill levels.
One of Jack Nicklaus’s best designs can be found at PGA West with visible landing areas, elevated greens and gnarly bunkers making for an unforgettable round of golf. You will be rewarded for accuracy and penalized for wayward shots, but the course plays fair. It is one of Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” in the United States.
You can write about La Quinta Resort & Club until your fingers bleed. You can oooh and ahhh at photos until your eyes blur. But neither can do justice to the pure beauty of the place … and you won’t find 90 holes of better golf than what you will find neatly tucked away at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Do yourself a favor – go there. It’s a bucket-list type of place.