Sunday was our annual year-end event for Greenskeeper.org, which always takes place out in the desert. It’s such a perfect time of year and conditions are always excellent, so it’s hard to go wrong out there for a big group outing.
Last year, we played the Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort. It was such a hit, it only made sense to go back. This year, though, we played the Players Course instead. Having played both courses twice now, I will still say I prefer Celebrity and I consider it one of my favorite tracks in the Coachella Valley. Players is not super far behind because it is also a fantastic course on every level.
First off, the conditions were excellent. Everything was lush and beautiful throughout the course. The greens are rolling a bit too slow at the moment, but the speeds will only get quicker as the winter goes on and the turf matures. Otherwise, I have nothing but great things to say about the current course conditions.
As usual, the event was a blast. I got to socialize with a lot of my golf friends and make a few new ones. I gave a 2015 Golf Nomad calendar to everyone in attendance. Supplies are already running low, so if you want to order one before the new year ($10 each including shipping or just $6 for GK members), please email me at bogeysacrossamerica@gmail and I’ll tell you how to pay via PayPal.
There were a lot of good raffle prizes and on-course contests. I did well with my score of 78, but my 6’7" CTP on the 2nd hole didn’t hold up and neither did my one birdie on the 16th, which could have won me a skin. Oh well, I’m just out there to have fun and enjoy the round.
And enjoy the round I did. This is such a nice course. Like Celebrity, Players has such a nice visual presentation. I would say Celebrity is a little “prettier” with the aesthetic touches, but Players is still framed beautifully by trees, flowering plants, desert areas, big and intricate bunkers, water hazards and the rolling contours of the terrain.
I’d say Players is generally considered the more difficult of the two, but neither will beat you up too much and both courses can provide good scores if you play the proper tees and navigate the layout smartly. We did play the yellow tees, which are a combo set between the orange and white. That definitely made things a little easier. Of course, the challenge ramps up significantly if you go back to the blue or cabernet tees.
There are a lot of memorable holes on Players such as the tricky par-4 6th around the big water hazard. I really like the back nine stretch of 15 and 16, which provide the only slight changes in elevation on the whole course. The 17th and 18th are kind of “detached” from the rest of the course geographically, but both are cool holes, as well. I don’t know if the 18th here really flows with the rest of the design. You can make that same argument about Celebrity. I think that 18th is a little out of place, too.
If you haven’t played either Indian Wells Resort course, you need to put both of them on your Christmas wish list. You will not be disappointed, especially if you visit during the winter season when things are extra nice here.
Some pictures from Indian Wells Golf Resort (12/7/14):