Digging Deeper into Obscurity

This review is a little late because I accidentally left my camera (among other things) behind at Indian Palms last week and had to wait until this weekend to go and pick them up. It’s no surprise I was a bit forgetful after a very hot, yet fairly productive, day in the desert.

The day started with visiting some of the area’s more obscure RV resorts, which feature courses not generally open to the public. Luckily, I have a crafty friend who is even more obsessive than I am about trying to play every course in SoCal…

Outdoor Resort Palm Springs • Cathedral City, CA • 6/13/15

This experience goes to show how much effort some of us will put in just to play some relatively rinky dink courses. We got a group of course collectors together to reserve an RV spot for the weekend (whether or not we actually had an RV is beside the point), just to gain access to the property. That part ended up being more expensive than the golf itself, which was only $10 each for green fees. They collected that at the gate when we checked in because the little starter shack was already closed for the season.

The place was pretty much a ghost town early on a Saturday morning in mid-June. Whatever residents were still there were hunkered down in their trailers with the air conditioning cranked. We were just there for the golf, so we teed it up on the first of two short courses at this Outdoor Resort location a little after 6:30.

18-Hole Course

We started on the “main” course, which is an 18-hole par-3 layout with a decent mix of holes. The shortest hole is just 57 yards while the longest stretches out to 146 yards. You’ll get to use a small variety of clubs, but it never makes you work too hard. There are a number of water hazards in play. Unfortunately, the one in between holes 1 and 18 was completely drained out as they were doing some work and cleaning to that pond. Both would normally be very nice looking holes, but were not at their prettiest on Saturday.

Otherwise, this is a relatively scenic track with some good views of the mountains to the west and south, obscured and lessened somewhat by all the motor homes and trailers surrounding the course.

We were pleasantly surprised at how nice the conditions were despite only seeing a few other players out there behind us on a warm morning. Everything from tee to green was lush, nicely manicured and rich in color. There were only a few bunkers on the course and they had excellent sand. The greens were a bit firm and starting to get browned out heading into summer. They were still recovering a little from a recent aeration, but mostly rolled smooth at slow-ish speeds that got a bit quicker as things dried out.

Some pictures from Outdoor Resort Palm Springs (18-hole Course) (6/13/15):


9-Hole Course

After finishing the main course, we headed over to the even shorter course on this property. Though we had no problem finding scorecards for the bigger course over by its first tee, there was nothing to be found for the smaller “pitch and putt” 9-hole little brother. We made due as at least the tee boxes were marked with the yardages for each hole.

The longest hole here was 103 yards while the shortest was just 43, so it truly is just a pitch and putt. The greens are tiny and hard to hold, with an occasional bunker or water hazard in play to make things somewhat interesting for abbreviated pitch shots.

Overall, this is clearly the secondary course at Outdoor Resort. The conditions weren’t quite as nice and I’m sure it gets even less play, especially this time of year. Still, it was kept in relatively decent shape. The tees and greens were just fine and the greens putted pretty smoothly, so it wasn’t bad at all for a pitch and putt (I know I’ve seen much, much worse in the past year).

There isn’t anything else to really note about the shorter course here. It exists and we were committed to checking it off our lists while visiting the Outdoor Resort for the morning.

Some pictures from Outdoor Resort Palm Springs (9-hole Course) (6/13/15):


Was it worth the effort and cost to gain access to this resort just to play one pretty nice par-3 course and its much less enticing little sibling? For most people, no. For us hardcore course collectors, we were able to justify it (especially sharing the extra costs) and had a lot of fun out there.

But we weren’t done with the shenanigans. We had one more similar course to check out on this day…

Motorcoach Country Club • Indio, CA • 6/13/15

What’s funny is that this other obscure RV resort sits just across the street from the Outdoor Resort in Indio. That one also has a course that we’ll need to come back and play sometime in the near future. On this day, though, we were there for Motorcoach Country Club.

With it being the offseason, we had no trouble checking in for our RV reservation, though they didn’t seem to mind at all that we were just there to play the golf course. Again, we all split the costs for the reservation, but here the golf was included with the resort fee.

Though much smaller than Outdoor Resort, it was clear Motorcoach was definitely a higher-end RV resort with lots of water and canals running through the property. Many residents have little boats and that’s part of the lifestyle here. Also, most lots have a little enclosed cabana attached for additional living/kitchen space to go along with your RV.

Having taken a look at this course from the satellite view, I was intrigued to play it. It’s just a 9-hole par-3 course, but there is so much water in play. On ground level, it wasn’t quite as dramatic as the aerial views. However, it’s kind of a fun little track because water does come into play significantly on most holes.

The holes at Motorcoach range from 85 yards up to 120 on the front nine white tees, and then you step back on each hole for the back nine blue tees, which on average are about 10 yards behind the whites. We only played nine and stuck with the whites.

This place also has some nice scenery, enhanced by all the water surrounding the course. The conditions were decent. It’s starting to get a bit more dried/browned out here than the Outdoor Resort course, but everything was pretty consistent and playable. Tee boxes, greens and bunkers were all well maintained. We were the only ones out there in the late morning and it appeared very few residents were around this time of year.

I don’t know why any of these little resorts wouldn’t just open up their courses to the public during the off season to take in whatever money they can. They probably aren’t anything special enough to attract that much extra business in an area with so many courses, though, so I guess they keep them private year-round helps attract seasonal renters and a few year-round residents.

Some pictures from Motorcoach Country Club (6/13/15):

After our RV resort rounds together, my group all went our separate ways to work on various personal priorities. Me? I had some “unfinished business” to take care of while in Indio…

Indian Palms Country Club • Indio, CA • 6/13/15

I played out here a couple years ago, but was only able to play 18 of the 27 holes. Though I’ve been in no huge rush to return and round out the third nine, Saturday was finally the right time. I called over and they told me it would be $25 to play in the afternoon, which was a better rate than listed on their website or on GolfNow, so sometimes it pays to contact the course directly. That’s especially true in the desert during the hot and slow summer months.

Previously, I had played the Indian and Mountain nines. You can read that review here if interested. My main priority this time was to check out the Royal nine.

They started me off on Mountain and noted that Indian was currently closed (for aerification of the greens I believe), which was fine with me. I zipped around this nine and caught up to a single and a twosome ahead of him for the last couple holes. The twosome stopped for snacks/drinks at the turn, so the other single and I both leapfrogged them at the 10th and then that single let me play through a little later. I did ultimately get behind a threesome of older ladies for the final couple holes, but the overall 2-hour pace was ideal. It was very hot at this point in the day and I was eager to finish as quickly as I could.

On my previous visit to Indian Palms, I did recall liking the Mountain nine better than Indian, though neither really suited my eye or my game. This is definitely a “target” layout with some awkward angles off the tees (especially for a fade hitter like myself). It’s not a long course, so accuracy is the most important thing here.

Royal flowed pretty well with Mountain and didn’t offer anything too distinctive or different. Probably the highlight hole was the par-5 5th, which is ranked as the #1 handicap hole on this nine despite being only 490 yards from the blues. It is narrow all the way from the tee to the green and kind of resembles part of a bobsled run the way it zig-zags a few times and has a number of banked turns along the fairway. Too far left or right at any point is easily OB, and there is also a pond in play on the left about 100 yards short of the green to affect your approach if going for it in two or your lay-up if playing conservatively.

Beyond that, there’s nothing too interesting about any of the nines here. Some people will not like the tight angles and target layout, and visually Indian Palms just doesn’t offer the pretty contours or background scenery found on most other Coachella Valley tracks.

The course was in okay shape heading into summer and not too different than my last experience here, which was late summer. It was not super lush or pretty, but very playable and decent enough throughout. The tee boxes were nice. The fairways were maybe a tag shaggy in places, but I always had good lies. The rough was generally okay, too. I was in a couple bunkers and they had good sand. The greens were firm and are getting pretty browned out, but rolling smoother and quicker than they looked.

I will say that the guy working the pro shop was very nice and made sure I took a couple bottled waters from the fridge because there was no drinking water on the course other than a cruddy old fountain by the bathroom. Also, they were nice enough to store my things until I was able to go back and pick them up yesterday morning.

I was glad to finish my “business” at Indian Palms by playing the Royal nine, but this won’t be a course I’m in any rush to return to. With so many excellent options in the desert, I don’t see myself making much effort to come back. Though I had to play it twice to knock out all three nines, I still look at it as probably a “one and done” course.

Some pictures from Indian Palms Country Club (6/13/15):

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