When I mentioned to some friends recently that I would be playing at Tri Palm this past weekend, I only got a blank stare in return. When I mentioned the club’s old name of Shenandoah Springs, that stare only got slightly less confused.
In other words, this is a place not that many people know about, even those very familiar with the Coachella Valley golf scene.
However, it does exist and I had the chance Sunday morning to play both courses there. Yes, there are technically two courses at the place you’ve never heard of! A friend of mine knows a resident/member here (it is a 55+ community), so he was able to line up a round for us. It wasn’t too busy out there in the summer, so we finished both courses pretty quickly.
The Millennium Course is the main one at Tri Palm. It is technically regulation playing to a par of 70 (sometimes 69, though, depending on if the 15th hole is playing as a par-4 or par-3 on any given day). However, it is very short and designed for the 55+ crowd of this mobile home community in Thousand Palms. From the back tees (what they call the blue combo as there are not blue tees on every hole), it stretches out to a whopping 5,565 yards. There are only two short par-5s. Most of the par-4s are shorter, but there are still a handful that are in the 380-400+ range.
As always seems to be the cases on these senior courses, the par-3s tend to be on the longer side. I’ll never quite understand that strategy, but two are over 175 and one is over 200 yards. That means a lot of the old-timers here are hitting driver on every single hole except maybe for the “short” par-3 5th hole (152 yards).
Most of the layout is fairly straightforward, though a lot of OB comes into play as the homes are very much on top of the course. There are a few scary tee shots here for sure. The two par-5s are short, but have severe dogleg designs. The 9th doesn’t have any homes in play, but is OB all along the corner to discourage trying to cut off too much of it. The 18th has houses very much in play (frighteningly so), which discourages you from taking a line that is too aggressive. Most people will feel more comfortable playing safe and taking the long way around.
There really isn’t too much else to highlight about the layout of the Millennium Course. It reminded me of nearby Ivey Ranch and neither are terribly interesting to play.
The conditions didn’t help the enjoyment as this place was pretty beat up. Everything here was mediocre at best with a lot of inconsistencies. There were plenty of bare spots and some areas that were too shaggy. Nothing was that well maintained, though the bunkers were decent enough. The greens were shaggy, bumpy and very slow.
This was one of those rounds that I was glad to finish quickly and move onto the next adventure. Thankfully, I now live close to here, so I was back home soon after and I didn’t have to make much effort to get there and back.
Some pictures from Tri Palm Estates & Country Club (Millennium) (8/20/17):
After finishing on the Millennium Course, we continued right onto the smaller Century Course. Century is just a pretty simple 9-hole par-3 layout.
From the blue tees, the holes range from 110 yards up to 173 yards, so it’s a pretty good mix of lengths for a par-3 course. I was able to use a variety of clubs. Most of the holes are pretty simple and straightforward. The most interesting is probably the 7th, which brings a couple of water hazards into play.
From tee to green, I would say the conditions on Century were similarly inconsistent to Millennium. The greens, however, were actually much better. They were very firm, but cut tighter and rolling smoother at faster speeds than the main course. These greens are relatively small and have some tricky slopes to them, as well, so putting was more of an adventure on this course.
Otherwise, it just felt good to check off both Tri Palm courses while I was there. Neither are anything that interesting and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone, unless you are like me and are determined to play anything and everything in SoCal!
Some pictures from Tri Palm Estates & Country Club (Century) (8/20/17):