Lost in the Desert

I was very happy with how easily and smoothly all my content from the old Bogeys Across America site transferred over to this new site. In fact, everything about this new site has made me happier because it actually works!

Hundreds of articles and photos were pulled over from the lame Tumblr platform to the much better WordPress platform. However, one went missing. Of all the posts, just one seemed to disappear off the face of the earth. It does not exist anywhere on this new site and it no longer seems to exist on the old site that is still up on Tumblr. How strange is that?

Well, since I’ve been a little light on new content lately, I figure it’s the perfect time to post a “makeup” review about the two courses that were featured in that lost article: Bermuda Dunes Country Club and Cathedral Canyon Golf Club here in the Coachella Valley. Let’s just jump right into it…

Bermuda Dunes Country Club • Bermuda Dunes, CA • 2013 & 2017

You’ll see I listed two different dates above. The first is the original time I played the course on the same day as Cathedral Canyon. On that day, I played only 18 of the 27 holes here. The second is from my visit just this past year, where a buddy and I were able to play all 27. The photos will be from that most recent visit because they’re better quality, but the review will somewhat cover both experiences.

Bermuda Dunes is primarily considered a private club, but they tend to offer up some public tee times during the offseason months. I believe the first time I played in 2013 was booked through GolfNow. I only played the Lake and Classic #2 nines because Classic #1 was closed for maintenance. Last year, we bought a voucher through the SCGA that included 18 holes plus a free replay. We were able to play Classic #1/Classic #2 and then Lake/Classic #2, so I was happy to get the nine holes in I missed before.

I believe they may have since changed the nines to be First Nine, Second Nine and Third Nine. Don’t quote me on this, but I think that would line up with the previous Classic #1, Classic #2 and Lake in that order. The “Classic” course was designed by William F. Bell and what was previously the Lake course was designed by Bob Baldock. I think that’s how it works out.

Bermuda Dunes has a lot of history, especially in relation to the PGA Tour. This course hosted what was once known as the Bob Hope Classic (now the CareerBuilder Challenge) for 50 years. It has been the site for some other big golf events, as well.

The layout is pretty traditional golden age Coachella Valley. Lots of palm trees and houses line the fairways, and ample water hazards are in play. There aren’t any major changes in elevation, but there are a few sections that have some rolling hills to mix things up a little. I’d consider it a nice classic desert residential (“deserdential” is my own term) that gets outshined nowadays be the more modern and dramatic desert designs found throughout the valley. It’s in a similar class as some of the mid-level resort courses and other older residential country clubs.

Conditions were solid both times I played. Once was in late May and the other was in July, so I wouldn’t expect things to be pristine like they probably are in the peak winter season. Fairways with some thin/brown spots and very firm greens are to be expected at most courses in the late spring/summer seasons.

Easily the most memorable hole at Bermuda Dunes is the 9th hole of the Classic #2 course, which I believe would have been the finishing hole for any of the PGA tournaments held there. This is a nice par-5 with an approach that plays toward the old school clubhouse and over a water hazard. A big waterfall feature sits off to the side to add a little aesthetic flair.

It’s hard writing a detailed review long after the fact, but that’s all I have to say about Bermuda Dunes. It’s a decent course if you have a chance to play it, but don’t expect to be blown away by anything that distinctive compared to many other older “deserdential” courses you can play throughout the golf-rich Coachella Valley.

Some pictures from Bermuda Dunes Country Club (5/21/17):

(Click on any picture to pull up a gallery slideshow.)

Next, we’ll try to dig a little deeper into my memory banks because I only played this course once…

Cathedral Canyon Golf Club • Cathedral City, CA • 7/13/2013

This was actually my morning round before the first time I played Bermuda Dunes. However, I will review it second since it is clearly the “lesser” course of the two. For various reasons, Cathedral Canyon is one of the Coachella Valley courses that gets a bit more looked down upon than most. I’m not sure that is completely fair, though I can only speak from my one personal experience.

At one time this was also a 27-hole facility, but nine of the holes have long since closed. I only paid $18 to play, so that helped temper my expectations. In looking at my old review on Greenskeeper.org, I see that the service was a bit lax first thing in the morning. However, things worked out okay and I got around pretty quickly in the first group out. Speaking of GK, I’ll just go ahead and share an excerpt from my review regarding conditions:

“The course was actually in pretty decent shape for mid-summer. Pretty green for the most part with the bermuda filled in nicely in most areas. Not surprisingly, things were a bit shaggy and inconsistent in the fairways and rough, but better than being dry and burnt out in my opinion. The greens were actually in good shape, but kept longer for the heat and running extremely slow. Still pretty smooth on putts, though. Sand traps damp early, but good sand in the few I was in. Only complaint was the tee boxes. Some were very shaggy with several inches of rough and very unkempt conditions. Some were fine, so it was a mixed bag.”

I do remember it having a pretty green overall look and some decent mountain views in the background of several holes. I also remember a lot of water here. In fact, water comes into play on almost every hole, in addition to many trees and houses that line a majority of fairways. In the photos, you’ll see that the water hazards are generally on the left side, so it may feel a bit repetitive at times. Still, I actually enjoyed this layout more than I expected to.

In reading Greenskeeper.org reviews since my lone visit to Cathedral Canyon, I get the sense this place has continued to go downhill in recent years. I actually live really close to it now, so I am sure I will get out there again when I want a convenient bargain round. We’ll have to see how it compares to my first impression, which really wasn’t too bad.

It’s still near the bottom of the list in an area loaded with great golf, but not a terrible option for the right price.

Some pictures from Cathedral Canyon Golf Club (7/13/13):

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