After finishing the SCGA outing at Andalusia last Thursday, my golf day wasn’t over. I had also arranged for a round at Mountain View Country Club at La Quinta. This is another private club that doesn’t get a ton of attention in the Coachella Valley golf scene, but it’s another one I was glad I got to play.
I had booked a 1:00 tee time by myself and there was hardly anyone out there. I played through another single on the 3rd hole (she was playing multiple balls and taking her time, so she waved me up) and otherwise had the place to myself until I caught a foursome on the very last hole.
Mountain View was opened in 2003 and the course was designed by Arnold Palmer and his team. I generally really like Palmer designs. He made courses that are aesthetically pleasing with just the right balance of challenge and forgiveness. One thing I usually enjoy about his courses is that he gives you a lot of opportunities to pick your own poison. There is always ample bail-out room or “conservative” routes you can take from tee to green. Or, if you want to get aggressive, you can take more demanding lines while bringing much bigger risks into play.
In this same spirit, his courses usually tend to have a wide range of total distances. You can really make it play long if you step to the back tees (7,268 here), or you can move up and take some bite out of the course without losing too much of the challenge.
Mountain View is no exception when it comes to these strategies. I found it to be fairly forgiving off the tee, though there is a lot of water in play throughout the course and those risk/reward options were plentiful. I won’t say this is his most dramatic desert design I’ve played, but it was as good—if not better—than I was expecting.
Unlike Andalusia, which didn’t quite live up to my really lofty expectations, I admittedly came into Mountain View with less anticipation. Ultimately, I think that helped me enjoy this course a little more overall. In general, I felt like it had a bit more character from 1-18.
I think the par-3s were stronger over at Andalusia, but the par-5s were better here and there are some great par-4s, too. Easily the standout hole at Mountain View is the par-5 18th, which is a great finisher with a ton of risk/reward potential. The tee shot is to a split fairway with an elevated section to the right and a skinnier flat section along the left. The fairways then rejoin and veer right around a huge lake, providing your conservative three-shot option. You can safely hit your ball over there and then back across the water to the green. Or, if you are in position, you can make a run at the green on your second shot. The water carry isn’t actually that long and there is a big landing area short of the green. However, just on the other side of the water is a bit bunker that will catch anything coming in a little low or short. It’s a very unique hole and it looks great with the streams and waterfalls all around it.
The other hole that caught my eye was the par-4 10th. There are a couple of big doglegs on the course, and this is one of them. The 15th would be the other that certainly comes to mind. The 10th hole doglegs left with water running up the entire left side, then you have a fun downhill approach with the best “mountain view” framing the hole from behind.
Conditions were pretty similar from tee to green as they were at Andalusia. By that I mean things were still very good for playability, but definitely in the early stages of the summer transition. There were plenty of brown spots starting to show. However, the fairways, tees and rough in general were playing nicely. The bunkers were also good. The greens here have fully yellowed out and lost any traces of the fall/winter overseed with the summer bermuda just starting to take hold. Not necessarily bad. They were very firm, but rolling smooth and quicker than Andalusia.
Mountain View falls right in the mix with Andalusia and plenty of other great private clubs that aren’t quite in the upper tier of Coachella Valley courses. However, some of those set the bar extremely high and even second tier courses will impress a majority of people.
Some pictures from Mountain View Country Club at La Quinta (5/31/18):
(Click on any picture below to pull up a gallery slideshow.)