Obviously, the content has been a little light lately. I haven’t been playing as much, but I should have some new course reviews coming with some holiday travel in the near future.
Yesterday afternoon, I did get out and play some golf at Eagle Falls Golf Course in Indio. It was only my second time playing this course, and the first time was way back in 2012. That was not long after I started this blog, so the reviews back then were quite brief and I only posted a few pictures. I figured it was about time to give Eagle Falls a more in-depth review.
I’ve really been wanting to come back and play here again. I was very impressed with the course the first time I played it. However, I have played so many other courses throughout the Coachella Valley in the years since. I wanted to see how Eagle Falls still measured up.
Good deals aren’t easy to find at Eagle Falls, especially during peak winter season here in the desert. They aren’t really on the discount booking sites and they cater mainly to their resort guests at Fantasy Springs. So when a friend of mine invited me out to play (for free), I was definitely not going to turn down that invitation!
We had an 11:48 tee time and played as a threesome. It was very busy out on the course and the starter warned us there was a large resort guest group that had teed off earlier. We actually enjoyed a nice pace on the front nine and we didn’t have to wait much. Unfortunately, when we got to the par-3 9th hole, there were two groups on the tee. It was slow going after that, but still not as terrible as it seemed. We ultimately finished in just over four hours.
Based on my first visit, I had Eagle Falls ranked in the top 10 of public courses in my Coachella Valley Regional Rankings. After this round, I feel that ranking is still right on target. This is a great course. Probably the best local comparison is Desert Willow. Eagle Falls has some similar aesthetic and design qualities, yet plenty of personality of its own.
Despite a flat overall landscape, there are very few flat lies anywhere on this course designed by Clive Clark. There is a lot of undulation throughout the fairways and rough. The relatively small greens aren’t too tricked out or sloped. Once you are putting, they aren’t too hard to figure out. However, getting to the greens safely isn’t always as easy as you hope. I think this is a very fair layout, offering just enough challenge along the way.
One very distinctive trait of Eagle Falls is the placement of the bunkers. Because of the undulation in the fairways, sight lines can often be deceptive. A majority of bunkers that appear to be greenside are actually set further away from the greens than they look to the naked eye. It is very important to use the GPS here and understand the placement of the bunkers. You generally have a lot more room behind them than you think.
Of course, if you do find these short bunkers, you are going to be challenged with an awkward long bunker shot. Many of these bunkers are anywhere from 20-50 yards short of their respective greens, so they are best avoided unless you are a very rare person who likes this type of bunker shot. I don’t know too many golfers (any really) that look forward to 30-yard bunker escapes!
The overall aesthetic presentation of Eagle Falls is nice. There are numerous water hazards in play, along with native desert landscaping lining each hole and providing visual and physical separation between any parallel fairways. A few holes have cool rock walls lining big bunker complexes.
There are many memorable holes at Eagle Falls. The 6th is a diabolically short par-3 where you cannot be short or you will lose your ball in the tall grass. The green also falls off in the back, so long is no picnic either.
This is followed by the great par-5 7th that features one of the narrowest fairways on the course. It’s kind of an uncomfortable tee shot. Up near the green is an awesome bunker complex with one of those aforementioned rock walls. It’s a great-looking approach.
The 11th hole is a short par-4 that is drivable for most. Water runs up the left side, along with a waste bunker and another one of those rock walls about 20 yards short of the green. There’s not too much room for error if you go for it. A smart lay-up will also provide a good birdie opportunity.
The 15th is another very short, but more wide open par-4 that most will take a run at. The only real trouble here is a water hazard long and left, or OB if you spray it way right into the desert.
The 16th is a signature par-3 with a creek winding through and a little waterfall up by the green. Lastly, the 18th is a fantastic finisher. It’s a relatively short par-5 that will provide some birdie/eagle looks. The green is guarded by a water hazard that is fed by a huge waterfall feature to the left. You drive your cart on the path right next to the waterfall and expect to get a little spray. It would be more fun if the water in there wasn’t kind of nasty.
Course conditions were top-notch. Everything was lush, green and nicely manicured throughout. The tee boxes and fairways were great. The rough was thick. Sometimes the ball would sit up and provide a nice flier lie. Other times, it would nestle down and make for a difficult recovery shot. The greens were firm-ish, but reasonably receptive and rolling well at medium speeds. Actually a little slicker than one would expect this time of year as the overseeded rye continues to fill in on the green surfaces.
Overall, this was another great experience at Eagle Falls. I hope it’s not another 6-plus years before I play here again.
Some pictures from Eagle Falls Golf Course (12/12/18):
(Click on any picture below to pull up a gallery slideshow.)