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IE/Coachella Valley

A broad landscape of diversity provides plenty of quality choices

IE/Coachella Valley

The 17th hole on the Firecliff Course at Desert Willow shows the beauty at the Palm Desert facility that has two layouts.
Courtesy Desert Willow

Taking your game to the next level often means stepping up to challenging courses, which is where the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley come into play. While sure to prompt debate, I arrived at my “best” or “favorites” list after sorting through notebooks and scorecards and seeing a few circles and far too many squares from my years of play in the region. With that in mind, here are 27 holes that – birdie, bogey or worse – have blown my mind and flipped my cap’s lid in the past decade.

No. 1, General Old Golf Course, 530 yards, par 5

This is a salute to the former military course in Riverside where Bob Hope once hosted events featuring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. There are rumors that a housing project could replace these historic grounds, so hustle to the site and get your round started at the appropriately named “Bob Hope Hole.”

No. 4, Bear Mountain Golf Course, 463 yards, par 5

This short par-5 is made even shorter because of Big Bear's 7,000 feet of elevation. Even if you don’t think you can get home in two, hit your driver off the tee, as a well-struck ball seems to hover forever in the clouds. And isn’t that the reason we play this silly game?

No. 5, Omni Rancho Las Palmas, West Course, 285 yards, par 4

One of the region's most enjoyable rounds is highlighted by this short par-4 that winds through the heart of the active resort. With the green protected by a lake, the risk-reward options are there for both long hitters and those more adept with a hybrid off the tee and a wedge in their hands.

No. 5, Eagle Glen Golf Club, 555 yards, par 5

Named “Mounty Baldy,” this beautiful hole in the middle of the front nine has a split fairway that requires prudence from the box since big hitters can hit drivers through the fairway. Another thought process waits before the second shot, but laying up is the wise move since six bunkers surround the long green.

No. 5, Woodhaven Country Club, 260 yards, par 4

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