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A serene scene

Borrego Springs is a calming place, no matter where you stay or play

A serene scene

Rams Hill Golf Club is starting to gain notoriety as being a great course with fantastic long views.
Courtesy Rams Hill

Borrego Springs is in the middle of somewhere. Located 90 minutes from San Diego or Palm Springs, and surrounded by a 600,000-acre state park, the village is more than a small dot on a big map.

With Anza-Borrego Desert State Park providing hiking, biking and off-roading adventures for the daytime sportsman and a peerless stargazing experience for nighttime amazement, the canvas of Borrego Springs paints an almost mystical getaway. If proof is needed, simply drive the north and south stretch of Borrego Springs Road to see the freestanding sculpture art of Ricardo Breceda.

More artistic scenes can be seen at Rams Hill Golf Club, a fantastic Tom Fazio design that is helping the region attract more visitors. Peak season starts to pop in January, when Borrego Springs typically begins welcoming visitors to a region whose full-time population jumps from 3,500 to nearly 20,000 in the winter.

“In the Coachella Valley now, even if people haven't been out here they’ve heard of Rams Hill; there's talk,” director of golf Mike Setchell said about the course that’s beginning its third year under new ownership. “It’s slowly getting better, with our landscaping really coming together. With the developing native grasses, it looks really mature. And the course itself is nearing its true potential; the greens, which were brand new from seed, are so good that they’re just getting better and better.”

As reported in Southland Golf’s August issue, the exploration of adding a second course to the property continues in earnest, with Setchell saying: “We're still trying to see if more golf is the answer, at this point.”

Another regional golf option can be had at Borrego Springs Resort, where new ownership recently brought in original course designer Cary Bickler to oversee a major renovation.

“The course was broken and needed to be fixed,” said K.C. Crandall, director of golf at Borrego Springs Resort, where on-site accommodations also were refurbished. “We pushed the greens back out to their original configurations and also did a complete renovation of all 79 bunkers out here.”

The resulting polish presents a well-manicured layout that flexes its largest muscles on the shortest tests.

“It's a fun course, very playable, and the greens roll really nice,” Crandall said. “The par-3s are where you’ll find the teeth. Three of the four par-3s play at over 190 yards. But that's contrasted with seven par-4s at 380 or less. So you either take out the driver and go for it on those, or take out your hybrid or mid-iron and poke it down there for a wedge play coming in.”

While rustic views are plentiful, opulence can also be found, such as at La Casa del Zorro Resort and Spa, which has been providing salve from the city since 1937.

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