Saturday, November 3, 2012


After a week of mindless relaxation, deep sleeps, and good food and wine in Palm Springs, the travel writer in me has resurfaced. I've played some golf here at the Westin Mission Hills where we own a timeshare and, given that PS is a golf mecca, I want to write about one of the two courses at this resort.

Second fairway on Pete Dye course with the Santa Rosa Mountains behind
In early November, the golf courses are reopening after being re-seeded with grass that grows in the cooler winters. The fairways are green again and in perfect condition for golfers who come here in the shoulder season. Many people in the frozen north say that November is not a good time to visit PS, but we have been making the pilgrimage at this time since 1998. Today it's 31C without a cloud in the sky and the hordes that arrive in December and January.

Mission Hills has two 18-hole courses. I play the Pete Dye course - a par-70, resort course - because I like it. It's short as courses go, with many par-4 holes that I have a chance to par. Other courses in PS are longer and I have no hope of a good score at 65+ years old.

The golf staff at Westin Mission Hills are friendly and helpful, and can squeeze me in as a single early in the day almost whenever I want. Golf pros are available for lessons here, should you feel so inclined, and the driving range is open every day for practice. The beverage cart comes round frequently, essential to replenish the water I need to combat the heat after 11am. I like being finished by 12:00pm and home for lunch by 12:15pm. Then I can laze around the pool...!

Green moguls around heavily bunkered greens early in the morning
Although its a resort course, the holes are not easy. Water lies in wait on several and the greens are heavily bunkered, difficult to read, and slow in comparison to those in the Pacific Northwest. There are many green moguls, too, around the greens that mean I have to make very accurate approach shots, something I should practice more than I do. If my ball lands in the valleys, I have a tough time getting out of them. The views of the Santa Rosa Mountains distract me constantly, but I love watching them change every five minutes as the sun moves westward.

In short, the Pete Dye course gives me both hope and a challenge.

Images: (c) Photos by Pharos (Julie H. Ferguson) 2012. All rights reserved

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