The Gary Player Signature Course at the Westin Mission Hills, the Desert Willow complex and TPC Stadium are just three golf options that make Palm Springs a great bachelorette party destination for ladies interested in golf. And with resorts like Desert Springs JW Marriott and Costa's nightclub, there's plenty do when your round of golf is over.
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - It's hard to find an American male under the age of 35 who doesn't harbor fantasies about living that Wedding Crashers movie life of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson for at least a weekend. Heck, many guys over 35 are right there too (after all, Vaughn's older than that himself).
But what if you could one-up the Wedding Crashers?
In Palm Springs, you can forget about crashing weddings. How about bumping into bachelorette parties?
Banish those natural Palm Springs horror thoughts of seeing a bunch of grandmothers grinding on the dance floor, throwing around a veil in celebration of a golden years marriage. The greater Palm Springs area happens to be a bachelorette party haven for 20 and 30 somethings coming down from Los Angeles.
It's a quick trip, one where inhibitions are often left behind.
"All these little rich girls from L.A. come down to have their parties with their hot friends away from their future husband," long time Coachella Valley bachelor Aaron Newton said, laughing. "And for that night, they don't mind dancing with a common guy. And often, a lot more than that. Really, it's just a fun, fun time."
It's not too hard to find, either. Desert Springs JW Marriott clearly stands out as bachelorette party central. This sprawling resort has long let you take a gondola ride to your room from the lobby. There are also colorful pink flamingos strutting around the grounds, lush green pathways and views to the mountains.
Say hello to the hotel version of a chick flick.
It also doesn't hurt that Costa's, one of Palm Springs' favorite bachelorette weekend nightclubs, is right in Desert Springs resort.
Show up on any Friday or Saturday night and you'll likely see at least one bride-to-be wearing a veil and a slinky clubbing dress. That's another thing about the bachelorette party scene: The women want to be noticed. Some bachelorette groups are decked out in matching custom T-shirts. Many do the veils.
Others just drunkenly scream out, "She's getting married!" about three times a minute.
This is no covert operation. There is no need to sneak into a church or a banquet hall or pretend that you went to school with Uncle Eddie. The bachelorette groups will often invite guys to hang out with them.
"It's the one night of the year where good-looking girls suspend their usual rules," Newton said.
Who'd ever expect the Palm Springs region to be the home to some of the wildest bachelorette parties on the West Coast? This desert land about two hours drive from LA is much more known for its golf courses than its nightlife.
Plenty of people would like to keep the perception, if not the reality, that way too.
"Don't tell my wife about any of this bachelorette party stuff," a golfer who requested anonymity for obvious reasons said. "I come here for the golf and only the golf. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."
Of course, there is another side to these bachelorette party weekends. Talk to the actual bachelorettes, and they'll tell you that the sun, the more relaxed vibe and, in some cases, the golf is what brings them to Palm Springs for their getaway.
"My friends and I love to golf too," said Julie McEwen, who's been to bachelorette parties in the Coachella Valley for two friends. "We're athletes too. We all played volleyball, soccer or basketball in high school and now that we're out in the real world, golf is a way for everyone to stay active.
"It can get pretty competitive out there too. We're not out here to pick up a bunch of guys. Don't listen to the horndogs in the bars who see a bachelorette party and start drooling. We'd rather beat each other on the course than dance with most of those dorks."
The Gary Player Signature Course at the Westin Mission Hills makes a good choice for a bachelorette party play. Its fairways are wide-open, ultra green and pretty forgiving (all the better if you're hung over).
Desert Willow - a Palm Desert golf complex with two superbly conditioned Michael Hurdzan designs -- is right down the street from Desert Springs JW and much better than the golf at the resort itself. The staff will likely try to steer a bachelorette party group to the much more forgiving Mountain View course.
But if your bunch is full of competitors, insist on playing the showy Firecliff.
Over the last several years, a bunch of fancier casinos have also come into the Coachella Valley, bringing more nightlife, pool and golf options for the adventurous bachelorette. The best of the casinos' new golf options is Eagle Falls Golf Course at Fantasy Springs.
There is also more high-end shopping than you might expect in this desert. There's a Tiffany's and Gucci. Even more interestingly, there are a few trendy, quirky, small high-end clothing shops right in downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive that sometimes attract celebrities. These are the type of places with $50 t-shirts that no one born before 1980 will understand.
Mostly, though, these bachelorette trips are about hanging out with good friends. Few places do that better than a Palm Springs suite with a balcony looking out onto one of those mountains.
Just expect to be hit on by a number of guys, many of them golfers. Especially if you're walking around in a veil or stumbling around late at night in cute matching T-shirts.
"My favorite time in Palm Springs bachelorette season is April," Newton said. "Because a lot of the winter tourists have left, but it's still nice weather for a party getaway. There's less competition for the girls attention."
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson would surely be proud.
October 24, 2007