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Pete Dye's Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort and Club wrestles with all different challenges

By Kelly Saul, Contributor

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Reseeding. There, I've said the word. While most courses in the desert fall victim to brown fairways by early October, when I stepped onto the first tee box at La Quinta Resort and Club, I immediately felt a wave of pleasure sweep over me.

La Quinta Resort and Club - Mountain golf course
La Quinta Resort's Mountain Course is a deceptive Pete Dye design, relatively short but packing a serious punch.
La Quinta Resort and Club - Mountain golf courseLa Quinta Resort - Mountain Course

The water had been turned off for a week, but still the course was in great condition. I could only imagine its amazing display when opened back up in November.

The resort, with its original 20 casitas, was the site of the Coachella Valley's first golf course. Now the resort features 72 championship holes, including La Quinta Dunes. La Quinta Resort and Club's Mountain Course, infamous for rich history and an exceptional schedule of events throughout the year, hosted the 1992 PGA Club Professional Championship, 1989 Senior Skins Game and 1985 World Cup.

The popular Pete Dye layout wrestles with all different challenges, having two very different front and back nines.

"The course starts out moving back and forth around water," says Chris Hanns, head golf professional.

Starting out, very few trees top the course, delivering a wide-open landscape. Water on many of the front nine holes creates beautiful contrasting colors with the rocky slopes surrounding the course. After the first few holes, the course becomes very tight, folding along the base of the mountain.

While the spectacular view pushes back towards the Santa Rosas, the holes become almost too close for comfort. Tee boxes kiss other greens, and side by side fairways could cause tension for golfers to be accurate with their shots. The layout opens back up again after making the turn.

Hanns says, the beauty of the back nine gets people coming back again and again. "You literally play right into the mountainside the whole back nine," he states. The feeling of the course changes completely as the fairways start winding into the mountainside creating, my ever so favorite, elevation changes.

Nothing but rocks in-between tee box and green creates a very unusual 16th hole. Besides the natural beauty of the area, spectacular homes line the fairways. At number 14, Hanns' favorite hole, golfers tee off directly towards the mountain, casting beautiful shadows on the emerald course surrounded by desert homes shooting back into the mountainside.

"The mountains are the back drop off the tee box," Hanns said. Every home is unique in style, sporting enormous windows to bring in the spectacular view.

La Quinta consistently ranks in Golf Magazine's "Top 100 Courses You Can Play" in the United States. Hanns says that beginning golfers will have the most trouble on the course.

"The traps are very deep, getting up and down is very important." Even then, Hanns says, the short game is very critical. "Keeping the ball on the green is very challenging, they have a lot of undulation."

La Quinta Resort

The La Quinta Resort provides the type of desert getaway fantasized about in old movies. Palm Springs represents the "Golden Era" of Hollywood, and La Quinta models the luxurious surroundings the stars used to inhabit. Stars such as Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis, William Powell, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn, Clark Gable, and Errol Flynn have paid Palm Springs a visit.

The resort was built in 1926 for recreation and relaxation amid an atmosphere of exclusivity and privacy, and years later became Frank Capra's inspiration for It Happened One Night.

The deluxe accommodations offer 16 different types of rooms, 42 pools and 51 spas all spread out over the desert property. Only in Palm Springs can guests indulge themselves in the pleasures of both indoor and outdoor spa. Relaxation therapy under the stars, offers several different luxuries including a celestial shower. The award winning Tennis Club is consistently rated in the "Top 10" by Tennis Magazine.

Guests can play on 23 courts of hard, grass and clay surfaces. 10 courts are lighted for night play. A fully stocked Pro Shop and Olympic-sized pool and spa surround the historic Clubhouse, once a gracious estate.

Kelly SaulKelly Saul, Contributor

Kelly Saul received her B.A. in Broadcasting from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. After graduation in May 2001 she moved back to her native home of Los Angeles to work for NBC in Burbank.

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