Course name: The Vintage Club Mountain Course
Hole info: No. 16, par-4, 405 yards
Course address: 75001 Vintage Drive West, Indian Wells
Pro shop number: (760) 862-2076
Of note: In the 1990s, this hole was named the toughest No. 16 hole in the desert as well as the most beautiful 16th hole in the desert by The Desert Sun.
Playing tip: The drive is important, but to succeed on this hole a golfer needs to hit a terrific second shot into a green that appears much smaller than it really is. Going over the green is a massive mistake and will lead to double bogeys.
Course name: PGA West TPC Stadium Course
Hole info: No. 17, par-3, 166 yards
Course address: 56150 PGA Blvd., La Quinta
Pro shop number: (760) 564-7170
Of note: Lee Trevino made a hole in one on this hole in the 1987 Skins Game worth $175,000
Playing tip: Aptly named “Alcatraz” this is as visually intimidating as any hole in the desert. It is a big target, but there is little room for error on the hole. And the drop area to the right isn’t much of a bargain, either.
Hole info: No. 18, par-5, 646 yards
Course address: 34600 Mission Hills Drive, Rancho Mirage
Pro shop number: (760) 324-9400
Of note: This is the original course at Mission Hills and was for years known as The Old Course.
Playing tip: From the back tees, this is as big and tough a par-5 as anyone could want. From the forward tees, the key is more about getting a solid drive between bunkers to the right and a lake to the left to set up a clean second shot.
Course name: Bighorn Golf Club Mountain Course
Hole info: No. 15, par-4, 505 yards
Course address: 255 Palowet Drive, Palm Desert
Pro shop number: (760) 341-4653
Of note: This course hosted the Skins Game from 1992 to 1995, with winners including Payne Stewart, Fred Couples and Tom Watson.
Playing tip: Just hit your drive for all that it is worth. Only a pro or long-drive champion could reach the small wash at the end of the fairway. But the second shot, still downhill, to the green is dangerous too.
Course name: The Quarry at La Quinta
Hole info: No. 17, par-3, 223 yards
Course address: One Quarry Lane, La Quinta
Pro shop number: (760) 777-1100
Of note: This is currently the only course in the desert listed in Golf Digest’s famed Top 100 Courses in the Country list.
Playing tip: A big and spectacular par-3, the elevation on this tee shot can divert your focus from the true danger, the lake to the right. If you are hitting a lot of club here, aim left and be happy to find land.
Course name: PGA West Palmer Private Course
Hole info: No. 17, par-3, 130 yards
Course address: 55955 PGA Blvd., La Quinta
Pro shop number: (760) 564-7100
Of note: The Palmer Course was the second of the six courses to open at PGA West, preceded only by the TPC Stadium Course.
Playing tip: This is nothing but a short iron from any of the tees, but the rocks to the right and the canal to the left makes this a tight squeeze. Be concerned with the center of the green, not with the location of the pin.
Course name: Eagle Falls Golf Club
Hole info: No. 11, par-4, 269 yards
Course address: 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio
Pro shop number: (760) 238-5633
Of note: This is one of three courses designed in the desert by La Quinta-based architect Clive Clark.
Playing tip: An aggressive shot must still be careful not to go past the green and end up in unplayable brush. Playing to the left edge of the green is the best line for those attempting to drive the green.
Course name: Mission Lakes Country Club
Hole info: No. 11, par-4, 427 yards
Course address: 8484 Clubhouse Blvd., Desert Hot Springs
Pro shop number: (760) 329-8061
Of note: This hole is one of the highest in elevation in the desert at 1,200 feet.
Playing tip: Only the biggest hitter can aim left and clear the desert brush and wash to get to the left fairway. More likely from the back tee you need a 200-yard shot to the end of the traditional fairway, and then another 200-yard shot to the big green.
Course name: Tradition Golf Club
Hole info: No. 17, par-4, 360 yards
Course address: 78505 Old Ave. 52, La Quinta
Pro shop number: (760) 564-1067
Of note: Tradition Golf Club was built on the grounds of an old La Quinta date ranch named Hacienda del Gato.
Playing tip: What might at first seem an illusion from this tee is not really an illusion at all. You need to hit a lot of club off the tee, maybe even driver, to assure you clear the bottom of the mountain. Don’t forget about that big beach bunker and lake to the left, either.