Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Desert Golf Vacation: Let the Party Begin!

 (Following is the third of a six part report on golfing in the Palm Springs area in the summer.)


Our third day started off a little like the second day with arriving at the wrong Pete Dye Golf Course we were suppose to be playing.  I understand that there are a bunch of Pete Dye Golf Courses in the area, but to have two courses called the Pete Course next to each other at two different facilities names Mission Hills really tested my consciousness at 8AM (6AM Texas time).

So with Starbucks in our hands we jumped into the car and drove about three hundred yards to the Mission Hills Country Club where we were greeted by a security guard that did not have our name on the gate access sheet.  He asked us to call the pro-shop to validate who we were…yes, you read this correctly, we were suppose to call the pro-shop and ask them to validate who we were and let the security guards know by sending him a message. 

After his lengthy debate with my already irritated wife on the merits of his wisdom, he opened the gate and let us through.  A wise decision on his part since he did not want her to get out of the car…believe me…nobody gets in her way from play her favorite country club, and more importantly, in her way from shopping in her favorite pro-shop…

The golf professional advised us that we had a choice of playing the Pete Dye course that is in rough shape since the Tournament (Dinah Shore) had been closed for several months for reconditioning forcing them to put their entire membership and guest on the Dye course. 

He suggested that we might want to play the Palmer Course, which is Mission Hills Country Club’s Third course. Of course we were up to playing a course we never played so we agreed it would be fun and started to saddle up to play the Palmer Course.

After walking down the two flights of stairs to the ground level we got to the carts where we were met by a very friendly Aussie who gave us the run down for the day.  ‘Hav ya played the Palmer before mate?’ My quick reply of ‘Nope!’ tipped my hand to him that I was Texas… and from that point on we hit it off.  We received some advise on the 12th hole of it being a ‘bit of a bonker so keep the wicket sticky when you cut the corner’…when asked to translate that it came out as, ‘Really make sure you rip your drive if you are going to cut the corner of the lake on the 12th hole.  A little something to look forward to mate.

Looking down the first fairway did not rally tell us what we were going to be getting into.  Plus, the Sun was starting to get up over the roofs of the houses…so here we go…Desert Golf.

By the time we got to the fourth hole the sun was getting up and the heat was come on.  A quick reapplication of sun screen and downing of another bottle of water got us going again.  But little did we know that we were just in for the beginning of a REAL HOT day.

By the time we got to 9th hole we found out what the golf professional was saying about cutting back on staff for the season, because the halfway house was not open.  So, it was the bottle water and the ice in our bucket for the rest of the round.

Then we came up on the 12th hole that my mate told me about.  At first looking down the fairway I was trying to locate the green.  About that time one of the carts from the group in front of us darted off to the right and saw them climbing the next tee box.  Stepping out into the fairway confirmed my assumption that the green was to the far right but it also confirmed that there was water in front of the green.  Stepping back to the tee I then looked to see a huge bunker sitting to the corner of the dogleg about 235 yards.   Over it was a fairway going to the right.  No problem mate. 

I pulled out the big dog and stroked a real nice drive that I thought was over the bunker.  Strutting down to my ball the scene quickly changes when a Lake appeared in front of the bunker and a lake on the right side of the bunker and stretching around the bunker where my ball was laying in the lake…

Sticky wicket huh?  It would take about a 265 yard drive with all carry to make over the bunker and the finger of the lake to hit the fairway.  I quickly questioned if this hole was designed by Palmer or did Pete Dye sneak over one night while they were building this hole and do his wizardry of placing invisible hazards you can’t see from the tee?  I can only wonder about that.

Making my drop I shot a dart into the three feet of the pin and tapped in for a bogey…making me even more aggravating since where I dropped was probably a three iron from the tee…OH well, greedy will always get you into trouble.

We finished up the round just in time.  The asphalt surface of the parking lot was just staring to soften just enough so if you stood in one place too long you were going to lose a soft spike if not an entire shoe.  The temp was well over 100 degrees as we loaded up the clubs.

After a wonderful lunch we drove back to the Westin where I immediate passed out for about an hour before it was shopping time again.  But before I started on that adventure I wanted to know where we were going to eat dinner.  A short discussion resulted in us deciding to go to the Arnold Palmer. 

How fitting after being ate a live on the 12th hole of the Arnold Palmer Course at the Mission Hills Country Club, we are now going over to Arnies’ place to eat.  If there is an Aussie meeting me at the door telling be to watch out for the meat loaf I am leaving…

But before we ate we have to do the shopping thing…so we headed over to Rodger Dunn’s.  We had fond memories of our last visit to Roger Dunn’s eight years earlier where he had mountains of discontinued Foot Joy all leather Classic golf shoes for penny’s on the dollar of the retail value..

Rodger Dunn’s was located at the same place  Date Palm Hwy and 111 Hwy.  But that was the only thing that was the same.  When we walked in the door we notice that there was something different…there were no people in the store.  The mountain of clearance shoes was replaced with a display of about 20 pair of shoes in sizes none humans could wear.  13EEE or 5 ½  AAA   What happened? 

Well none of the guys working there had any memory of what the place looked like before since they had only been working there for a few months.  What a shame, we left and did not see a thing we wanted.

Well Arnie’s Place, here we come…  Just entering the door you know you are at Arnies Place.  There is a photo of Arnold hanging on every wall that documented his very long career.  He was pictured with every player you could think of and there were golf bags with his name on them everywhere in the bar.  A really great place.

But the food was what I will remember the most.  After playing in the heat all day a good meal of normal food and vegetable really sounded good.  So I had he Pot Roast, which I was told was Arnie’s favorite but I questioned it since that was our waitress told the couple next to use about the Beef Stroganoff.  

The wine list was vast with all the wines from California….but I was in a mood for a martini…which they said was the best in town.  So my remark was …Bring them on!

In a few minutes comes a great martini.  On a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being outstanding…it was a 7.   Since I like my martini dirty straight up, they tipped the olive juice a little too much, but the flavor was excellent for a REAL dirty martini.  No complaints but I am still looking for the best martini in Palm Springs…

The evening closed with a very nice drive back to Rancho Mirage from La Quinta.   And then it was off to bed to get ready for the next Desert Golf adventure…the Indian Wells Country Club in Indian Wells, CA ..the Classic Course…Stay tuned. There is a lot more to this vacation.


Scot Duke,  President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping businesses improve their marketing strategies. As author of: How To Play Business Golf, Mr. Duke outlines the steps to sucessfully using golf as a business tool.  To learn more about Mr. Duke, IBGS or to purchase How To Play Business Golf visit  http://innovativebusinessgolf.com  


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