Monday, September 04, 2006

Desert Golf Vacation: Skin Like Leather and Hands on Fire

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


Day Five:

This morning when I woke up it was fall out of bed and then cradle to the bottle of Advil.   I think I had just about had all of the sun I wanted.  My hands were so rare from picking up hot golf clubs and rakes in the bunker.  My eyes were so dry that they were just absorbing the Visine as fast as I could drop it in.  And thirsty…Two 16oz bottles while I am shaving and I was still dry.  Talking about cotton mouth…well I think you get the picture…I was dehydrated to the max.

There were a number of things we have learned about playing golf in the desert and the one we started to get in a habit about was putting on our sunglasses before we left the room.  It was kinda like what the welders do just before they would strike an ark…slap the visor down and then BANG…a light brighter than the sun.  The sun in the morning is even brighter in the desert

This morning we had a tee time at the Desert Falls Country Club in Desert Falls and we were in full survivor mode.  We loaded up all of the bottle water we could get into a golf bag, the sun screen in another bag and even extra towels to wet down while we played.

When we got to the Desert Fall Country Club around 8AM the temp was already in the low 90’s.  The forecast for that day was a high of 106…so we were well on our way for a hot round of golf.

We strolled through the Pro-Shop to check in.  They directed us to the driving range and we were off.   No messing around…it was too dam hot.   A few minutes later we heard on the public address system our names and a call to the tee.  It was show time.

Since we had been there we could not really tell what the course looked like. All we could see were roofs houses and townhomes.  Little did we know that what we would see after the first hole was one of the best maintained golf courses we had played during this trip.

From the first tee that was a dogleg left to a green over a pond we started to see that golf course was cut down below the grade of the houses.  This made a spectacular view from the houses of the golf course.

Each tee box was at grade and each shot was to a fairway carved through the residence creating kind of a valley look.  Every once in awhile there would be a bunker on top of a hill just where you were supposes to hit your shot.  The greens were usually sloped back to the fairway making some of the approach shots like throwing a dart…but that all changed when we made the turn.

The back nine was shorter but had more water hazards.  The par threes had huge greens making the view from the tee play with your mind on what club to hit.  The large greens made the hole look like it was much closer and impossible to know the slope since they were so large.  Here was where local knowledge came in handy from the couple who played with us.  They were members of the club and helped us not only know were to hit, but how to survive the heat when you got to the bottom of the fairways.

I noticed during the front nine that our partners would not dive down in their carts to the fairway until they got even with their tee shot.  They would stay up along the edge and then swoop down make their shot and then back up to the edge along the houses.  There was a reason…at the bottom of the fairway the heat was hotter and there was not much air down in the below grade of homes.  Our partners would stay up where there was a breeze.  Local knowledge is good to have on this course.

The finishing hole was spectacular.  A long par five where you had to blast a drive close to three very tall palm trees standing on the corner of the dogleg left.  If you made the shot you had a chance of going for the two tiered green that had a pond in front of it.  If you did not, you would have to lay up for your approach shot.  The pin that day was on the side of the transition from the upper tier and the lower tier.  A putting nightmare…

The Desert Falls Country Club was a middle aged club with nothing real special about the clubhouse.  The membership was friendly and we really enjoyed the company of our new friends Iris and Charlie…where Desert Falls was their second home.

We parted with good byes to our new acquaintances and headed back to the Westin to plot out the plan for our attack on finding the best martini in the Palm Springs area.

After a quick shower and a reload on the Advil we were off to find something to numb the sunburn and sore hands.  As we drove back down to the Canyon Highway (Hwy 111, where everything was) we decided to go back to the Pacifica for happy hour and to see if the $ 7 martini’s really were as good as they were our first night.

Looking at clock it was just 3PM and the happy hour did not start until 4PM.  So we walked around the shopping at the El Passé and went into some of the upscale shops.  Mainly just to get out of the heat….106 degrees.

Ding, 4PM and we were standing outside of Pacifica.  Walking in we thought we would be first, but no, there were people already belly up to the bar.  We took a seat and ordered up a couple of martinis.  Looking at the menu they had a Fish Taco that looked like it would hit the spot, so I ordered one up.

About the time I put my order in along came the owner, Mitch.  He recognized us from when we were there three nights before and shook my hand and really made us feel at home.  Then came the Martinis.  Small but lethal. 

I had mine with Tangerray ‘10’, dirty and straight-up.  My wife, Cosmo, with Grey Goose with a twist of lime.   Perfect, nail hit on the head, in Hog Heaven…and all of those other corny cliché’s.  The fact is both of these $7 martinis hit the 3 on the three olive meter.   Then here come the Fish Taco….what a great dish.  It had grilled Salmon and Tilapia with lettuce and hicjuma in a corn tortilla.  The perfect stack to have with a martini.

Since we did not come for dinner we enjoyed our drinks and left to do the shopping trip to Ladies Golf.  A little ways down the way was an upscale golf store for women.  A very upscale store to say the least.  My wife checked out the sale racks while I checked out the golf shoes.  I really like what they are doing with ladies golf shoes.  They are a lot sportier than men’s shoes and Ladies Golf had shoes you don’t see anywhere…and we have been everywhere.

Naturally my wife picked up a few things and she was ready to go.  She wanted to find a place she had been referred to that had the best deals in the Palm Springs area, Pete Carlton’s…  So we were off.  We drove back down Hwy 111 and walked into Pete’s place wondering what was so special about this joint….and I use joint lightly because it looked like the walls were going to fall in any minute.

But after being in the shop no more than a minute we found out why there were a bunch of people shopping.  Everything we put our hands on had some unbelievable prices.  Foot Joy Dry-Joy All leather Classics   $186 regularly, $325…  Ashworth shorts $19, regularly $49.  and the list went on.  Looking around to find my wife to let her know what I had found she was gone.  I wondered around looking for her when one of the ladies in the ladies department said she was in the fitting room.  A minute later my wife came out with an arm load of clothes. 

We had to cut the shopping short because it was 6PM and they were closing…needless to say, we were coming back before we left the area.

Overall, this had been the best day we had.  Great golf, met some great friends, had the best martini, a new dish to eat and two places to shop for women.  Now it was Marie Callandars time again….I have to have that Banana Cream pit…what, still don’t have it…OK, Coconut Cream again…

A lot more to come on.  Stay tuned for our last golf day in the Palm Springs area.


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  


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