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Palm Springs Golf


If you’ve been following my photo posts from my recent trip to Palm Springs, you might surmise that we did anything but golf on our golf trip.  Actually we did indeed get some golf in, and as usual for me, some of best shots on the course came not from an iron, wood, or putter, but rather from my camera.  🙁

Since getting my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 last year, I’ve grown quite fond of using it to take golf course photos.  I do enjoy taking golf course photos quite a bit. If there’s no one behind you that you’re holding up, or if you’ve got some slow playing folks in front of you, it’s particularly enjoyable.  Using a DSLR can be challenging on a golf course; a point-and-shoot camera is just quicker, and I don’t have to worry about damaging or loosing my expensive DSLR equipment on the course.  Sure, the picture quality I’m used to from my DSLRs isn’t there , but these photos are mostly for my personal enjoyment.  It’s an acceptable trade-off for the intended purpose.

The first course we played while in Palm Springs was Desert Willow:

In terms of the quality of the facilities and the course, Desert Willow was probably the best course we played while in Palm Springs.  Everything from the club house to the golf carts was absolutely top notch:

My son particularly enjoyed the wildlife prevalent on the course – lots of roadrunners and jack rabbits.  Here’s a view of the course from the back patio at the club house:

Desert Willow has two fantastic 18 hole courses – the challenging Firecliff  course, or the smoother, more relaxing Mountain View course.  Given that this was my first round of the year, “smoother and more relaxing” sounded good to me, so we played the Mountain View course.  Here’s some of the better photos I got from the course – just click on the photos to see a larger view:

I surprised myself and shot a 99, which under normal circumstances would have been great for me for a season opening round.  But for playing a new course with rented clubs and having had shoulder surgery about three months prior, I was greatly pleased with a 99.  Anytime I shoot under triple digits, it’s a good round.  🙂

Here’s some iPhone video footage from the round:

The next course we played was Marriott’s Shadow Ridge:

Now on the wrong day, you can get some incredibly strong winds on a Palm Springs golf course, and this was one of those days.  Shadow Ridge was a step down in the quality of the facility from Desert Willow, but still outstanding.  And the best part is, kids 15 and under golf FOR FREE and have reduced club rental fees.  This Nick Faldo designed championship course would have been tough under normal circumstances (deep sand bunkers, and small greens) but the wind was playing havok with my game.  After an ego-crushing 59 on the front nine, we decided to call it a day.

Our final golf round while in Palm Springs was played at the Westin Mission Hills course.

The Westin Mission Hills course (not to be confused with the Mission Hills Country club just around the corner, which is home to the Dinah Shore classic course) has two 18-hole signature championship golf courses – one designed by Gary Player, and the other by Pete Dye.  We chose the Gary Player course.  It was pretty chilly that morning (about 50 degrees) when we started playing, and a little breezy.  But after an hour, it warmed up nicely and we shed our long sleeves.  Again, I’d rate the Westin Mission Hills facility below Desert Willow, but this was our most enjoyable round of the trip.  I got pretty hot on the front nine with a streak of pars, and finished the day with a 92 – an outstanding score for me given I’ve never broken 90.  Here’s some photos:

This course really felt well within my ability level (which means a good player will find it pretty easy) and I really enjoyed it.  Here’s some video footage from the course:
All three courses were only about 10 minutes from the condo we rented – and we didn’t even scratch the surface of all the golf options we had.  Palm Springs is considered the golf capitol of the world for good reason.  I’m happy we got to play three of the top rated courses in the area, but am looking forward to going back and trying a few more.

I hope you enjoyed the photos!

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. John,

    My office and studio is less than a mile from Desert Willow!

    I hope you are still replying on your site..,I got kicked off USN, too!!

    Badge of Honor… In case you have not noticed they use the word “Honor” way too much!



  2. You’re a lucky guy to have such a great office location! Congrats on the banning from USN – crazy place!


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