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GOLF COURSES IN CALIFORNIA

While Palm Springs features amazing spas and shopping, for women that love golf, the Gary Player Signature Course at the Westin Mission Hills, the Desert Willow complex and TPC Stadium are just three golf options that make Palm Springs a great bachelorette party destination for ladies interested in golf.

California's Palm Desert Country Club has undergone a miraculous transformation in recent years. For years, this course stood out as one of the biggest eyesores in the entire Coachella Valley, one of the "dogs of the desert," so to speak. Now it's one of the better-conditioned courses in the whole region, and it's still very much a budget play in a town where green fees can have you dipping into the kids' college fund.

California's Trilogy Golf Club at La Quinta has been home to the LG Skins Game for the past four years and has hosted a little known golfer named Tiger Woods - but Trilogy isn't resting on its laurels. Trilogy stands on its own, giving regular golfers great course conditions and a fun round. It is a course worth working into any Palm Springs trip and one of the best values in the desert.

The Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa in the Palm Springs area is often advertised as a golf resort, which is true. If the golf was any closer, the 18th green of the Pete Dye Resort course would play out in the living room. But don't typecast Mission Hills as a one-trick playpen. This is an equal play opportunity resort. Name the sport and this place has it - plus a spa and the famous Westin Heavenly beds.

Golfers camp out over night in the Torrey Pines parking lot Sunday night after the tournament to secure tee times for Monday. It is the only day of the year that Torrey Pines doesn't take advanced tee times. Most folks attend the final day of the Buick, and then just camp out. The course is left in the exact same condition as it was for the tournament. Residents can actually play at Torrey Pines for as little as $28, but out of towners will thrown down close to two bills. Between the two courses, over 100,000 rounds are played annually.

The South Course was recently revamped. All 18 greens were flattened and enlarged, and some of them were moved. Sixty bunkers were added and new tee boxes were built to lengthen the course for Championship play. For the Buick Invitational tournament the course will play to par-70, as No. 6 and No.18 will be long par fours. The entire 4th hole is placed closer to the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Buick Invitational Overview
When: Thursday, Feb. 7 - Sunday, Feb. 10
Where: Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla, Ca.
Champion: Phil Mickelson
Purse: $3.6 million
Winning Share: $648,000
Winning Score: 269
Yards: 7,033 South/6,874 North


After a number of successful years of operation in the greater Phoenix Arizona area, ProSwing Golf Academy recently signed a contract with J.C. Golf Resorts of Southern California. This contract provides a significant expansion for their golf school operations, as well as their individual private instruction now being offered in the San Diego area.

Even though the PGA West Stadium Course was designed by Pete Dye to be the toughest golf course of all-time, the tee-time sheets are booked heavily when the temperatures lower in the California desert. Talk about a challenging weekend. You can tee it up at the Stadium Course and the other venue of the 2002 Tour Qualifying School -- the PGA West Jack Nicklaus Course. Only the top 35 and ties get promoted to the PGA Tour from this nerve-wracking week at PGA West. At least you won't have that kind of pressure. And while you are in town, for variety sake, travel over to the 36-hole Cimarrón Golf Resort for a more affordable round with excellent service and one of the USA's best short courses.

In the 2000 Q-School Cliff Kresge gained instant recognition. During the final round he was toiling over a menacing long par putt, backed up just a little too far and tumbled backwards over railroad ties into a lake. Kresge climbed out, missed the putt and made bogey. He trotted briskly to the clubhouse, put on his rain pants and finished the 108 holes of competition at 18-under par, good for his tour card.

This year's tour school included three rounds on both the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course and the Stadium Course. These layouts are stern tests of golf but the Stadium Course played about two strokes tougher.

The Stadium Course is one challenge after the other. But No. 17, Alcatraz, is stunning. It plays 168 from the back or 83 yards from the front and is much like Sawgrass' No. 17 island green. During Q-School the pros say it is just as brutal as is its sibling at Sawgrass, especially with the high tension and pressure. Some say the green at PGA West may even be tougher and a fraction smaller. On days when the green is firm you will see many balls in the water.

  • Golfing at Pismo Beach
    Try out a new set of woods on one of area's world-class golf courses. Black Lake and the Avila Beach Golf Resort are with in ten minutes of Pismo Beach. Pismo Beach even has it's won 9 hole executive course at Pismo State Park.
    Avila Beach Golf Resort (805) 595-4000
    Pismo State Beach Golf Course: (805) 481-5215
    Black Lake Golf Course: (805) 343-1214
    Cypress Ridge: (805) 474-7979