By Larry Bohannan
The Desert Sun
PALM DESERT - As home of the Drysdale Hall of Fame Golf
Classic, Desert Falls Country Club will challenge the
games of great athletes who may or may not have great
golf games. But Desert Falls is one of the courses in
the desert that also challenges a professional golfer's
The course earned a 145 slope rating from the back tees,
putting it among the five highest slope ratings in the
Coachella Valley. But the back-tee difficulty shouldn't
scare the average player away from the course, said
Ray Miller, director of tournaments at Desert Falls.
"They made this course with five sets of tees on
almost every hole," Miller said. "Our signature
hole, No. 14, can be played from 218 yards or 137 yards.
That's how they set the tees up."
The difficulty comes from lots of sand, plenty of water
and a series of demanding par-3s.
The bunkers might be the most prominent feature of Ron
Frehm's design. Holes like the par-5 fourth and the
par-3 sixth have massive bunkers, while virtually every
hole has at least one strategically placed trap.
"The sand traps are not only many, they are huge,"
Miller said. In fact, I kind of bite my tongue when
I say this, but some people get into a trap and they
can't get it out, because they just go from one trap
While most courses have a single signature hole, Desert
Falls features three such holes. The par-3 14th, at
170 yards from the white tees, is among the toughest
in the desert. The massive green is 18,000 square feet,
in essence three greens in one. It is protected by bunkers
to the front and back.
The ninth hole is a tricky par-5 that can tempt longer
bitters into going for the green in two over a lake.
The hole shares a double green with the par-4 18th,
a demanding par-4 at 437 yards with the green protected
by more sand and water.
The lake and waterfall in front of the large double
green are the most imposing water on the course. But
water also comes into play on the first, 10th and 12th
Desert Falls is one of the many courses in the desert
to switch from bent greens to bermuda in the last few
years. Desert Falls made the change last summer, and
the bermuda greens were in place for the Drysdale event
last year. With one full year of growth, the greens
should putt even better than last year.
"The greens are just absolutely perfect this year,"
Miller said. In fact if you remember the humidity we
had this last summer, they almost seemed to thrive on
Desert Falls is also known for its unique site, which
allows for views of almost the entire valley.
"The vistas you get from every tee are beautiful,"
Miller said. "They say it's one of the highest
points in the desert. There isn't a tee you can't look
around the valley from."
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