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California Golf Getaways: Rugged Coastline vs. Desert Oasis (Pebble Beach vs. Palm Springs)

By Sean Petersen

If you're considering a golf trip to a warm weather destination, what should you choose - coastline or desert? What should you expect on each type - link or desert courses? How do you prepare, and where do you find the best on and off-course experiences? Here's a brief guide.

Both coastline and desert golf courses have unique characteristics, and some players (primarily inexperienced ones) may not be aware of the differences. Although links and parkland golf courses are the most commonly found in the US, in the past few decades, desert courses have been popping up like cactus flowers in areas with an arid climate.

Course Style and Difficulty

Desert golf courses are built amongst the dunes and natural desert features, but not all desert courses are created similarly. Just as parkland and links golf can differ, the same can be said for desert courses, as the scenery, the climate, and the vibe can vary quite a bit. The central aspect these courses have in common is that they're carved out of a harsh, arid environment. The grass on these desert courses is found on the tee box, fairways, and greens.

One of my favorite desert golf destinations is the Plam Springs area, mainly because of PGA West, home to nine iconic courses, five clubhouses, and two private golf clubs.

Playing a Palm Springs desert course for the first time can be quite intimidating. Holes often look like a tiny sliver of the fairway with lots of sand, rocks, and cacti awaiting errant shots. The courses are well-maintained, primarily high-end, but there are also exceptional municipal courses affordable for residents.

The main rule in desert golf is to stay on the grass, whether fairway or rough; do not look for your ball if you hit it in the desert. Besides cacti spines, scorpions, tarantulas, and rattlesnakes can beckon an urgent call to the paramedics. If you do play your ball out of the desert, which is certainly an option if you find it, with all sorts of rocks on top of and buried in the sand, you're risking damage to your club.

That's why experienced desert golfers carry an extra iron designated for these shots. Another aspect you should be aware of is hydration. The climate is arid, which can lead to dehydration, so drinking plenty of fluids is essential. Speaking of weather, it can be surprisingly cold, especially in the early mornings and evenings. Wearing sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen is a must, as the sun is typically more intense than you realize, especially when you have your focus on the game.

Locating alongside the ocean is a spectacular asset for any golf facility, and these courses continue to attract golfers worldwide. The coastal landscape shapes golf courses in a unique way, resulting in dynamic environments that present many challenges. Adapting to the coastal environment is a continual process for the golf courses, often in a faster and more significant way than they planned.

Pebble Beach is one of my top-rated coastal golf courses, and it barely needs any introduction for golfers. It is one of the best-known courses in the world, and unlike many top-rated courses, Pebble Beach is open to the public. The course boasts tricky holes defined by predominantly small greens, which proves to be quite challenging, especially when the wind blows in from the Pacific and plays havoc with tee shots.

Scenery and Aesthetics

Palm Springs is considered one of the most beautiful desert golf destinations (if not the most attractive). The mountains surrounding the courses are the highest of the usual desert golf destinations. There may even be snow on the peaks in the winter and spring, making breathtaking views. There's something profoundly relaxing in contemplating the rugged beauty of the desert. The tranquil environment and lack of noise pollution give you a chance to escape from the chaos of a hectic lifestyle and immerse yourself in the serenity of the present moment.

Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, overlooking the Pacific's rugged Carmel Bay, Pebble Beach is renowned for its fantastic link location. It is considered one of the most beautiful golf destinations in the world, with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean at every step (or hole). Playing this coastline golf gem never fails to impress; it gently improves your mood and overall well-being. The sound of the waves and the salty air works like rejuvenating balms, and taking in the vast expanse of the ocean between two shots promotes calm, mindfulness, and enhanced focus.

Activities and Attractions

Palm Springs's luxurious golf resorts provide a swanky desert oasis atmosphere second to none. The top-rated golf resorts in the Palm Springs area were created with exceptional golf and luxurious vacations in mind:

- La Quinta Resort and Club
- Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, Indian Wells
- Courtyard by Marriott Palm Springs
- JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa
- The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa

Fitness is essential for golfers; therefore, most resorts have sports facilities where players can take their fitness goals to the next level. Add the luxury spa facilities to the mix, and you'll have everything you need for a relaxing and regenerating vacation. Foodies, wine, and beer enthusiasts will also be delighted by the vast array of on-site restaurants, food trucks, cafes, bars, and elegant clubhouses.

Despite its stellar reputation, Pebble Beach is open to the public, and the easiest way to reserve a tee time is to stay at Pebble Beach Resort. Golfers can choose from four lodging options: the Lodge at Pebble Beach, Casa Palmero, the Inn at Spanish Bay, the Fairway One Guest Rooms and Cottages.
If staying at the resort is out of the question, golfers can reserve their tee time only 24 hours in advance.

Vacationers can also enjoy an array of leisure off-course activities, including wine and cheese tasting, off-road excursions, tennis, archery, pilates and yoga classes, hikes, and tours to the local ranches.

Make the Best Out of Your Golf Vacation

Premier golf has always been the cornerstone of Palm Springs resorts, providing players and guests with a lavish desert oasis vibe where everything was created for great golf and rejuvenating experiences. If you're looking for challenging yet rewarding golf rounds, booking fully customizable Palm Springs golf packages is the perfect way to enjoy a genuinely exceptional, hassle-free golf getaway.

What better place to enjoy stunning ocean views and the thrill of your favorite game than California? The Pebble Beach Resort blends world-class golf with fantastic recreational experiences to make your golf vacation unforgettable. Whether you plan a trip to Pebble Beach to perfect your golf skills or need an escape from your hectic life, the Pebble Beach golf packages can be custom-tailored to suit your lifestyle and preferences.

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Revised: 03/20/2024 - Article Viewed 1,472 Times

About: Sean Petersen

Sean Petersen

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