Desert Willow Resort (Firecliff): Discussions

38-995 Desert Willow Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92260 • (800) 320-3323





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TOPIC: Desert Willow Resort Firecliff Review: 6-2006

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JohnnyGK
Desert Willow Resort Firecliff Review: 6-2006

JohnnyGK

GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    December 30, 2002


Favorite Golfer:
    GK'ers
Favorite Golf Course:
    Cascata


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Monday March 2, 2009 2:16 PM
Desert Willow Golf Resort is a 36 hole facility owned by the City of Palm Desert. Desert Willow features 2 championship layouts, Mountain View and Firecliff, both of which utilize the same clubhouse and facilities, and both of which present a stern challenge to the golfers lucky enough to treat themselves to a round or two.

Firecliff at Desert Willow is the longer and more difficult of the two courses. The reward you earn for accepting this challenge is a spectacular golf course that can compete with any of the best in the area. At 7,056 yards from the tips, be prepared for a golf course that plays even longer due to some of the yardage given up at two short par 4s: 6 and 15. 7 of the 10 two-shotters are 420 yards or longer from the blacks, and 6 holes are over 400 yards from the blues.

Just because the course isn't easy by no means it's no fun. In fact, quite the opposite is true; Firecliff is a great example of a course that both gives and takes away. There are short par 4s that the longer player can drive, and short par 3s that the most modest length hitters will still have, at most, a mid-iron in their hands on the tee, both of which help you at least momentarily forget the long irons and fairway woods you've hit into some of the greens on holes prior.

Likely the most striking feature you will immediately notice, especially if you're coming off a morning round at Mountain View, is the bold bunkering Firecliff features. Essentially, Firecliff is a big brother to Mountain View in the most senses of the term: the holes are longer, the bunkers are bolder, and the water hazards more imposing. One thing that's important to point out, though, is that despite its reputation as one of the Coachella Valley's most difficult courses, full of hazards, forced carries, and generally unfriendly to the high-handicapper, Firecliff is neither unfair nor overly frustrating. Out of the courses I've played in the area, Firecliff probably more than any other reminds me of the high-end daily-fee facilities in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area in all the good ways, while avoiding the overly penal, target-oriented tendencies that make some of those courses a bit over the top.

Whether intentional or not, I found the conditions at Firecliff, probably most noticeable on the greens, to be slightly better than Mountain View. However, the same general trends appeared at both. Like most other desert courses this time of year, the greens are finishing up their transitional phase into Bermuda grass. The result for now are putting surfaces that are receptive to all types of approach shots, both full and partial. The consistent downside across all 18 greens is that the grain and slight inconsistencies within the greens make putting a challenge. I've seen much worse in 110+ degree heat, though, so it's nothing to worry about too much. Everyone knows you can't expect pool table-like bentgrass in a Coachella summer, and these greens will probably result in you making a putt or two that you thought you missed, and scratching your head when that perfectly struck 4 footer doesn't scare the cup.

Desert Willow is a beautiful facility. The clubhouse is modern, clean, comfortable, and well run. My only suggestion for improvement would be to add a few more selections to the grill menu. Assuming you're okay with either a deli sandwich or a hot dog, kick back and enjoy the place because Desert Willow is the kind of facility that feels like it's straight out of the high-dollar daily fee facility pedigree that Scottsdale and the greater Phoenix area practically birthed in the 90s. From the included and unlimited balls on the practice range to the large putting green and chipping area, to the personal attention the starter pays to each group, to the beautiful and luxurious clubhouse looking down over the 9th and 18th greens, Desert Willow is doing a lot of things right. Don't worry too much about choosing one course over the other - chances are you'll be back to play the second at some point…and if you're daring, loop it and play both in the same day - it's well worth the time.
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JohnnyGK
RE: Desert Willow Resort Firecliff Review: 6-2006

JohnnyGK

GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    December 30, 2002


Favorite Golfer:
    GK'ers
Favorite Golf Course:
    Cascata


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Monday March 2, 2009 2:17 PM
Hi Everyone,

As you know GK as gone through many changes over the years. One of those changes has been the elimination of Greenskeeper.org Surveyor Reports to a more user generated content system. Instead of letting these older reviews disappear, I’ve decided to add them as permanent fixtures on the site in the discussions sections. Feel free to share your comments about them.

The review above was written by Ryan Simper (rsimper). Ryan is a low index golfer with some exceptional writing skills. He was a big part of the early days of GK getting quality content posted and helping golfers decide where to play.

Ryan, if you still chime into GK since moving to South Carolina, many thanks my friend.

Johnny
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GK FACEBOOK - Please check it out - CLICK HERE - I'm doing fun posts all the time.
 Message #19854 - This was a reply to message #19853

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