Desert Golf Vacation: Bring On the Sunscreen

(Following is the fourth of a six part report on golfing in the Palm Springs area in the summer.)

Day four…the muscles are getting sour and the sunburn is getting redder.

To give you an idea of the heat we were dealing with during this trip, as we stepped out of the hotel room to go to the parking lot, our sunglasses fogged up. Yep, the morning humidity mixed with 92 degree temps at 7:30AM, hitting the lens of our sunglasses, that had been sitting in the air conditioned room all-night, fogged them like a frosty mug..and provided us with our first of many challenge for this day, which was being able to drive in the desert without sunglasses on. The day before, we learned not to leave your sunglasses in the car overnight unless you wanted to barbeque the bridge of your nose for breakfast…

Our drive over to Indian Wells Country Club for our fourth round of golf was shorter than we expected. But this time Indian Wells was expecting us. No problems with the gate guard or the pro-shop…because there were no other members at the facility. We had the whole place to our self…well, for a little while anyway.

Having not ever been to Indian Wells CC all I knew about the club was that it was one of the five clubs used for the Bob Hole Desert Classic. They have two courses there, the Classic and the Cove course…the Classic was the course we were playing.

When I walked into the massive men’s locker room I quickly was hit with how involved Mr. Hope was at the Indian Wells facility. Along the 300 yard long hallway that lead to different smaller rooms of lockers were photos from every one of the Bob Hope Desert Classic that was held there.

It was quiet impressive…too bad they did not provide the lady’s locker room with any of these amenity.. Maybe they will move into the 21st century like the other clubs in the area have done.

Our tee time came as fast as the rise in the temperature outside. Again, my wife and I had the tee to ourselves. Having not ever played the course before, the first hole was a little visually challenging. Even with our defogged sunglasses on we were not able see exactly were to hit the first shot. There was a nice size lake was to the left and a guy standing in the shade in the rough on the right hitting a driver into the driving range. That was all that outlined the fairway.

Since I really did not want to cause any bodily injuries to anyone on my first shot I politely pulled my drive into the lake away from the fool on the right. My wife, determined to not let the guy who was flaying away with a driver about 200 yards to the right off the forward tees, bother her. She hammered a drive that was like the shot the navy would makes over the bow of a ship to gets its attention. It was not close to the guy, but the concussion from the vortex the ball produced as it shot through the air, along with the very vociferous FORE I yelled, seem to wake the guy up to the fact that he was not the only person I the world that morning.

Now our second shot was just as interesting because now we could NOT see what was between us and the green. Looking at the yardage book was like looking at a Sponge Bob Square Pants story book. It told us nothing about the 50 foot deep river bed that was 150 yards across just in front of the green.

With the shot we need to make to hit the green being over 200 yards we yanked out the fairway metal and experience how playing below sea level affects the distance we can it the ball. We both watch our ball disappear short of the green.

The short drive over to the edge of the river revealed what we had to deal with next. Even though the bottom of the ravine was freshly cut it still did not make the 100 yard shot straight up to the green an easy task.

When we finally got to the first green, the cart path seemed to be taking us back to the clubhouse. It was one of the many times I said…what tha…? Man, if there was any place that really needed to offer caddies, Indian Wells is one of them. At least off the first tee. The tee box for the second hole was back across the ravine and across a busy residential street where the residences were all trying to go to work…

Starting on the second hole was where we continually found that our Texas 240 to 265 yard drives now only traveling 190 to 200 yards. This made our second shots on every hole on the front nine massive shots to get close to the green. And the par five became a slug fest of at least four shots just to get to the green.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were some very pretty holes that played right up against the mountains. On one hole we actually attempted to hit a shot over a part of a mountain stuck out into the fairway…of course both of us hit the mountain since we didn’t have a club we could hit long enough and high enough to get it over the dam thing…

By the time we got back to the clubhouse our sunglasses were fogged up again, but this time it was not from jumping from the cool air to the humid heat…it was from the heat under our collars when we added up the score on the front nine.

After a short stop for a cool towel, we hit the back nine. Here was the second time I said… what tha…?? When we arrived at the 10th tee all of the sudden the course was backed up with the members. You could tell they were members because who else would be out on the golf course driving a cart that looked like a Humvee.

We found out a few days later that the back nine of the Indian Wells Classic course was the side of the course the members played in the summer since it had shorter holes and played quicker. Since the clubhouse and pro-shop was closed, we were kinda on our own for the back nine.

There was nothing we could do but to sit back and enjoy the back nine. And we did… The back nine was much more enjoyable to play. We were able to hit greens in regulation with the length of the holes on the back.

About three holes out we found that we again were the only people on the course. From what I could tell there must have been a shotgun start event on the back nine because the people in front of us, and the rest along the way, all packed up and headed to the clubhouse. They left so fast that I had to look at the clock to see if it was 4:30PM yet…that is when the Chicken Fried Steak buffet started for senior over 65…( a little local humor).

The best hole was the last…the 18th monster par five, going back to the clubhouse started from a very elevated tee box with the mountain on the right and trees on the left. I bombed a drive that stayed in the air for so long that we actually were able to power up a digital camera and take a picture of the ball before it hit the fairway…a real pretty hole. Of course my wife politely out drove me.

Working our way back up to the elevated green we notice the green was snuggled up against a patio where the members can sit and enjoy drinks from the bar that was about five paces off the green. I could just imaged Bob Hope sitting out there telling jokes with his friends and watching the players come in. What a wonderful club to play at…

But our day was not over yet. By the time we got off the course the temp was way up there. Getting back to the Westin was a snap and getting in the shower to cool down the sunburn I had was my first priority. It did not matter how much or often I put sunscreen on, the sun was just baking me…it was definitely Martini time…

Our stop this time was to try out a place in Rancho Mirage, which I have a hell of time pronouncing….. Haleiwa (Hale-a-way-a) Joe’s. We kept driving by the place which had one of the most interesting building we have every seen. It looked like it was dug into the side of a mountain and had a Hawaiian theme.

Taking a look at the menu we were somewhat disappointed at it being so ordinary. So we tried out the martinis. OK, I will say they tried. I will give them credit for trying, but the wine we had with dinner was much more enjoyable than the martini…I am giving them a 1 on the 3 Olive Scale for their martini…

Now, on the other hand, the Mango salad was absolutely the best salad we had for the entire trip. That was all we wanted for our dinner that evening since that night we were going to Marie Callandars’ for the long awaited Banana Cream pie…but since they didn’t have any…I has to settle for second best the, Coconut Cream Pie…

Oh to be on vacation in Palm Springs where you start our each day with Heat and spraying on sunscreen and end it with Martini’s and Coconut Cream pie….

There is more to come, we have two more days left of the vacation and the adventure does not let up for a minute…stay tuned.

Scot Duke, President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping businesses improve their marketing strategies. As author of: How To Play Business Golf, Mr. Duke outlines the steps to sucessfully using golf as a business tool. To learn more about Mr. Duke, IBGS or to purchase How To Play Business Golf visit



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