|Culture with Camoluscious Gally||
This view of the Desert Dunes Golf Course in Palm Desert, California shows the clubhouse from the ninth hole with the huge complex of windmills used to generate electricity in the area. It shows that at times the winds in the area make this a much more challenging course. When we played, a light breeze kept us cool in the cooler spring morning. While at times the course features wide open fairways, these often narrow down with desert landscape on both sides. The good news is the desert landscape offers many sightings of wildlife, even if it eats your balls.
The above picture features some of that desert landscape midfairway, just in case the Robert Trent Jones, Junior designed course isn't tough enough. You can see that there are moguls and hills everywhere that usher your ball into the desert. Most of the desert animals are friendly cottontail bunnies or jack rabbits or squirrels. The birds are quiet, our only spotted ones were a yellow-crowned sparrow and a roadrunner who posed glamorously and a Red Tailed Hawk soaring overhead. More fun was the spotted back with narrow tailed California Ground Squirrel. Play moved fast so we didn't have much time to really examine all we saw. This photo hides some of the superb landscape on the golf course, so I will provide more examples.
This particular photo above offers a view of the golf course I had most trouble with namely the sandless traps that guard most of the greens. They didn't stint on traps and didn't make them shallow. The winds, we were told, suck the sand out of the traps on a regular basis. So they tend to be hard pan mucky holes that require you to pick the ball out. The better plan is to not get into them. To do this, plan your shots carefully. Don't hit a long shot to get on the green, it will rarely happen. Instead, play to make a short chip onto the green and carefully place your fairway shot so it ends up on the fairway.
Don't be surprised to find the Desert Dunes Golf Course has a lake in the middle. The above photo shows their signature 17th hole with the beautifully xeriscaped gardens behind next to the natural desert.
One of the most pleasant aspects of Bay Tree National Golf Club is that while challenging, many features of this course makes it a win for newer players. The fairways tend to be wide near the tees on most holes. Although there are many lakes and traps, these tend to be harder to get into. My husband and I played here recently and only had one or two golf balls roll into the palmettos. The wide fairways can be a relief for newer players who hit hooks or slice from the tee. If your first ball hits fair, that's half the battle.
A few of the back nine holes have narrower fairways and more of the trickier shots. Some holes require the golfer to hit over ditches so chipping up is sometimes needed. A couple of the back nine holes have hills along one side. The first time I played here it was in late summer so I worried about rolling out of bounds. I thought, hit high on the hill, the golf ball will roll down. This doesn't work. It's far better to avoid the hills, my husband and I found there was plenty of room for the golf ball to land away from the hill as the fairways opened up down range. The last hole features a real surprise, you hit toward the green and have to drive way around a small lake before walking onto the green from the back. It's a fun golf course with a lot of variety in how your ball lies and with a lot of scenic views. Located in Melbourne, Florida, 32940, it is near I-95. For a better view of how the golf course plays, see the video below.
The golf club has a good restaurant with friendly help.
I feel bad about writing a review about offseason golf in Auckland, New Zealand because we were playing golf during a long period of drought. The Formosa Golf Course kept their greens well watered but many places the grass had turned brown. This is always good for a nice roll so all is not bad. Formosa Golf Course had many touches of Asian gardening that added color to the course and I chose this golf course because it offered scenic views.
The hole pictured above is one of the course specialties. It's a short par three downhill and if you miss the green, well, you're down on the mucky tidal beach below. To make it more difficult, the green is sloped to the side and it is a large green so that even if you land on the green with your drive, you still might have many long putts. The view however is spectacular. For a first taste of New Zealand golf it offered lots of birds, views, plant life and challenge.
The first challenge we encountered was our lack of car. We thought, no problem, take a taxi. The taxi driver was willing to wait at the course and earn the return fare for no extra gas, but the cost of play was much less then taking the hour to and from drive from our hotel in Auckland. Live and learn. This wasn't the case for most New Zealand golf because after this, we had a rental car.
The above hole was my favorite with exotic trees to look upward at, lots of sand, and some large zen stones in a sand garden along the side, or maybe that was a slightly different one. The course plays with lots of uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies. It features many sand traps, many views of the coast and bay, and several large duck ponds.
The course is somewhat more challenging for women than for men. The clubhouse is large with friendly staff.
The video below shows a better view.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
Sheri loves to golf, travel and to write.
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