Best Golf Courses To Play Golf In Palm Springs For Under $50

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The city of Palm Springs is a lovely desert oasis that has steadily been turned into a lush and green golfer’s paradise over the course of the last 60 years. The population is less than 50,000, but the area is often filled with many more than that as a result of it being a destination for vacationers all over the United States. Palm Springs is most frequently visited by folks from the Los Angeles region, as the two cities are separated by just over 100 miles. The area definitely has an upscale vibe, but a number of excellent golf courses charge surprisingly low rates, even on the weekends.

According to the wildly popular board game Trivial Pursuit, Palm Springs has the highest number of golf courses per capita in all of the continental United States. Aside from the fact that water is naturally scarce, it almost seems as if the universe intended for the area to be covered in fairways and greens, and the commercial realtors and course designers of the region have been more than happy to turn beige into green. Regardless of your age, status or social background, a golfing trip to Palm Springs is a must for anybody that considers themselves an avid golfer. Here are four excellent 18-hole experiences that can be played for less than $50.

Cathedral Canyon Golf Course

Whatever your religious affiliation, Cathedral Canyon Golf Club will have you singing the praises of the golfing Gods, as the rates are some of the most affordable in all of Southern California. They are currently in the midst of a long-running deal that allows anyone to access the impressive terrain during any time of the day for only $18. You might think that such an offer would pack the pro shop and tee boxes on a daily basis, but the course is seemingly immune to backups as a result of its massive layout and long, aching fairways. The folks in the pro shop are polite, informed and more than ready to address any situation that may arise.

Cathedral Canyon features a long par-5 as its opening hole that allows for a slim chance at birdie, but all but the most refined golfers will be highly satisfied with par. The first hole establishes the theme for the course, which is massive green fairways lined with tall and beautiful palm trees. The plant life and trees species on the course have had more than 50 years to grow into form, and the course is currently in the most beautiful condition it has ever been. Immaculate finger-shaped ponds and lakes come into play on nearly every hole and serve as a constant reminder that you are in the middle of a genuine golfing paradise.

The best scoring opportunity on the front nine is likely the 508-yard par-5 5th hole, which can be reached in two shots by all but the shortest hitters. The 6th, 7th and 8th holes are all medium sized par-4s that reward accurate pitches and short iron approach shots with good looks at birdie. Cathedral Canyon is the perfect place to bring along a camera, although the swift pace of play might not allow for many opportunities to snap views of the nearby mountains and the bevy of aquatic beauty that dots the landscape.

The course is a tidy 6,505 yards, but it features three back nine par-5s that make the trip seem anything but short. One hole after another provides challenges and views that typically cost much more than the price of a large pizza. Given the layout, location and condition of the course, it is no exaggeration to say that Cathedral Canyon Golf Club is one of the single best values in all of Southern California.

Cimarron Golf Resort - Boulder Course

Located less than a mile to the east of the Palm Springs Airport, Cimarron Golf Resort is efficiently spread out along a strip of land that almost exactly parallels the airport's main runway. The 6,858-yard par-71 course is as challenging as it is beautiful. Flanked by the San Jacinto Mountains to the east, the course offers a view of the occasionally snow-capped desert peaks on every single hole. ESPN, Zagat's and Golf Digest have all sang the praises of the Boulder Course, which costs only $49 to play on a weekend afternoon.

The round begins with two medium-sized par-4s, and two pars are well within reach as long as you avoid the large sand path that extends through the middle of the course and a handful of fairways. In the winter months, the sand becomes saturated with rainwater and can actually turn into a small stream that can turn a dry hazard into a water hazard overnight. Even so, the course handles water efficiently and can often be played in well under four hours in the winter months, when the crowds are typically thinner than during the mild springs and autumns of Palm Springs.

The best scoring opportunities at Cimarron are the 4th, 6th and 15th holes. The 4th is a 347-yard par-4 featuring an open fairway that is willing to be a bit forgiving on slightly mis-hit tee shots. A medium-sized green is surrounded by sand but can be accessed easily from any angle of the fairway. The 6th hole is a par-5 that measures just over 500 yards from the back tees. While the tendency may be to over swing a driver in order to be get into a position where a medium iron can result in a clear look at birdie, any players that can get a ball past the 250 yard marker and onto the short hairs will be in an excellent position to shave one stroke off their round.

The turn brings golfers back around the clubhouse and the lovely restaurant, which offers excellent breakfast burritos that can be purchased after putting out on the 9th and devoured before teeing off on the 10th. The standout feature of Cimarron is its greens, which are kept in excellent condition year round. In fact, the surfaces are so firm and even that pitching wedges that get close to the pin from about 120 yards out often don't even leave a ball mark. Each cart is equipped with GPS, which serves as a virtual caddie and can often shave a few strokes off of any round.

Desert Princess Country Club

The Desert Princess Country Club has quickly become a favorite destination of golfers all over Southern California for its elegant layout, its friendly staff and the fact that a free hot dog comes with every round. The course offers a summer rate which allows a golfer to walk the 18 holes during peak time on a weekend for only $30, but normal rates get no higher than $50. The course actually borders the Cimarron Golf Resort along part of the property's west side. Somewhat surprisingly, Desert Princess takes a dramatically different approach in terms of course design and layout.

The course actually houses 27 holes, and the starters and staff orchestrate the comings and goings of foursomes with the effortless precision of an orchestra maestro. The El Cielo course translates to "the sky" in English, and folks who look upward while watching shots soar through the air will be treated to views of the stunning backdrop provided by the San Jacinto Mountains, which lie to the immediate east of the golf courses. Los Lagos and La Vista courses are also available options. All three courses begin with par-5s that measure around 550 yards, so whatever your choice in locale, make sure you are well stretched out before you plant a tee in the ground.

Just over 300 condominiums and large houses are strategically placed throughout the grounds, suggesting that the neighborhood and the course sprang up simultaneously. The owner of this course also owns and operates a few in the Los Angeles area, and Desert Princess Country Club lures folks from the City of Angels to Palm Springs on a regular basis. On a recent outing, the author was paired up with a man who woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning and drove an hour and fifteen minutes to make a 6:30 tee time. After sinking an impressive 30-foot putt for par on the 1st hole on the Los Lagos course, he admitted, "That was worth the drive right there."

A local socialite hosts an annual tournament that raises funds for various charities at Desert Princess Golf Course, but aside from those four days it is very easy to land a tee time on this course, especially considering its high ratings in every measurable category.

Mesquite Golf Course

This 6,312-yard par-71 course is creatively fit into a rectangular-shaped plot of land only a few stout drives away from the Palm Springs Airport. Although it isn't the greenest and most lush course that exists in the area, the pace of play is brisk and the course features three or four long and skinny ponds that won't intimidate anybody, but are prepared to punish wayward shots on four or five of the course’s 18 holes.

The course features six par-3s and five par-5s, which can be very alluring for players who are especially long off the tee with their drivers and accurate with their short irons. The course record of 62 is a testament to the fact that folks who get hot can roll in a very low number at Mesquite. The dryness of the short fairway grasses allow for players to make excellent contact while trying to hit a fairway wood onto the green for a legitimate look at an eagle.

Like an overwhelming amount of golf courses in the Southern California area, Mesquite begins with a par-5. It is a long and straight yet birdie-able hole guarded by a series of medium-sized oaks that create a thin alleyway to the small oval green. Small oval greens are an ongoing theme on the course.

The second hole is a highly demanding 224-yard par-3 equipped with two sand traps that punish approach shots that stray too far left or right of the green. The 3rd hole is a 535-yard par-5 is guarded on the left side of the fairway by a large pond and on the left of the green by a two-pronged bunker. After a challenging 188-yard par-3 4th hole the course eases up a bit, allowing a couple legitimate opportunities for birdie on holes 6 and 7.

A decent amount of out of bounds areas exist, making accurate shots a must in order to keep scores low on both the front and back nine. Many golf courses in Palm Springs also benefit from the fact that highly amateur players that are known for clogging up city courses with slow play aren't found in this land of the entitled and retired. From a landscaping standpoint, Mesquite isn't the best course you will find in Palm Springs, but the layout is challenging, the pace of play is steady, and the rates are very reasonable.

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