Indian Wells Golf Resort's Celebrity Course -- Spectacular views in the desert

Text by Jeffrey A. Rendall; Images courtesy of Indian Wells golf resort (back nine) and Photos by Jeffrey A. Rendall (front nine)

INDIAN WELLS, CA – “One of the best compliments we’ve received from a guest is that the Celebrity Course was the most spectacular course that he’s played that’s not on the ocean,” remarked Indian Wells Golf Resort’s Head Golf Professional, Rolland Vaughn.

It’s safe to say there are a great many spectacular golf layouts in California’s Coachella Valley area – and none of them are near the ocean -- but Vaughn’s guest’s description may have touched on the uniqueness of the Celebrity Course, which shares the Indian Wells resort property with its slightly younger sibling, the Players Course.

Though it’s true that nearly all desert settings are somewhat ‘limited’ in topographical variety and original landscaping, they also provide a nice tableau for golf architects to create something beautiful and memorable. 

British architect Clive Clark has certainly done that at Indian Wells, creating a stunningly picturesque eighteen holes with large sculpted bunkers, undulating fairways, flowing water in the form of streams, brooks and split-level lakes connected by striking waterfalls and sloped greens that not only please your eye – they’ll keep you interested throughout your journey around the course.

There also are no homes lining the fairways or condos overlooking the layout, which provides a type of ‘core’ golf experience that is virtually non-existent in the sprawling golf-crazy desert communities. People like to live near golf, which is understandable – but at Indian Wells, golf takes precedence.

Accenting many of the holes is beautiful flowering desert plants as well – which almost gives the resort a ‘private club’ feeling to it. Add in the limitless views of the Valley’s surrounding mountains, and it makes for an experience that you won’t soon forget.

Television golf producers must have noticed these qualities in the Celebrity Course, as Indian Wells served as the site of the 25th Anniversary LG Skins Game in 2007 and again the following Thanksgiving weekend in 2008.

The Celebrity Course is perfect for a professional event of the Skins variety, offering many risk-reward opportunities for birdie possibilities. It’s also resort-friendly for the ‘average’ player, as you would expect, and the five sets of tees will ensure that you find a distance that’s suitable for your game.

Indeed, Indian Wells is the only 36-hole facility to earn Golfweek’s ‘Top 20 Courses You Can Play’ designation in California – and when considering the depth and breadth of public golf in California, that’s an honor that can’t be ignored.

Here’s a glimpse at what you’ll see at Indian Wells’ Celebrity Course:



Like most holes on the Celebrity Course, the par four 3rd hole offers plenty of room to land your drive -- but that doesn't mean you can hit it anywhere, as the drive sets up the second shot.

At 501-yards from the back tee, the par five 4th hole would appear simple for long hitters -- but you'll have to fly this pond to reach the putting surface if you go for it in two.

The view from the tee of the long and challenging par four 5th hole offers a multitude of different looks -- and it's probably best to consult your yardage book to find the optimum place to aim off the tee.

A trickling water feature awaits anything pushed too far right on the par three 6th hole, but the putting surface is large enough to provide a very safe target.

The short par four 8th hole invites players to try and get as close to the green as possible off the tee, but misses will be punished.

From behind the green of the par four 10th hole, the setting sun illuminates the beautiful surroundings.

The spectacular par five 14th hole provides a number of landing options for your second shot, but be mindful of where the 'safe' spots are.

You'll need to shoot the gap between the fairway bunkers to leave yourself a manageable second shot on the long and difficult par four 15th hole.

It's wide-open in front on the par four 17th hole -- but with the beautiful landscaping, your gaze will probably be in back of the green.

As you'd expect, the par four finishing hole is another classic on the Celebrity Course -- and you'll certainly want to come back for more.

Indian Wells Golf Resort’s Celebrity Course
44-500 Indian Wells Lane
Indian Wells, California 92210

Phone: (760) 346-4653; Fax: (760) 340-1035


Course Designer: Clive Clark
Head Golf Professional: Roland Vaughn, PGA


Cabernet          7050    74.2/138
Blue                 6632    72.5/132
White              6029    69.9/124         
Green              6029    75.6/137 (L)
Red                 5316   71.7/128 (L)


Peak rate for the 2010 season is $155. Rates vary according to the season and time of day – consult the Website for current information.

There are stay and play packages offered through the four luxury resort hotels located on the Indian Wells campus (Hyatt Grand Champion, Renaissance Esmeralda, Miramonte Resort & Spa and Indian Wells Resort Hotel).

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