Indian Wells Golf Resort: A Municipal Course Suprise

By: Leslie K. Hughes - Mar 11, 2023

When I think of municipal courses, I think about courses that are great to play, but are no-frills – where you go when you want to play a round of golf that won’t break the bank and may not include the bells and whistles you see at a country club.

But when I visited Indian Wells Golf Resort in Palm Springs, my idea of a municipal course was turned upside-down. Both courses on property are technically municipal, and I didn’t believe it until I verified with the pro shop. The caliber of these courses rival some of the top private courses in the country, if not the world.

Before you even step foot on the Celebrity or Players Course, you see from the massive 53,000 square-foot clubhouse the oasis spread before your eyes – 36 holes of sheer beauty with the iconic Santa Rosa desert mountains behind. It feels like every hole on these courses was meant to be photographed, and I basically did just that.

Play: The Celebrity and Players Courses

Though both courses are incredible, the Celebrity course takes the cake. I couldn’t help but pause and listen to the flowing water in the streams and split-level lakes as I passed them between holes. It brought me back to a place of peace after struggling on the greens with far more putts than I should’ve had. And the greenery is quite stunning as well; the exotic plants throughout the course are something you wouldn’t expect in such a dry climate, but happily enjoy.

The Players course doesn’t have quite the “wow” factor that the Celebrity course does, but it is still a top municipal course for me, and many others. This one has a more classic feel to it, but with about 50 more bunkers thrown in. I spent more time in this course’s sand than I’d like to admit, but that didn’t stop me from having fun.

For an even more unique golf experience, I tried out the resort’s Shots in the Dark for some nighttime fun. Hitting glowing golf balls at the driving range proved to be incredibly fun, especially when you have the food truck’s brisket to enjoy between shots. There’s even a live DJ. Also part of Shots in the Dark is putting games, complete with lasers and lights to guide you, and an iPad to keep score. Because golf isn’t golf without a little bit of friendly competition, right?

Eat: The Vue and the Food Truck

Truth be told, I’ve never been a big food truck girl. Most of the options feel less-than-healthy and inevitably end up giving me a stomachache. But the food truck at Indian Wells GR is yet another example of something here that completely changed my mind.

I gave the food truck a try the night before our first round and ate the best brisket I’ve ever had. Shoutout to the resort’s Chef Juan for a food truck meal that made me regret ever having any doubts.

The food truck serves up a convenient breakfast in the morning before heading out for a round as well as quick food on the turn to hole 10 on the Celebrity course.

When you have time to sit down and enjoy a meal, the clubhouse offers up tasty eats with a view at its bar and grille, The Vue (aptly named). The hanger steak was my favorite, and I ordered it multiple times while here. Part of the fun of the Vue was watching the players come in from their rounds and overhearing the stories of their day out on the course.

Stay: Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

Within the Indian Wells Golf Resort are two different options for hotels. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells and was blown away at how luxurious it felt. From the moment I pulled up to valet to the minute I checked out at the end of my stay, the service and attention to detail were top-notch.

I had the pleasure of staying in one of the resort’s penthouse suites (yes, there is more than one penthouse here). It provided an 875-square-foot room complete with a living room, a king-sized bed, a massive bathroom, and most importantly, jaw-dropping views of the Celebrity course and my favorite mountains.

I was too busy golfing to enjoy the water park, lazy river, fitness center and spa at the resort, but I took a quick peek at them and they all looked worthy of logging some serious hours at.

The convenience of staying at the resort right next to the golf courses is ideal. You just walk out the door of the hotel, through the parking area, and you’re at the clubhouse ready for a great day on the course.

Whether it’s just you or a group of 200, Indian Wells GR is an incredible place to play, eat and stay. There’s something for everyone here, no matter what level of golfer you are.

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