Desert Willow’s Eco Reputation Ranks High

When it opened 12 years ago, Desert Willow Golf Resort was the result of years of intricate planning and attention to detail by the City of Palm Desert. Putting its name on the map as one of the finest municipal facilities in California, let alone Coachella Valley, Desert Willow’s consciousness of its resilient desert surroundings has brought acclaim to its two 18-hole courses.

A Golf Digest Best Places to Play winner, the Desert Willow’s Firecliff and Mountain View courses began with a plan that embraced the desert landscape and respected the fragility of natural resources necessary to maintain the course. The City of Palm Desert hired Dr. Michael Hurdzan, who has a doctorate in plant psychology and is an industry authority in golf course environmental issues, along with Dana Fry and PGA Tour player John Cook, to undertake its layout vision.

Local landscape architect Eric Johnson was also brought on board to make the facility environmentally sensitive and full of color. The courses use reclaimed water and indigenous plants to limit water usage and conserve maintenance resources. The resort’s design and use of recycled water have earned it two awards from the Southern California chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, including an overall Award of Excellence.

The Firecliff Course makes use of more than 100 bunkers and waste areas; other areas are covered with decomposed granite pebbles to cut down on natural erosion. The Mountain View Course, on the other hand, has a more player-friendly layout, boasting water features and wider landing areas from the 6,913-yard tees. Both courses have hosted the SCGA Desert Team Play Championship.

--From FORE Magazine, May/June 2009