Reviewed by: mendel, Santa Monica
Played the Dunes course Sunday 4/23 as a twosome with a buddy, 8:30 AM tee time. We played the silver/whites in warm (mid 90’s) sunny light winds. We finished in 3:50 (could of been less with a threesome in front of us who was nice to ask if we wanted to play through, but it was great weather so we decided to take our time.
The Dunes is a Pete Dye course that doesn’t get much respect, as parts of the course plays through a wash before finishing with the final 4 holes close to the Santa Rosa Mountain. This is a typical Pete Dye course though, small raised greens, with drop offs and mounding around. Accuracy is key here. Laying off the driver is the play for many holes here. They have “softened” the course somewhat in taking out quite a bit of elephant grass, that used to eat your ball just off some fairways, but now is primary rough.
The course is in nice shape. The tees were lush, and level. The fairways were fairly lush. Hitting from the rough is fair but penalizing as the ball tends to sit down in it.
At one time the 17th hole was rated the hardest par 4 in Southern California. If it still isn’t, I think it should still rank right up there.
The small greens definitely are undulated, but the speed is a tad slower than say Silverrock. Although some greens seem a little thin, they roll true. They are almost completely recovered from their spring aeration. Shots from the fairway hold, but approaches from the rough have a tendency to roll off the greens. For the most part though they held full shots well and putted fairly smooth with medium fast speed. The traps were decently maintained, and the ones I did visit, especially a few of the green-side bunkers, had plenty of sand.
The customer service was excellent from both the Pro Shop & the Starter. Drink cart gal was very pleasant and around numerous times. Free range balls included with your round, and a great practice area, with grass tees, bunker and chipping practice area. There is a putting green near the first hole, in addition the carts, have a GPS.. Of all the La Quinta/PGA WEST courses, the Dunes is considered a step child (especially to the stadium). I think that is due more to the layout of the course through a wash and some housing close to some of the fairways. The course is just as challenging as any of the other more advertised courses in the Palm Springs area, and do recommend you consider it when in the La Quinta/ Coachella Valley area.