Review and Rating of Marriott's Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert California
Six-time major champion Nick Faldo designed a fantastic 18 holes of golf at the Marriott Shadow Ridge Vacation Club. Shadow Ridge was Nick's first US design and it draws some of it's inspiration from the great sand-belt courses of Australia, most noteably Kingston Heath and Royal Melboure. Faldo states that "I sought to design a course that not only tests a player's skill but also him imagination and character. I wanted to take resort golf to another level." He certainly accomplished that goal! Some of what makes Shadow Ridge well worth playing from our perspective includes:
Marriott's Shadow Ridge is characterized by wide sweeping fairways, extensive bunkering, and challenging green complexes. In fact, the course puts a premium on the approach shots to raised greens that are guarded by some steep and deep bunkers. Miss the putting surface or hit a steep slope on the green and your ball will invariably roll into a tightly mown collection area or into a greenside bunker. Once you're on the green, two and three putts can be common thanks to the slope, tiers, and contour of the greens.
Some of the holes that we really liked included:
Shadow Ridge is meticulously maintained and manicured and in near perfect condition from the tee boxes to the greens. The fairways are lush and plush, generous off the tee box, and have plenty of slope and contour. All but a few a homeless (some on the back place through the Marriott's vacation villas) and lined by trees, native brush, or natural sand. The rough was cut thin and playable.
The greens at Shadow Ridge define the course - they are pushed up, well guarded by some nasty bunkers, and have some combination of slope, undulation, tiers, and ridges. They are soft, hold the ball well, and run true (if you can read some of the subtle breaks) and at a good speed of around 10. Most are good sized and they range from 24 to 40 in depth.
The bunkers are strategically placed in the fairways and around the greens. Most are huge, multi-fingered, and steep faced. The good news is the sand is light and fluffy and a joy to hit out of. You'll also encounter lots of natural sand areas.
Rates: $99.00 to $129.00
The clubhouse is very upscale with a full sevice restaurant, mens lockrooms, fitness center, and well stocked pro shop. The service is very good and the practice facilities are excellent.
Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating
The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this: links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses!
All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course. In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40. We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.