Classic Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.5

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Palm Desert, CA
Website · Book A Tee Time

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Classic Club Review

Review & Rating of Classic Club in Palm Desert, California

Classic Club creates a new spin on desert golf with rolling terrain, wide landing areas, 30 acres of lakes and streams with cascading waterfalls, 67 white sand bunkers, lush fairways, velvet smooth greens, 14 bridges,  an abundance of pine trees, rolling terrain with several elevated tee boxes, colorful landscaping, and pine straw ground cover.  Classic Club is the perfect example of why I keep playing golf:

  • the layout is a blast to play and each hole is a little different from the other holes
  • it's very scenic with ponds and creeks and waterfalls, lots of trees and colorful fauna, and three mountain ranges creating a beautiful backdrop
  • the course is challenging but fair for all skill levels
  • the conditions are near perfect from the tee box to the cup and the course is well-manicured and maintained
  • it's a first-class operation from the stunning clubhouse, to the pro shop, to the gourmet restaurant, and to the carts with soft leather seats plus the staff is friendly and outgoing

Classic Club was designed by Arnold Palmer, is managed by Troon Golf (one of the best in the golf industry!), and was a host site of the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Bob Hope Classic.  It's not surprising that since opening in 2006, Classic Club has received several awards and prestigious accolades, some of which include:

  • Best of Desert Golf by California Golf & Travel Magazine
  • America's Top Golf Courses by Zagat Survey
  • Best Places To Play from Golf Travel
  • Best State-by-State Courses You Can Play according to Golfweek Magazine
  • Top 5 New Public Golf Courses in America by Golf Digest
Classic Club has six sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 4219 to 7322 yards and from the tips you'll have a challenging round thanks to elevated tee boxes, water on 13 holes, several doglegs, raised greens, 67 strategically placed bunkers, and fast challenging putting surfaces that require careful study to read the breaks.  The course plays a little longer than the yardage card states because you need to shape some shots but the landing zones are generous, just don't miss them.  That said if you don't bite off more than you can handle, if you study the GPS and greens, and if you can avoid the bunkers, you'll have a very fun and enjoyable round.
Every hole, including the par 3s which are stunning, are unique and a joy to play.  Some of our favorite holes included:
  • #1 is a beautiful 408-yard par 4 with a clear blue pond and cascading waterfalls along the left side, two big bunkers, and snow-capped mountains framing the back of the green
  • #4 is a fun 568-yard par 5 with a carry over a pond from the tips, a dogleg left along a contoured fairway with 6 bunkers, and a slight uphill shot to the green with big left and right side bunkers 
  • #11 is a 450-yard dogleg right that requires some shot-making to avoid the water along the entire right side and the two big fairway bunkers which pinch the fairway and your second shot needs to carry the water in front of the green and miss the left and right bunkers
  • #13 must be the signature hole - 162-yard carry over a pond to a big green with a huge back left bunker and a cascading waterfall along the right side - colorful flowers front the green
  • #18 is a fantastic finishing hole and the #2 handicap thanks to an elevated tee box, a dog right fairway around a lake that goes from the tee box to the green and 8 fairway bunkers to avoid

The Classic Club fairways were in near perfect condition when we played.  Most of the fairways are generous off the tee box but can get a little tight after that.  All the fairways have a wide and playable rough that was cut thin when we played - miss the rough and you're wet or in the natural area.  There are several elevated tee boxes, lots of water and bunkers to avoid, and some doglegs left and right.

The greens at Classic Club were also excellent - velvet smooth, fast, and true, but challenging to read the subtle breaks.  Bunkers, water, steep drop-offs, and natural areas around the green put a premium on the approach shots.  The greens are a variety of shapes and range in size from 25 to 43 yards deep.

Speaking of bunkers, there are 67 of them that you need to avoid.  Some are huge, others are small, and all have excellent soft deep sand.  The faces range some a few inches to some steep and deep monsters!

Bottom line - a must play if you're in the Palm Springs area

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,322 75.8 144
Blue 6,229 71.0 129
White 5,782 68.7 125
Gold 6,711 72.9 135
Red 5,279 71.9 132

Course Information

Course Architect:
Arnold Palmer
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 13 holes and the 67 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.5 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$90.00 to $165.00

Service is first class, the clubhouse is spectacular, the restaurant is top-notch, the pro shop is well stocked, and the practice facilities are good.



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! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

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.