de Anza Desert Country Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.3

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Borrego Springs, CA

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de Anza Desert Country Club Review

Review & Rating of de Anza Desert Country Club in Borrego Springs, CA

Located on the edge of the 600,000-acre Anza Borrego State Park and at the base of the Santa Rosa and San Ysidro mountain ranges, de Anza Desert Country Club has been offering great desert golf for over 50 years. The course was designed by Lawrence Huges and it plays along a trail forged long ago by Spanish Colonist Juan Bautista de Anza and for years de Anza Desert Country Club has been a  desert hideaway for Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Lon Chaney Jr., James Dean, the Rat Pack, and Burgess Meridith and it was the favorite course of golf legends such as Sam Snead and Billy Casper.  The course is private but allows public play on certain days and times.

de Anza Desert Country Club is a traditional '50s style course with straight forward holes that play through a wide variety of trees (eucalyptus, olive, and more) and 3 varieties of palm trees.  In most cases from the tee box, you can see the pin and what you're up against.  You'll need to avoid 46 bunkers, most of which guard the greens, and ponds with water fountains on four holes. 

The scorecard has four sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 5557 to 6778 and a rating of 113 to 127, plus there are three combo tee boxes.  Which means the course is fair for players of all skill levels.  Pick the right set of tee boxes and you'll have a very enjoyable, relaxing, and fun round. 

de Anza Desert Country Club puts a premium on your approach shots and putting skills.  The greens are relatively small (30 to 41 yards deep), fairly fast, have a fair amount of back to front slope, and are guarded by two bunkers expect for 3 greens which only have one bunker.  The greens were in near perfect condition (a few had some minor damage but that didn't impact putting), are soft, true, and smooth with little to no undulation. 

The fairways at de Anza Desert Country Club were also near perfect.  All of the fairways are lined by trees and palms and typically have homes on one side.  If you spray the ball you'll be able to find it and chip or worm burn it back to the fairway.  Or you may end up in a parallel running fairway and still have a recovery shot.  There are 13 fairway bunkers but they seemed easy to avoid.  Water is on four holes, two of which may require a carry.  The mountains frame the course and seem like there are right on top of you - couple that with the palm trees swaying in the breeze, some pretty homes, and the lush conditions all of which make for a very scenic round.  Keep an eye out for a ditch that crosses several fairways!

The 46 bunkers are typically small, long, and skinny.  The sand is excellent - soft, fluffy, and deep and a joy to hit out of.  The lips are small and in some cases, you may get lucky and roll in and back out - but don't count on that!

Some of the holes that we liked included:

  • #1 is a 392-yard par 4 which sets the stage for your round with a fairly tight tree-lined fairway, bunkers on the left and right side of the green, and towering mountains that seem to leap out at you as they form a semi-circle around the green
  • #3 is a pretty 211-yard par three that requires a carry over a sparkling pond with a water feature to a green with a front side bunker
  • #6 is the #1 handicap and it's a 417-yard par four with a fairway that ends on the left side in front of a pond which requires an accurate 155 yard shot over the pond to a green with a left and right side bunker
  • #18 is a fun 382-yard par 4 with a wide-open landing zone, beautiful views of the mountains, a green framed by Washingtonian palms, and a bunker in front of an elevated tricky green

Bottom line - excellent conditions, a relaxing round,  outstanding facilities, and friendly service.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,778 72.1 127
Blue 5,965 68.4 118
White 5,557 66.3 113
Gold 6,385 70.3 123

Course Information

Course Architect:
Lawrence Hughes
Greens Type:
Tifdwarf Bermuda
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 4 holes and the 46 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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

The practice facilities feature a driving range, short game practice area, chipping area and a large putting green. de Anza Desert Country Club has an impressive 20,000-square-foot mid-century modern clubhouse with three dining rooms, cozy star-gazing patio and fire pits, and a fully stocked golf shop.



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.