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The Best Desert Golf Courses

When considering the top golf courses you would love to play, it's hard to narrow down the list. The desert states have many, many courses to play, but which ones are the “don’t miss” choices? We have ranked what we consider to be the “best of the best” of desert golf courses, from Utah to California.

Desert courses allow your senses to be delighted in unique landscapes, challenging elevations, and breathtaking views. The desert paints a unique picture, setting the stage for a day you won't soon forget. Whether you find yourself in the desert of California, Nevada, Utah, or Arizona, you'll find several courses that that are worthy of being a destination for your next golf adventure.

If you're planning a golf vacation, make the trip truly memorable. The desert is full of varying climates and covers an astounding quantity of space. Never fear. We've gone to the trouble of doing the research for you. Since there are so many courses to choose from, we've rounded up our top five to help you get your plans rolling.


Arizona: Quintero Golf

If you're looking for a world-class desert golfing experience, in the desert of Arizona, look no further than Quintero Golf. This Rees Jones-designed course is carved right into the mountains of the Sonoran Desert, Quintero Golf has been named "Best Public Golf Course" by both Golf Weekly Magazine and Golf Digest. The experience at Quintero Golf is nothing short of beautiful, luxurious, and secluded from the hustle and bustle of nearby Phoenix.

The breathtaking desert views here are challenged only by the incredible playability of the course. Rees Jones went to great lengths to make this stunning course playable by golfers of all levels with five sets of tees at each hole. Four-season accessibility to its stunning greens and fairways make the experience that much more enjoyable. When it's cold outside in the more northern climates, you'll find Quintero's course to be a welcome escape from more frigid temperatures.

The mountainous landscape in the Scottsdale, Arizona area provides sweeping elevation changes and incredible views ideally suited for a stroll through 18 holes. Relaxation, revitalization, and harmony will all surround you as you walk through this breathtaking course. You'll want to come back again and again.


California: Indian Wells Golf Resort

Highly-ranked by Golf Magazine, Indian Wells Golf Resort in Palm Springs is a desert golfing masterpiece. A mere twenty minutes from the Palm Springs International Airport, Indian Wells Golf Resort is known for its playability, challenging greens, and diversity of design. Its two courses feature incredible mountain views, exquisite water features, and a desert golf experience that players of all levels can enjoy. Pack your bags because the courses at Indian Wells Golf Resort are waiting for you to enjoy them.

You can select from two courses (or play them both!). The Celebrity Course designed by Clive Clark opened for play in 2006 to great accolades. Featuring streams, brooks, waterfalls, and stunning floral displays, this course is a feast for the eyes, as well as a challenge for the experienced golfer. The Player's Course, designed by John Fought, opened in 2007. Its peaceful landscape will take you on a stunning getaway as you play through its 18 holes. These courses nestled in California's Palm Springs are a treat for golfers of all levels.


California: Desert Willow Golf Resort

Coachella isn't just for music festivals. California's Coachella Valley has two incredible courses hidden in its hills, perfect for golf lovers of all ages. This stunning southern California resort has a unique story that sets the stage perfectly.

Desert Willow Golf Resort began with a dream to carve out an incredible desert golf experience in the heart of the Palm Desert. Its architects understand that in addition to the game, golf is an experience to behold and began their plan to bring that image to fruition. The incredible palette with which the course was created will dazzle your senses as you play through one of the best courses in the desert of the United States.

Enjoy the challenging features of the Firecliff Course with its delicate water features and natural landscape. Or take a step into a peaceful oasis in the Mountain Course. We promise you won't mind the mountain views that accompany a relaxing day of your favorite game.


Utah: Glenwild Golf Club

Glenwild Golf Club is a desert course that you really need to experience for yourself. Although several courses have opened in Utah since this Tom Fazio-designed course was opened in 2001, it remains a standard by which others are judged. Named "Best Championship Course" in Utah by Golf Digest, you'll find yourself surrounded by alpine ski slopes and mountain vistas as you walk through the natural terrain. Like all of our favorite desert courses, Park City offers a four-season lifestyle allowing you to enjoy the game at Glenwild all year long.

When you tee off at Glenwild, you'll find yourself among the celebrity elite. The natural landscape of Park City provides a backdrop of rolling mountain hills and babbling streams, making this course one you simply must experience.


Nevada: Shadow Creek

Shadow Creek is a Tom Fazio-designed golf course situated in the landscape of North Las Vegas, Nevada. Shadow Creek is a course that must be experienced first-hand. The rumors you have heard about its beauty and playability are absolutely true. Each hole at Shadow Creek has been expertly designed to not only bring you a memorable round of golf, but also to take your breath away with its stunning features. Dancing streams, incredible waterfalls, and dramatic landscapes will dance in and out of the shadows of the beautifully-manicured course.

When you walk through the rolling vistas of Shadow Creek, you'll be at once delighted with the incredible landscape. When you play its 18 holes, you will remember why you love the game so much.


Choose Your Desert Course

If you are travelling to Arizona, you absolutely cannot miss playing Quintero. This course outshines the others and is considered to be the premier golf course located in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. You will play a world-class course free from distraction, with strategic bunkers, generous landing areas, and the smoothest bentgrass greens you’ll find on any course in the Southwest.