Cottonwood Golf Center's nine-hole executive course sharpens straight shots with one par 4 and eight par 3 holes. Duffer duets amble through the meandering fairways, launch dimpled orbs through 2,466 yards of emerald alleys, and defeat lesser opponents in pull-cart street races. The scenic course overlooks rugged hills and scraggly pines, thwarting off-kilter shots with a petite water hazard filled with foghorn-wielding ducks. Players can supply their own clubs, rent one of the facility's sets ($5), or thwack golf balls with the neighbor's flamingo lawn ornaments.
El Rancho Verde Golf Club has spent half a century basking in the majesty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, testing golfers on a challenging course without disrupting their inner peace. The par 72 course boasts holes to make both advanced stick-swivelers and novice wedge-wielders feel at home. From the longest tees, balls can race down 6,844 yards of fairway, along pools that reflect the towering peaks and lush greenery where native owls wait eagerly to adopt lost golf balls and hatch them as their own.
Fountains whisper to themselves amid low emerald hillocks. Groups of golfers confer over tees at the ninth hole, where the fairway drops off to the left, into the cool mirror of a small lake. Architect Ted Robinson, who has designed more than 170 courses, draws heavily on the many uses of water in his creations. With mountains spearing the horizon in the distance, golfers cut beneath swaying palm trees. The scents of grilling burgers drift down from the clubhouse, and during Sunday-morning brunches, champagne glasses clink occasionally like a shy xylophonist.
At both of Cimarron Golf Resort's John Fought–designed courses, one massive, unblinking spectator watches on: the San Jacinto Mountain Range. Its massive rockfaces jut above the fairways and greens, adding visual drama to every westward drive and putt. Nodding to those rocky outcrops with its name, the championship-length Boulder course challenges golfers with 6,782 open yards, including a formidable 569-yard, par-five 18th hole. At the Boulder's sibling course, the Pebble, 17 par-threes tempt players with 17 chances for a hole-in-one. Before any round, a driving range with five target greens hosts swing rehearsals, on-site golf lessons, and clinics that help golfers hit farther and yell "Fore!" louder.
Boulder Course at a Glance:
Pebble Course at a Glance:
The snow-capped peaks of the San Jacinto Mountains peer over the treeline, creating a scenic backdrop to Cathedral Canyon Golf Club’s 18-hole course. Designed by prolific California course architect David Rainville—in consultation with Hall of Famer Billy Casper—the course winds across more than 6,500 yards dotted with ponds that reflect the distant mountains and the fearful grimaces of birds as they evade speeding tee shots. To prepare their swings for their next round, golfers can warm up at the club’s driving range or schedule a lesson with PGA Class A instructor Steve Creps.
Course at a Glance:
From the colorful rides to an on-site candy store, Lollipop Park lets visitors of all ages escape into a whimsical wonderland. Go-karts let drivers hone their turns on a winding track, while a carousel taps into the imagination of kids and adults, perfectly encapsulating both the gallop of horse and the aimlessness of one's 20s. Other family-friendly activities include a mini-golf course, a hall of fun mirrors, and train rides along the sparkling waters of Lake Arrowhead.