When golf architect Cary Bickler designed Shandin Hills Golf Club in 1985, he wasn't about to make it easy for golfers to just waltz onto his greens. Instead, he surrounded almost every green with moats of sand to guard the precious bent and poa annua grass. When not building wooden planks to lay across the bunkers, players at Shandin Hills face several obstacles along the 18-hole course, including a large pond on 15 that splits the tee box and the bermuda-grass fairway.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,517 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 70.6 from the back tees * Course slope of 127 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Tall trees scrape the clouds across Colton Golf Club?but they aren't the only structures that reach skyward. They're joined by light poles, which fill the 18-hole, par 57 executive course with light to facilitate after-dark rounds. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the layout ripples over gentle elevation changes pocked with sand traps and a single pond, which comes into play on the fourth hole. Comprised of 15 par-threes and three par-fours, the course provides an ideal venue for novices trying to expand their game and experts looking to shoot par with nothing but an 8-iron.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 57 executive course * Course length of 3,108 yards from the tips * Course rating of 54.2 from the tips * Slope rating of 82 from the tips * Two tee options * Scorecard
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.
Framed by views of the San Jacinto Mountain Range, the Country Club at Soboba Springs has stumped some of the world's best golfers. Not long ago, it was home to the PGA Tour's Soboba Classic. Today, sporting a newly renovated, 32,000-square-foot clubhouse, the course leads visitors along a sculpted layout that barrels through a forest of cottonwood and palm trees. Water comes into play on 11 of 18 holes, and 78 bunkers filled with white sand lie in wait to snatch up errant shots or slow down golf carts that get off their leashes. Players should watch out for the 15th and 16th holes, especially, which are surrounded by water and used to give professionals fits as part of an especially challenging back nine.
Course at a Glance * Designer: Desmond Muirhead 1966; Redesigned by Cary Bickler 2005 * Lauded by Press Enterprise: Best round of golf 2014 * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total of 7,101 yards from the back tees * Three tees per hole * Course rating of 73.3 from the tips * Course slope of 131 from the tips
Mesquite Country Club features moderately rolling with mature trees and spectacular views of the mountains. It is well bunkered, with eight small lakes and hundreds of palm trees. Mesquite offers a challenging round of golf with numerous water hazards. Even Bob Hope and his friends would play here in the earlier days!