The Takeaway: Shadow Ridge uses quality conditioning, generous fairways, and large greens to appeal to visitors and increase the playability. Unfortunately that is countered by uninspiring terrain and a heavily bunked design that is fairly forgettable until you get to the closing three holes. It stands as one of the better public options in Palm Springs but doesn't stack up to the top tier courses. Grade C+
Designer: Nick Faldo in 2000
Cost: $49.00 - $162.00 Click for current rates
Phone Number: (760) 674-2700
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Shadow Ridge Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 9002 Shadow Ridge Road, Palm Desert, CA 92211
Accolades: Ranked 38th in California on Golf Course Gurus' Best in State list.
What to Expect: Shadow Ridge is a Marriott facility located between Palm Springs and Palm Desert in the golf rich Coachella Valley. The public access course focuses on providing great conditioning with an overseeding schedule every October. The Nick Faldo design is characterized by generous fairways framed by a wide variety of tree species and a multitude of deep bunkers that are quick to wreck havoc from the fairway or around the large greens. The terrain features subtle changes in elevation with any changes mostly being credited to the earth movers during development, and while the course would be an easy walk, the vast majority of patrons can be found riding in the provided carts. The Santa Rosa mountains provide a nice background during the round but the overall terrain isn't exciting enough to create a canvas that a great design can be carved from. For the casual golfer Shadow Ridge provides a pleasant experience with good service, but the student of golf architecture will find themselves yearning for more.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 17th Hole – 174 Yard Par 3 – Nick Faldo throws some eye candy at players for the final three holes, none more than here at the 17th. This attractive one-shotter plays over a pond to an undulated green fronted by a rock retaining wall and a lone bunker. The palm trees and mountains in the background are a dead give away to the Palm Spring location and the grass that wraps around on the left of the pond offers players a place to lay up if the carry over the water is too intimidating. It is a classic 'over the water' par three that certainly doesn't disappoint.
Best Par 3: 4th Hole – 177 Yards – This hole reminded of something I would see from Fazio, not Faldo, when I stepped on this tee. The entire right side is a large bunker and sucks your eye in and away from kidney shaped green that slopes from left to right. A line just right of the front left bunker is perfect as the slope will work the ball back towards the middle of the green and offers plenty of buffer from the massive bunker on the right. The generous putting surface size here should yield plenty of pars, so swing away with confidence.
Best Par 4: 18th Hole – 446 Yards – The closing hole at Shadow Ridge is a solid test with a creek meandering down the center of the fairway the full length of the hole. The creek eventually creates two fairways but the only logical play off the tee is up the right side and then utilizing the fairway on the left only if you need somewhere to lay up to if you fear playing to the green fronted by the creek. Two bunker complexes are found up the right side of the fairway and act as a deterrent from playing too far away from the watery grave setting the left boundary off the tee. Without question, the final three holes at Shadow Ridge is what people will walk away remembering and this closing hole is one reason why.
Best Par 5: 16th Hole – 541 Yards – Easily my favorite hole on the property, the par five 16th is a great risk/reward hole that is both strategic and scenic. The tee shot plays to a straightaway fairway with a center bunker that you should be able to fly if playing from the appropriate tees. From there becomes decision time as players are faced with a lengthy approach shot to a peninsula green that is surrounded by water on each side except the left. If you decide to lay up, there is a large bunker on the left side about 100 yards from the green which is strategically placed in the favorite layup distance for most players. Going for this green in two is the most exciting shot on the course and highly recommended by the author. In the end, failure merely costs you a golf ball and success becomes a great story for your buddies.
Birdie Time: 3rd Hole – 342 Yard Par 4 – Faldo gives you an easy hole early on in your round to promote some confidence before heading into the more difficult back nine. A tee shot left of the fairway bunkers 240 yards out on the right sets up a short shot to the green with a scoring club in hand. The landing zone is generous so your confidence should be full tilt on the tee before attacking the large green. If you don't convert here you'll have another opportunity on the shortish 8th is take a stroke from Old Man Par.
Bogey Beware: 10th Hole – 463 Yard Par 4 – Players are instantly tested after making the turn at Shadow Ridge with this stout par four. The tee shot plays over a small lake to a fairway that is bending right and hugs the waterline the whole way. The slightly raised fairway coupled with the bushes on the corner of the bend inhibit the view of the fairway just enough to make the player uncomfortable when swinging away on their driver and can lead to poor execution. The lengthy approach shot plays to a tiered green which can quickly yield three-putts when you find yourself on the wrong shelf attempting to lag your putt close. Back right is a sucker's pin, so choose wisely on how aggressively you attack this hole and limit the damage.