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Enjoy Hospitality and Golf in Indian Wells

By Wes Bolyard

Set in the heart of Southern California’s Coachella Valley, Indian Wells is steeped in a very rich and colorful history. The city was named for an old Cahuilla Indian water hole that was documented in expedition diaries as early as 1823. From early inhabitants who unearthed its namesake well (a source of life in an otherwise arid desert), to intrepid settlers who pioneered the date industry, to the city’s 21st century status as a world-class residential and resort community, Indian Wells enjoys a distinctive narrative that underlies an exceptional lifestyle.

Perched on 45 acres of lush landscape, Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa takes the Southern California desert resort experience to new heights. Ideal for couples, multi-generational families, wellness seekers, business, and leisure travelers alike, the Hyatt Indian Wells offers 530 rooms which includes suites plus villas and bungalows complete with a fireplace, furnished patio with a grill and/or private hot tub, and immediate access to the adult pool.  There are 7 sparkling swimming pools, tennis facilities, two adjacent world-class golf courses, elevated dining experiences across its five eateries, and a 30,000-square foot spa, Agua Serena, which offers signature face and body treatments in its Garden Suites and amenities including dry sauna, outdoor showers, and a relaxing reflection patio. An 88,000 square foot event space for indoor and outdoor meetings and events provide group travelers a balance of both work and leisure experiences.

The resort recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that includes redesigned penthouse suites with a modern design, wet bar, and private balconies with incredible views. An extra special room, the 1,100 square foot Palm Springs Terrace Suite, was designed for those young at heart. The suite uses pops of bright color throughout that give it a groovy design with vibrant 1960’s style wallpapering, funky furniture, and an eye-catching Palm Springs mural with an incredible view from the 800 square foot terrace balcony overlooking the pool area and mountains.

Stay & Play packages will be found on the main Hyatt website under the heading OFFERS when they are active.

The new HyTides waterpark is the largest in Greater Palm Springs which features two exciting 30-foot dueling slides, a 450-foot lazy river, splash pads, and cabanas for poolside lounging.

Also in the Coachella Valley, and adjacent to the Hyatt Resort, the city of Indian Wells offers two great municipal golf courses: Celebrity and Players, also known as “Beauty and the Beast”.  This 36-hole Indian Wells Golf Resort is among the few U.S. properties to have two courses ranked in the Top 25 “Best Municipal Courses in the United States” by Golfweek Magazine. Opened in 1986, these Ted Robinson-designed courses have hosted Golf Channel’s Big Break (2011) as well as the PGA’s Skins Game (2007-2008).  The Players Course has also been the host for the Southern California Open for the last few years and is the course of choice for high profile events for the Southern California Association.  Additionally, lauds the resort for its “Best Playing Conditions” in the Palm Springs area, while Golfweek lists it among the best courses you can play in California.  In 2017, the Indian Wells facility was awarded The Friendliest Staff in America by Golf Advisor and Trip Advisor. 

The 53,000 square foot clubhouse is the starting point for both courses which is owned and operated by the city of Indian Wells. The Pro Shop offers an exceptional variety of both ladies and men’s clothing along with a great indoor swing analysis and learning center, including private instruction and club fitting, in a comfortable atmosphere when the outdoor temperatures are uncomfortable. Eric Solander, Director of Instruction, says: “To help with the fitting process, we use a state-of-the-art TrackMan 4 which provides all kinds of ball data which delivers unparalleled accuracy for ball flight and helps zero in club fitting.  There are games you can play, and over 200 courses to choose to test your skills. Another device we use all the time is the BodiTrac system. It monitors footwork and center of gravity helping the fundamental of balance.” Along with riding carts, they offer eight GOLFBoards for “surfing the earth” during play to help grow the game of golf.

There was a massive re-model in 2006 to the Celebrity Course by Clive Clark and in 2007, to the Players Course by John Fought, making them even better.  Both courses offer stunning views of the surrounding San Jacinto, Eisenhower, Santa Rosa and the San Bernardino Mountain ranges.  Celebrity has a resort style design with numerous tree-lined fairways and allows more favorable bounces around the greens. You need to really concentrate while playing this course as the fairways are somewhat narrow and rolling which places a premium on the tee shot so you can approach the green with better control. “Try to keep the ball underneath the hole because the greens are undulating can be pretty quick” says Joe Williams, Director of Golf. Adding to that are the slight doglegs, both right and left, making this a fun and exciting course to play. Peaceful features with waterfalls appear on seven of the back nine holes.  Be aware of the retention basin (mostly dry) that divides the two nines.  If an errant shot should stray down the hill, your next shot may be a difficult blind shot back to the fairway or green.

The links-style Players Course offers wider, less rolling fairways.  It is a bit longer than the Celebrity course with several blind tee shots and strategic bunkering which can be very penal.  However, there are not many forced carries, so the ball rolls up to the green pretty easy thus making this course more favorable for higher handicappers.  The greens complexes are very large with subtle breaks; some have false fronts as well as collection and chipping areas. A very unique and important feature of these two courses are the watering stations (with ice) every 3 holes with another benefit of no houses surrounding these Troon-managed courses.

These championship golf courses offer magnificent views of the mountains and are somewhat different than most desert courses as they offer wall-to-wall grass fairways.  The proximity to the Hyatt Resort makes it convenient to play the courses and still have time to enjoy the other amenities.  Indian Wells offers a great place to get away from it all, have fun and relax.