“If I lose another ball, I’m going to lose my mind!” – Me, while looking for my 4th lost ball on hole #5. Not a good start!
I played Silver Rock while visiting my parents in La Quinta, California in late February 2016. I loved the course! It was the perfect mix of challenging, memorable, and fun! Read on for my full review…
OVERALL RATING: A
HIGHS: Scenery, Course Conditions, Goats
LOWS: Bunkers & Waste Areas, Inconvenient Layout
SilverRock is an Arnold Palmer design, located in La Quinta, California. It was the former home course of the PGA Tour’s Bob Hope Classic from 2008-2011, and it boasts some of the most unique scenery you will find at any golf course. Period.
The beauty of SilverRock is jaw-dropping. The course is located at the base of Santa Rosa mountains. You don’t just have a nice view of the mountains…you can touch the mountains!
A sunrise tee time is magical. The sun rises opposite the adjacent mountains in the winter, and it really sets the mountains ablaze.
One of my favorite holes is #17. The waterfall behind the green flows into a creek, then into a large pond. I loved listening to the flowing water while we were putting on the green.
SilverRock is in great shape. The closet environmentalist in me cringes a little when I play golf courses in the California desert. The amount of water that it takes to produce such lush green fairways and greens is difficult to imagine. However, the course conditions are excellent, and I really do love the stark contrast of the desert and jagged mountains butted up against the lush green golf course.
I always judge a course by its greens and SilverRock Golf Resort doesn’t disappoint. The greens were consistent and smooth. My only criticism is that they were a little slow. Most of my putts had very little to no break. But the straightforwardness of the greens was sweet relief considering how punishing the course often was from tee to green.
How often do you see a herd of goats walking across the green? The real greens crew of SilverRock are the goats and they are everywhere!
Frankly, the goats are a little scary. We drove our cart through a herd of goats and they just stood there and stared with those dead eyes. I didn’t know if they were going to charge us, or what!
Bunkers & Waste Areas
There are just too many hazards at SilverRock Golf Resort. After hitting my tee shot on hole #5, I was already looking for my 4th lost ball! The waste areas (sandy desert area with natural foliage) have a way of swallowing your golf balls and are VERY much in play on nearly every hole!
Since the waste areas aren’t bunkers and there are no rakes, footprints can make for some interesting lies, and plenty of shrubs and plants make finding your ball a challenge.
My playing partner that day – good ol’ Dad – proposed renaming the course to TragicRock after hitting a “perfect” tee shot right into a waste area. I guess it wasn’t so perfect. But it is a very fitting name.
If you decide to play here, come prepared with plenty of extra balls.
You have to drive out to #1 and drive back in from #18. There is no official “turn” after #9. Supposedly, there are future plans for development, including a hotel near the current clubhouse. If it comes to fruition and they move the clubhouse, it will make a lot more sense. But for now, this creates some issues.
If you are a pregnant lady or a man with a prostate problem, the layout and location of the bathrooms poses a problem. There is not a break between hole #9 and #10 and if you miss your bathroom break on hole #6, you have to wait until hole #14 to use the restroom. There is a port-o-potty after #9, so don’t fret.
In addition to the feeling that certain aspects of the course design were afterthoughts, I believe playing well at SilverRock requires a lot of rounds and an understanding of the many nuances of the course.
I know I will enjoy this course more when I learn it’s nuances better. Many holes require a well-executed strategy (especially off the tee), and understanding how to avoid some of the more troublesome spots is required to play well.
Overall, I loved SilverRock Golf Resort. The course is very challenging. The length is manageable, but you must be accurate to play well and not lose a couple sleeves of balls. The staff is friendly. The location is perfect. I would recommend this course as a must-play for anyone headed to the California desert.