PGA West- Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course

PGA West- Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course

Course Review Date: 2/16/2012
Course Reviewer: Sean Charlton

A 15 minute shuttle ride from the La Quinta Resort found me at the front door of PGA West Clubhouse for the Nicklaus Tournament Course, TPC Stadium course as well as the Weiskopf private course.  My clubs were lifted from the shuttle by a gentleman that rushed out to greet us and taken down to my cart as I continued in side to check in.  The Clubhouse holds Ernie’s bar and grill and the PGA West proshop.  10 foot tall pictures of PGA greats like Palmer and Nicklaus adorn the walls mixed in with trophies, quotes, plaques and maps of the courses… a pretty amazing sight to start my day.

After a quick check in I ventured out to the practice area only to find the driving range closed for maintenance.  Really?  I was able to chip and put on the two greens dedicated to such activities just up the hill, but still, a warm up would have been nice before tackling this monster of a golf course.

I was sent to #10 to start so I wouldn’t have to wait on #1 for a member tournament to finish up and was instantly in awe of this golf course.  It’s nothing like what we have here in Washington.  Shockingly beautiful and perfectly manicured with the greenest grass I’ve ever seen.  Every hole has been literally cut out of the desert.  Where there once was sand, now sits this amazing course. With that being said, there’s not a naturally occurring bump, hill or mound anywhere to be found.  Every part of every hole has been designed and created by man, to challenge your golfing ability.  It was absolutely perfect.

Accuracy is an absolute must however generous landing areas for most par 4’s and 5’s.  Not too much traditional ‘trouble’ on the course; no 3 ft fescue to deal with or 4 inch rough to imprison your ball, however the topography and undulation of the rough is what makes things difficult.  Three to fifteen foot elevation changes, from fairway to rough or bunker, will test you on just about every hole. Kept, short, yet brown, grass lines the outskirts of the fairways to ensure you know where you don’t want to be.

The greens, as beautiful and perfect as you can ever find, are ridiculously difficult to navigate.  They were smooth as glass, faster than fast, hard to read, and for me just about impossible as I tried to break in my new putter.  Even the slightest contour moved the ball as it traveled (at light speed) across the green.  It gave me a new appreciation for what the pros deal with because these greens were as close to PGA quality as I’ll most likely ever see. If you can’t spin the hell out of your approach shot, you have very little chance of keeping anything on the green.

Playing from the white tees offered up just over 6000 yards, which would have been ok, but I was looking for a bit more of a challenge.  I went with the middle set ‘Championship Tees’, which added about 500 yards (tournament tees are set back to 7200).  The 6522 was long, very long, and other than the par 3’s, there was only 1 hole where I didn’t hit driver from the tee box, but I probably should have as my 5 wood left a tough approach shot that ultimately founds its way to the bottom of one of the several water hazards.

Amazingly created holes, a challenge on every shot, perfect in every way, and the 140 slope was no joke.  Jack Nicklaus does NOT mess around. This course kicked my butt and I loved every second of it! rating: 25/25
Customer Service: 5
Condition of Greens: 5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 5
Value: 5
Amenities: 5

  • Customer Service was impeccable. Greeted at the front door, clubs taken down to your cart, and cleaned upon your return by the cart staff.  Very friendly clubhouse staff from the front desk to the bartenders.
  • Greens=Perfect, Fairways=perfect, Tee Boxes=Perfect
  • A full restaurant and bar in the club house with an outdoor patio, on course beverage service that hit us every 3-4 holes, giant proshop with anything you could want, and a little history lesson in the lobby.
  • Value – coming in off the street, you’re gonna pay $195 a round in the peak season (late December- late April).  However, they do offer discount passes for 3 rounds (One must be at the Dunes course) for $379 that can save you a little money, OR you can work a little magic with the La Quinta Resort and negotiate a ‘stay and play’ package for yourself.  I talked to a group of 12 that paid 600 bucks each for 3 nights and unlimited golf.

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