Mountain View is the demure younger sister of the feature Firecliff Course at Desert Willow. Designed by the same crew of Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry with Tour Pro John Cook commiserating, it shares the look and feel of Firecliff with a more user friendly interface. It shares the stunning backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains throughout the course and plenty of money was spent moving dirt to create interesting topography with desert flora plantings as accent.
No shortage of Kodak moments here
Mountain View was built to be the member’s everyday course, a kinder, gentler experience with less obvious danger and reverberations to the scorecard. The metric difference of 5 less in the slope from the 6500 yard Blue Tees speaks to this. There is simply more unfettered access to the preferred driving areas and the green complexes on approach and the severity of penalty for missing either is less significant. The small greens have somewhat milder undulations and are kept at a pace much less disarming than her more athletic sister.
Stone walls, palm trees, and desert flora accent throughout
Having said that this is not a course where you can play on auto pilot, it takes your full concentration to plot your way around. If I have any criticism at all it is that most of the holes are relatively straight, very few holes that turn dramatically to focus your attention to the A drive position off the tee. But even without elbows on the corners the green complexes still dictate a preferred drive position in the generous driving areas.
Generous driving areas but position matters into confined green complexes
The small size of the greens and the fact that many are raised from the fairway is the scorecard’s best defense. The front pins are particularly difficult because there is no advantage way to be short of these pins and have an uphill birdie opportunity. Your pitching recovery game will get a workout because you will miss greens so an adept short game is a must to scoring well. Much like Firecliff reading these greens is difficult with all the static of the mountain backdrop and the manufactured topography. If you have your Everything-Breaks-To-Indio compass on hand it can prove relevant on many of the reads.
The 16th you have to work your drive around this bunker constellation
This is a fun afternoon of golf, an opportunity working taking if you are in Palm Desert for long enough to play both courses at Desert Willow. I actually like it as a warm up round the day before taking on the full Firecliff challenge.
Palm Desert, California
Designer: Michael Hurdzan (1998)
Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope