From Los Angeles to Palm Springs, Interstate 10 burrows through a faceless stretch of suburban sprawl, a no-man’s land unless you live there or you’re looking for a big-box store. And then, rising above it all, stands the Pacific Palms Conference Resort, flanked by a pair of formidable golf courses that beckon passersby to trade in road rage for frustrations of a gentler order.
The property has received an impressive $72 million makeover in the last several years. The hotel is now a slice of Ian Schrageresque cool, with a sleek new spa and an Asian-fusion restaurant. The courses, which retain the resort’s former name, Industry Hills, have been spiffed up and tamed for everyday mortal play. The better-known Eisenhower, or Ike, course is the layout Southern Californians loved to hate. Competitors in U.S. Open qualifiers grumbled about how unfairly it played. For years, Fred Couples held the course record with a one-under seventy-one.
But those days are over. Architect Casey O’Callaghan was hired to update these two Billy Bell designs (the other is the Zaharias). On the Ike, he removed acres of brush, reshaped bunkers and resodded the fairways with a less grabby type of Bermuda grass. He also rebuilt six greens on the back nine to create more hole locations. With a course rating of 75.1, it’s still a hefty challenge. And then there’s the Tiger factor: Woods competed on the Ike as a lad, and looking back he’s called it "the toughest course I played." —David Weiss
Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms, Eisenhower Course
One Industry Hills Parkway, Industry, California. Architects: Billy Bell, 1979; Casey O’Callaghan, 2006. Yardage: 7,221. Par: 72. Slope: 142. Greens Fees: $100–$135. Contact: 626-810-4653, ihgolfclub.com.