Eagle Falls at Fantasy Springs Resort, Indio (resort). Opened: March
The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, which owns and operates this two-year-old casino and resort near Palm Springs, has ventured into the region's competitive golf market. This visually alluring course breaks through the barrenness of the landscape by incorporating beds of annuals and wildflowers as well as streams, splash ponds and, on the eighteenth hole, a forty-five-foot waterfall. A short par three draws its inspiration from the famous Postage Stamp eighth at Royal Troon.
Architect: Clive Clark. Yardage: 6,715. Par: 72. Greens Fee: $40-$75. Tee Times: 760-238-5633, www.eaglefallsgolf.com.
Sierra del Rio Golf Course, Elephant Butte (public). Opening: July
The arroyos, dry river beds and rugged elevation shifts on this high-desert property—roughly two hours south of Albuquerque and two hours north of El Paso, Texas—are craftily incorporated into the design. Water features at the par-three seventeenth and the par-five tenth (the second of back-to-back six-hundred-yard holes) may give the impression of Florida golf, but elsewhere the holes are flanked by indigenous waste areas of rock, mesquite, yucca and sagebrush, leaving no doubt as to where you are.
Architect: Dick Phelps. Yardage: 7,383. Par: 72. Greens Fee: $45-$100. Tee Times: 505-744-3653, www.sierradelrio.com.
NorthStar Golf Resort, Sunbury (resort). Opening: April (for members), mid-May (for resort guests)
PGA Tour veteran John Cook designed this course with his sister, Cathy Cook, a fellow alum and former standout player at nearby Ohio State who will head the resort's First Tee and junior golf programs. The layout sits on a scenic, nearly 350-acre property of pin oak, ash and cherry trees just north of Columbus. Soon to be joined by a hotel and conference center, it edges around and leaps over a variety of water features, including nineteen lakes and a stream known as Butler Run.
Architect: John Cook Golf Design. Yardage: 7,461. Par: 72. Greens Fee: $47-$52. Tee Times: 740-524-4653, www.northstargolfresort.com.
Bedford Springs Resort, Bedford (resort). Opening: mid-June
As part of a more than $110 million refurbishment of this historic Western Pennsylvania resort, architect Ron Forse was charged with restoring its vintage course. He's carefully preserved serpentine and doughnut-shaped bunkers created in 1895 by Spencer Oldham, the original designer, as well as A. W. Tillinghast's "Tiny Tim" par-three fourteenth from a 1912 revision, complete with its field of chocolate-drop mounds short and left of the green. The routing, the greens and most of the bunkers are the work of Donald Ross, who redesigned the course in 1923.
Architect: Ron Forse. Yardage: 6,800. Par: 72. Greens Fee: $125. Tee Times: 814-623-8100, www.bedfordspringsresort.com.
Butterfield Trail Golf Club, El Paso (public). Opening: June
Situated a three-iron shot away from El Paso International Airport, this forgiving Tom Fazio design twists and dips through desert ravines and microenvironments, continuously giving players shifting exposures to the wind and expansive views of the West Texas horizon. Each hole is named after a different stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail Company Trail, a twenty-eight-hundred-mile pre-Civil War stagecoach route that ran just south of the course property during its few years of delivering mail.
Architect: Tom Fazio. Yardage: 7,307. Par: 72. Greens Fee: $45-$85. Tee Times: 915-780-5278, www.butterfieldtrailgolf.com.