Desert Divas: The tournament-tested courses you can play in California's Coachella Valley

The TPC Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., is as "tournament tested" as any golf course that hasn't hosted a major championship.

It has dished out plenty of cash hosting the Skins Game six times (1986-1991), beat up on the old guys at two Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf events on the PGA Tour Champions circuit in 1995-96, broken many a player's heart at the finals of PGA Tour Qualifying School in 1986, 1988, 1989, 2002, 2006 and 2008 and derailed rounds for amateurs at the Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships four times (2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015).

For the second year in a row (and third time overall), the iconic Pete Dye design will be the showcase venue of the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge, a PGA Tour event set for Jan. 19-22. The pro-am tournament dating to 1960 includes rounds on the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West and the private La Quinta Country Club, a host for 51 of the 56 years of the event.

The Stadium Course is hardly the only "tournament tested" course you can play in the Coachella Valley. It's just the most infamous. The old Bob Hope Desert Classic/Humana Challenge has bounced around quite a bit, giving other public courses their shot in the spotlight. Here's a look:

Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West, La Quinta

Tournaments: 1992-93 PGA Grand Slam of Golf; 1994-96 Diner's Club Matches; 1994 Wendy's 3‐Tour Challenge; PGA Tour Qualifying School co-host six times (1986, 1988, 1989, 2002, 2006 and 2008); Golf Channel Am Tour national finals four times (2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015)
Comment: Any Golf Channel Am Tour participant will tell you that this Nicklaus design is a second-shot course with demanding green sites. Nick Price (1992) and Greg Norman (1993) won two of the early GSOG exhibitions among all four major champions.

The Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West plays more than 7,200 yards from the back tees.

Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West


SilverRock Resort, La Quinta

Tournaments: 2009-11 Bob Hope Classic
Comment: This splendid Arnold Palmer design set against the Santa Rosa Mountains is one of the desert's supercharged munis. Owned by the city of La Quinta, it is soaked with water, especially the par-5 seventh hole. A canal dissects holes 10, 12 and 15 on the back nine. Take an extra club to avoid another pond on the intimidating par-3 17th hole. You're more likely to shoot 62 by the 12th hole -- the same score Bubba Watson shot to set the course record in 2010.

SilverRock's Arnold Palmer Classic Course offers a calculating mix of visual inspiration and intimidation.

SilverRock


The Classic Club, Palm Desert

Tournaments: 2006-08 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
Comment: The Palmer design is a great test for pros and amateurs alike, but constant complaints from pampered pros about the windy location ultimately doomed The Classic Club's chances of hosting any longer. There's a seven-hole stretch in the middle of the round -- holes 7-13 -- where water dictates virtually every shot, including an island-green at the 12th. Water-drenched par 5s at Nos. 9 and 18 end both nines in dramatic style.

The Classic Club is among the top public golf course in the Coachella Valley.

The Classic Club


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Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort, Indian Wells

Tournaments: 1993 Gulfstream Aerospace Invitational; 2007-08 LG Skins Game; 2011 Big Break Indian Wells
Comment: Raymond Floyd won the short-lived Gulfstream senior event, while Stephen Ames (2007) and K.J. Choi (2008) won the last two skins games ever played. This wonderful muni, owned by the city and run by Troon Golf, offers free valet parking and the service of a swanky club. More than 90 percent of the Golf Advisor reviews are four and five star. The Big Break episodes used the Players Course as well.

Indian Wells Golf Resort topped GolfAdvisor's top-rated courses in California in 2014.

Celebrity course at Indian Wells Golf Resort


North and South courses at The Golf Club at Terra Lago, Indio

Tournaments: 1999-2002 Skins Game
Comment: The skins game was played across the back nine of both the North and South courses to make the venue more spectator-friendly. Four big names -- Fred Couples (1999), Colin Montgomerie (2000), Norman (2001) and Mark O'Meara (2002) -- all won here.

South course at The Golf Club at Terra Lago


Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort & Club, La Quinta

Tournament: 1989 Senior Skins Game
Comment: Chi Chi Rodriguez won the only Senior Skins Game not played in Hawaii, making birdie on the 16th hole to collect $120,000 to win his second straight Senior Skins Game, besting Gary Player ($90,000), Billy Casper ($80,000) and Arnold Palmer ($70,000). Sporting great views of the mountains, the Dye design regularly gets four- and five-star reviews on Golf Advisor.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Desert Divas: The tournament-tested courses you can play in California's Coachella Valley