With the desert golf peak season winding down, the city of Palm Desert, Calif., owners of Desert Willow Golf Resort, have announced they will close the Firecliff Course in mid-May for an extensive bunker renovation and reduction. The Desert Sun reports the course will close in mid-May and the rehab will cost $632,000.
The Firecliff is one of two courses at Desert Willow Golf Resort and was designed originally in 1997 by Michael Hurdzan John Cook. The duo also designed Desert Willow's Mountain View Course, which was renovated in 2010 and is currently rated the fourth best course in the Palm Springs area according to Golf Advisor raters. Conditions ratings have been very strong at the course (4.6/5.0), but the measure appears to be taking place in order to save on operational costs and pace of play. From the Desert Sun article by Sherry Barkas:
The removal of some and combination of others will reduce the course's 105 bunkers by 45 percent, which will improve the quality and speed of play, he said. Reducing bunkers by size but not location "allows us to improve on the quality of the experience," [Palm Desert director of economic Martin] Alvarez said. Because bunker maintenance is so labor intensive, the renovation is also expected to save the city $100,000 per year. New drainage, liners and sand will also be added to the bunkers as part of the renovation, Alvarez said.
The Palm Springs municipalities are famously known for their excellent golf courses, which also include Indian Wells Golf Resort and SilverRock Golf Resort in La Quinta among others.
Firecliff is expected to reopen in time for the winter season and the Mountain View Course will remain open all summer.