Review & Rating of de Anza Desert Country Club in Borrego Springs, CA
Located on the edge of the 600,000-acre Anza Borrego State Park and at the base of the Santa Rosa and San Ysidro mountain ranges, de Anza Desert Country Club has been offering great desert golf for over 50 years. The course was designed by Lawrence Huges and it plays along a trail forged long ago by Spanish Colonist Juan Bautista de Anza and for years de Anza Desert Country Club has been a desert hideaway for Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Lon Chaney Jr., James Dean, the Rat Pack, and Burgess Meridith and it was the favorite course of golf legends such as Sam Snead and Billy Casper. The course is private but allows public play on certain days and times.
de Anza Desert Country Club is a traditional '50s style course with straight forward holes that play through a wide variety of trees (eucalyptus, olive, and more) and 3 varieties of palm trees. In most cases from the tee box, you can see the pin and what you're up against. You'll need to avoid 46 bunkers, most of which guard the greens, and ponds with water fountains on four holes.
The scorecard has four sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 5557 to 6778 and a rating of 113 to 127, plus there are three combo tee boxes. Which means the course is fair for players of all skill levels. Pick the right set of tee boxes and you'll have a very enjoyable, relaxing, and fun round.
de Anza Desert Country Club puts a premium on your approach shots and putting skills. The greens are relatively small (30 to 41 yards deep), fairly fast, have a fair amount of back to front slope, and are guarded by two bunkers expect for 3 greens which only have one bunker. The greens were in near perfect condition (a few had some minor damage but that didn't impact putting), are soft, true, and smooth with little to no undulation.
The fairways at de Anza Desert Country Club were also near perfect. All of the fairways are lined by trees and palms and typically have homes on one side. If you spray the ball you'll be able to find it and chip or worm burn it back to the fairway. Or you may end up in a parallel running fairway and still have a recovery shot. There are 13 fairway bunkers but they seemed easy to avoid. Water is on four holes, two of which may require a carry. The mountains frame the course and seem like there are right on top of you – couple that with the palm trees swaying in the breeze, some pretty homes, and the lush conditions all of which make for a very scenic round. Keep an eye out for a ditch that crosses several fairways!
The 46 bunkers are typically small, long, and skinny. The sand is excellent – soft, fluffy, and deep and a joy to hit out of. The lips are small and in some cases, you may get lucky and roll in and back out – but don't count on that!
Some of the holes that we liked included:
- #1 is a 392-yard par 4 which sets the stage for your round with a fairly tight tree-lined fairway, bunkers on the left and right side of the green, and towering mountains that seem to leap out at you as they form a semi-circle around the green
- #3 is a pretty 211-yard par three that requires a carry over a sparkling pond with a water feature to a green with a front side bunker
- #6 is the #1 handicap and it's a 417-yard par four with a fairway that ends on the left side in front of a pond which requires an accurate 155 yard shot over the pond to a green with a left and right side bunker
- #18 is a fun 382-yard par 4 with a wide-open landing zone, beautiful views of the mountains, a green framed by Washingtonian palms, and a bunker in front of an elevated tricky green
Bottom line – excellent conditions, a relaxing round, outstanding facilities, and friendly service.
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The practice facilities feature a driving range, short game practice area, chipping area and a large putting green. de Anza Desert Country Club has an impressive 20,000-square-foot mid-century modern clubhouse with three dining rooms, cozy star-gazing patio and fire pits, and a fully stocked golf shop.