Above Par: Desert Island Golf & Country Club
Desert Island Golf & Country Club is the Hidden Gem of the Desert
Desert Island Golf & Country Club
Award–winning golf and incomparable value—two phrases that best describe Desert Island Golf & Country Club. Located in the heart of prestigious Rancho Mirage, California at the corner of Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra Drive and across from the famous Sunnyland estate, Desert Island Golf & Country Club has garnered a reputation for being one of the finest clubs in Rancho Mirage. It is a member–owned golf club limited to 280 golfing members, which makes tee times easily accessible. Known for its friendly membership, accommodating staff and social atmosphere, it welcomes golfers of all skill levels.
Unique to the desert, there are no homes on the golf course as they are located on an “island” separated from the Club by a 25–acre lake. The members of Desert Island Golf & Country Club are proud of the tradition and fine reputation that has developed since the Club opened in 1971. The clubhouse is an inviting two–story, 38,000 square–foot well–designed facility. The views are outstanding from the main dining area and cocktail lounge looking west over the green fairways and, on the horizon, the picturesque San Jacinto mountains. It also houses a 425 seat ballroom as well as casual dining at the 19th hole or on the popular patio.
The crowning achievement of Desert Island is, of course, the golf course. Renowned Golf Course Architect Desmond Muirhead transformed 155 acres of desert with exceptional sophistication and ease; to the naked eye, the course appears as an unnervingly natural “island paradise” designed to test your skills. Fully–matured and strategically–placed trees shade and line the fairways, providing privacy and a challenge for accuracy. Well–placed bunkers encourage exactness while adding just the right balance to the sometimes deceiving openness of the course. The immaculately groomed Desert Island course is maintained year round in championship condition. Some of the best mountain views in the desert can be admired from the seat of your cart as you tour the 18 holes of this desert gem.
Kris Adams, the club’s first ever female President, says that joining Desert Island was one of the best decisions she and husband Tim have made. “We love it here and we love the people, and besides being able to golf a beautifully manicured golf course, one of our best assets is the open and friendly people that make up our membership.” Golf professional Carol Gatherum, having served the club since 1994 and as Head Golf Professional since 1999, says many of the newest golf club members are younger and join just so they can play the mature Desmond Muirhead course. The avid golfers live in nearby homes outside the community and “hop on over in their golf carts.”
It is one of the rare desert courses whose design is independent of the residences, one golfers often elect to walk. Mike Olson, the Greens Superintendent for the past 7 years, notes how well the membership respects the course and its condition at all times. New members are impressed with the longevity of service to the club by its staff, from the food and service people to the locker room attendants, from the golf staff to the maintenance staff that often remember them by name.
The dining at the Club is a culinary experience provided by Executive Chef Raymond Nelson, having come to the Club from Marrakesh Country Club where he was executive chef for the last 10 years. The Club’s California dishes are a melting pot of cultures, local ingredients and fusion cuisine. “We like to make the connection between fresh food and the local farms that supply them,” says Chef Raymond. Dining at the club is complimented by attentive waiters and waitresses who call you by name. Private celebrations are offered at the Club by their own professional staff, who oversee every detail.
Judy Martin, the Club’s Memberships Director, reflects on how well they continue to refine and evaluate the Club experience with each new member that walks through their doors. “We strive to present a calm sense of sophistication and simple beauty that mirrors the surrounding desert as well as the small, culturally–rich town of Rancho Mirage.” Given the camaraderie among its members and a calendar filled with golf and social activities, it’s no wonder that someone seeking to join a club would rank Desert Island Golf & Country Club high on their list, but Desert Island has for the most part remained the “hidden gem of the desert.” If you are considering a golf club membership, put Desert Island on the top of your list—while it’s still “hidden!”
Desert Island Golf & Country Club
71-777 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA. 92270