There is a whole new view at Indian Wells Golf Resort (IWGR) including and beyond the renovated Vue Grille & Bar which serves as the nucleus of the Resort. The Vue is well named with a patio for watching golfers and desert scenery. Resort might seem like a misnomer given that there is not a hotel on property, but they do partner with not one but four top notch resort hotels all in walking distance, the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort, Miramonte Indian Wells Resort, Indian Wells Resort Hotel, and Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa. Our room at the Hyatt along the tenth tee of the Celebrity Course was a mini suite with a balcony for gallery entertainment. And watching amateur golfers can definitely be entertaining.
A deluxe resort ambience emanates from the moment you pull up until the moment you leave IWGR. People are a major key as friendly service is bestowed upon all visitors. It is hard to believe this property is a municipal venue. The City of Indian Wells has invested bullishly in the property as well as the management. General Manager Steven Rosen hails from a chef and hotel background. While dining at the Vue Grille, he shared his foodie philosophy, “Taste begins with thought, developed by the eyes but all senses take a part.” The chef’s scallops with a buttery citrus sauce were not only pretty but succulent. The consistency reminded us of Digby, Nova Scotia, scallop capital of the world.
The Vue Grille is multifaceted, serving all meals with in and outdoor seating. The bar is great for mingling while private dining rooms serve intimate parties large and small. Wine, beer and liquor selections are extensive. The “birdie putt” signature cocktail is refreshing, not too sweet, made with deep eddy lemon vodka, pomegranate syrup, sprite, fresh raspberries and blackberries. Bourbon lovers and connoisseurs are in luck too. Celebrate the most special, happy occasion with Pappy’s, not found in most bars. The bartender displayed four different Pappy Van Winkle bottles worth thousands of dollars. A bottle of Woodford emblazoned with the Vue makes a nice, more affordable souvenir gift.
IWGR is all about aesthetics. A wide cascade over the sinks in the ladies’ locker room creates a Zen calmness. The waterfalls continue on the Celebrity Course where geraniums in the fall were spacers for the alyssum and wildflowers that were beginning to sprout up between tee boxes. Water is in play on 11 holes, many with waterfalls that are actually noise abatement from traffic. For bird abatement, a gal with a poodle and a raptor deploys in a golf cart ready to dissuade winged scavengers.
The Players Course is considered by most to be a bit more difficult, hence the course comparison reference of “the beauty and the beast.” Hole13 abuts Indian burial grounds so if the ball enters, a free drop is given. This rule might be liberally applied along other course parts to even the scoring. Absent are the wildflowers but the green fairways are a striking contrast to yellow Tacoma bushes, almost the shade of gorse with sweetgrass clumps interspersed. Snowcapped San Jacintos, tiny Eisenhower and Chocolate Mountains serve as distinctive backdrops along both courses. Celebrity and Players are each a beauty and so pristinely conditioned that every few holes, you might marvel, “this is a city course?”
Joe Williams, Director of Golf has been here since the beginning and knows it all but acts nothing like a know it all. The staff’s display of respect for him is genuine. They know he’s been in all their shoes along the way. When his merchandiser abruptly quit for personal reasons, his Greg Norman rep expressed interest in the job. Pam knows what both men and women want. Displays are attention grabbing from rack to rack filled with the latest fashions. The variety of apparel and accessories in her pro shop is one of the most extensive in the industry. Assistant pro, Tom Burley appreciates Joe’s mentoring. He believes the resort’s exceptional service is partly due to the camaraderie of the pro team on and off the premise, and Joe’s leadership.
Two driving ranges and multiple practice greens are put to good use. The main range converts to Glow Golf and is covered with mushroom targets that light up when hit for instant gratification during Shots in the Night. This is a new concept that brings families and groups to play together who might not otherwise be interested in golf. A half hour after sunset Thursday through Saturday, greens with firepits and comfy seating or hitting bays are rented by the hour in similar fashion to Top Golf. Music pumps up the party spirit along with light shows. Competitive green games are played and tracked with computer generated lighting and scoring powered by Nextlinks. It’s a blast. Dave Schultz quit his engineering job to develop the concept. Michael Tebbetts, Director of Sales and Marketing is enthusiastic about the success of this new idea.
After the winning Vue renovation with Shots in the Night, resort and city management are not resting on their laurels. More thoughts are cultivating on further improvements, more fun. In the Palm Springs, California vicinity, as part of the Troon Golf family, Indian Wells Golf Resort is a spectacular destination. https://www.indianwellsgolfresort.com/