Review: Indian Wells - Players Golf Course

Plays like its name sake
Some courses their name really fits, Indian Wells Players course is one of those courses.  It can play long and tough, with strategic danger that must be avoided.  It doesn’t have big contours or rolling terrain, but relies on length, bunkers, water and well guarded greens to make the “players” play well in order to score low. 
This was my first round in a month and right after I landed.  While I was so thankful to be looking at green grass rather than snow, my game wasn’t quite “players” mode just yet.  While I didn’t go low on this round, I did think the course was fair, yet tough but scoring was possible.   The Indian Wells layout is interesting with the club house on one side of a large ditch and the course mostly on the other.  There is a big bridge to get you to the first 16 holes.    The front side is fairly gentle rolling terrain and some really good water features.  The mix of holes was really good between long and short, narrow and wide.  It sets up well for serious “players”.  The fairways are plenty wide, but there are always better spots to approach the green from with well placed tee balls.  The last 2 holes on the front 9 are beasts.  The 8th is a long par 3 that is surrounded by bunkers and the 9th hole is a long par 5 that plays tough.

The back side seems to be slightly more aggressive terrain and more challenging holes.  This isn’t too bad since you’ve already warmed up.  The 10th, 11th and 12th holes are a great collection of a short par 4, solid par 3 and another short par 4.   I think I hit 3-wood off the tee on 10 and then hybrid off the tee on 12.  It is all about ball placement on these 3 holes.   The mountain scenery is a nice back drop on the next 4 holes.

Once you complete hole 16 you travel over another large bridge to holes 17 and 18.  While they are fine holes, they don’t fit with the rest of the course.  The 17th is a really solid par 3 over water.  It doesn’t feel natural, but somewhere else on the course it would have been fine.  The finishing hole is really tough.  It is a really long par 4 with road on the left and hotel on the right.  It feels really narrow, even though it isn’t that bad.  The second shot is going to be long, over some waste area to a well guarded green. 

The course conditions were perfect.  Every green was smooth and like carpet and the undulations weren’t too severe.  The scenery was very nice and straight forward.  Most holes you could see extract where and what you needed to hit.  There is ample bunkering so in order to score well, you need to avoid those.  It isn’t a desert course, most the rough was green and unless you were way, way off line, you were often going to be in some sort of grass.  Even though it is a fairly new course, the older trees and landscaping do make it feel like it has been there a while.  The GPS on the carts will show you all the danger and present you with the ideal yardages for playing.

With 36 holes on property, Indian Wells is a a great place to play.  The Players course is different from the Celebrity.  It can play long and demanding, but at the same time, scoring is possible with well placed shots avoiding trouble.   It really plays like its name sake, it is a “Players” course.

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Quick Hits:
+Well designed holes
+Excellent conditions
+Plenty of danger
+Strategic play necessary
+Great scenery

–17th and 18th holes seem out of place