Golf History in the Desert... by the Numbers!

Real Estate Agent with California Lifestyle Realty DRE# 1780607


1925: On the grounds of the El Mirador Hotel that he had built, Prescott Stevens builds a nine-hole golfO'Donnell Golf Club course in Palm Springs

1932: Oilman Thomas O’Donnell opens his own nine-hole course in Palm Springs, just about the time Stevens is forced to abandon his El Mirador course because of the Great Depression. Several holes in the area that is now the La Quinta Resort are also open at this time.

1948: Aviatrix Jackie Cochran and her husband Floyd Oldham open a nine-hole golf course in Indio.

1951: Thunderbird Country Club, the first 18-hole course in the desert, opens. It is followed one year later by Tamarisk Country Club.

Thunderbird CC1952: The Thunderbird Invitational is played for the first time at Thunderbird. The tournament is considered the forerunner of the Bob Hope Classic.

1959: Arnold Palmer wins the Thunderbird Invitational, the first of his six official tour victories in the desert.

1960: The Palm Springs Gold Classic debuts as a replacement for the Thunderbird Invitational, using Thunderbird, Tamarisk, Indian Wells and Bermuda Dunes country clubs. Palmer wins the title of the five-day event.

1965: Bob Hope puts his name on the Palm Springs tournament, making it the Bob Hope Desert Classic.Bob Hope Classic

1972: The Colgate Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle LPGA tournament debuts at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.


1973: Arnold Palmer wins the Bob Hope Desert Classic at Bob Hope CartBermuda Dunes Country Club, the last of his 62 career PGA Tour victories.

1981: The Vintage Club’s Mountain Course opens in Indian Wells. This Tom Fazio course is long considered the gold standard of golf courses and country clubs in the desert.

1985: The TPC Stadium Course opens as the first course at PGA West in La Quinta. With six courses now, PGA West has the most courses of any development in the desert.

Dinah Shore

Skins Game1986: The Skins Game debuts in the desert at the TPC Stadium Course.

1994: The Quarry at La Quinta opens. The Tom Fazio design is the only course in the desert currently in the famed Golf Digest list of the top 100 courses in the country.

2003: Bob Hope, the desert’s most famous golfer, dies at age 100

2008: The Skins Game is played for the last time in the desert at the Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort, the sixth different course to be home to the event in the Coachella Valley.

2012: The last nine holes of the 18-hole North Course at Shadow Hills Golf Club in Indio, the most recent course to open in the desert, are completed.

Bob Hope ClassicQuarry CC









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Kathy Schowe   760.333.8886  

California Lifestyle Realty  California Lifestyle Realty                                               




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Sharon Lord
Maracay Homes - Peoria, AZ
New Home Advisor

Kathy - what a cool history, and you found the historic photos, to boot!  I'm glad our "golf season" is just getting in to peak time - while everyone else is prepping for snow - HA~!

Nov 21, 2012 05:55 AM #1
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

Thanks Sharon- we are excited for our "golf season" this fall too!  Have a happy Thanksgiving!  Kathy

Nov 21, 2012 05:58 AM #2
Cal Yoder
Keller Williams Elite - Lititz, PA
Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744

Very interesting. I know you are a great golfer and it is neat to see that shine through in posts like this one. Happy Thanksgiving.


Nov 21, 2012 08:09 AM #3
Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Kathy - When it comes to golf in Palm Springs you really know so much about your area it's really impressive.  I remember the PGA West skin games well.  Can you say difficult bunkers?  Excellent localism post!

Nov 21, 2012 08:21 AM #4
Thom Abbott |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

I would of loved to kept playing golf...but I could never (or did not take the time ) to correct an incredible slice that I had! And it's kind of a rich man's sport for sure! 

But love the history, and love how golf courses look. 

Thanks for sharing the history!

Nov 21, 2012 12:39 PM #5
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Kathy Schowe

La Quinta, California 760-333-8886
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