Ladera Golf Club

Thermal, CA, United States Private

Overview

Ladera breaks the mold of desert golf in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. The design does not incorporate unnatural water features, it’s not lined by palm trees, and it’s not constrained by housing considerations. Instead, it is a beautiful and varied expression of what desert golf can be in its most natural form, though nothing about it is natural. The 300-acre site slopes 140 feet from the high point near the Santa Rosa Mountains across once-level land that was formerly lemon groves and mango farms. Hanse and Wagner propped up the low side of the property to reorient sightlines over the valley floor toward the eastern Mecca Hills and moved millions of cubic yards of earth to create each particle of golf.

Ladera’s fairways are generous, 60 to 100 yards with no formal rough, but strategy abounds with options to play to wide parts of the fairway though the best approach angles and lines-of-sight are reserved for those who skirt the boundaries of the hazards. Even completely straight holes, such as the par-5 seventh, are full of options with staggered bunkers and a treacherous side slope short of the green. The greens reveal a tremendous variety of sizes and forms, some modestly contoured like the enormous saucer third and others a pattern of ridges and falling tiers (the 14th). But the most distinctive features at Ladera are the attractive dry gullies and arroyos that Hanse, Wagner and their team cut through the site emulating sandy, eroded vegetative lows that water would rush through during rare periods of heavy rain. The excavated sand was used to create sweeping elevation changes and to prop up greens like the par-3 fourth, the altar-like 15th, the par-3 16th and the par-5 17th that hangs over the edge of a deep arroyo.

About

Holes 18
Length 7365
Facility Type Private
Year Opened 2023
Designer Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner

Awards

Best New Courses

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