Widely considered to be the first desert course ever built, Desert Forest was designed by Robert “Red” Lawrence—a founding member and president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects—and opened in 1962. Revered for its minimalist design and effective use of the natural contours of the land, the course has been previously ranked on our 100 Greatest and Second 100 Greatest lists. In 2013, the course underwent a $3 million renovation led by David Zinkland—a longtime associate of the Coore and Crenshaw design firm—which improved sightlines from tee boxes, added strategic bunkering and refined the greens. Referred to by our own Mike Stachura as “an American golf course design landmark,” Desert Forest is deceptively simple, with few fairway bunkers or doglegs, but requires thoughtful strategy to manage the undulating layout.
100 Greatest: Ranked for 36 years, from 1969-2004. Highest ranking: No. 57, 1997-'98.
Second 100 Greatest: Ranked 191st, 2013-'14. Ranked 197th, 2017-'18.
Best in State: Ranked first, 1985, 2001. Ranked inside the top 5, 1977-2005. Ranked seventh, 2021-'22. Ranked ninth, 2011-'12, 2017-'18, 2019-'20. Ranked inside the top 10, 2007-'10. Ranked 12th, 2013-'14, 2015-'16.