In this Desert Sun article, Judd Spicer, a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, takes a look at 10 of his favorite local public courses (arranged in alphabetical order):

Desert Dunes Golf Club

The Coachella Valley's lone public Robert Trent Jones, Jr.  design is found in Desert Hot Springs, where Desert Dunes charts among the region's most unique plays. Judd acknowledges that the winds can blow out there on occasion, but on calm days, you can enjoy the wealth of nature and solitude on a course sporting a wealth of getable pars for the strong wedge player. 1900 Palm Drive, Desert Hot Springs, 760-251-5370,

Desert Falls Country Club

Judd claims that this Ron Fream-designed Palm Desert play catches many off-guard. While many community-style courses from this era can cater to a higher-handicap crowd, Desert Falls offers a host of challenging, fun holes, combined with some tricky greens. 1111 Desert Falls Parkway, Palm Desert, 760-340-5646, 

Greg Norman Course at PGA West

Oftentimes overshadowed by its more famed sister courses, Judd says that the Norman plays with minimal turf and maximum tranquility.  Set apart from the bustle of the PGA WEST Tournament clubhouse, the Norman routes with decomposed granite (the "DG"), which is a style of play desert golfers may well want to become familiar with sooner than later, as the next decade's water restriction will no doubt find more courses angling to play with less green and more brown. 81405 Kingston Heath, La Quinta, 760-564-3900,

Hawk's Landing

Situated about 30-minutes from Palm Springs up in the cooler-environs of Yucca Valley, this 12-hole course (with a great driving range) makes a fun and fast play. The 6-hole loops drawn at Hawk's also speak to the future of golf, as the game's time constraints have been driving players away in recent years; but up at Hawk's, time really flies, making it a great stop to swoop over a 6-, 12- or 18-hole day. 55100 Martinez Trail, Yucca Valley, 760-365-0033,

Mountain Vista Sun City

The twin Billy Casper-designed courses offer really, really generous landing areas from the tee and are always in top playing condition. These two courses make for an excellent stop to get a desert golf vacation underway, as continually finding your tee ball in playable grass (aided by bowled fairways) makes for a great confidence builder. 38180 Del Webb Blvd., Palm Desert, 760-200-2200,

Omni Rancho Las Palmas

A trio of Ted Robinson-designed nine-hole courses define Rancho Las Palmas.  Judd writes that personally, these courses always seem to fit his eye and he just seems to score well here, as the 9s really dial-in iron requirements and promote careful, club-down study from the tees. Valley visitors always have fun, where high-handicappers aren't overly-penalized and single-digit players contend with needed accuracy on a host of the 27 holes. 41000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, 760-568-2727,

Shadow Hills North Course

Judd writes that he recently checked-out this 18-hole, par-3 play for the first time and was really impressed. He felt that the course has some muscle in distance along with a host of hazards along the way; it was a super fun play that he'll be returning to soon, especially when he feels the need to dial-in his lofted irons. 81-240 Sun City Blvd..m, Indio, 760-625-1534,

Shadow Mountain Golf Club

One of a mere handful of designs from the great Gene Sarazen, Judd really digs this 5,400-yard par-70 track with about 700 mature palms and surprisingly undulated green structures.  Classic green-to-tee segues support a timely round that proves a fine test of wedge and flat stick play throughout. 73-800 Ironwood St., Palm Desert, 760-346-8242,

The Lights at Indio Golf Course

This course offers the valley's only night-lit golf, along with a burgeoning FootGolf scene. Akin to Shadow Hills, this par-3 course asks for more than a wedge and putter and always proves tougher than first-timers think. And just as Shadow (or Rancho Las Palmas) makes for excellent 7- or 8-iron refinement, The Lights will really shine on the strong 5- or 6-iron player. Playing at over 3,000 yards, this is one of the longest par-3 courses in the country, sporting seven holes at 179 yards or longer. 83040 Avenue 42, Indio, 760-391-4049,

Woodhaven Country Club

Judd advises that the next time you’re seeking a round, stop in at this Palm Desert club on Washington and Hovley. A shorter, par-70 design with an array of fun and strategic holes, Woodhaven has a way of squeezing you from the tees, making your next round at one of the lengthy, wide open Big Daddy tracks seem all the more inviting from the box. 41-555 Woodhaven Drive East, Palm Desert, 760-345-7636,

To read Judd Spicer’s original article and view the accompanying pictures, courtesy of The Desert Sun, please visit: