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Palm Desert CC Set to Reopen


One of the oldest golf courses in California's Coachella Valley is about to reopen following a lengthy closure. The once-popular Palm Desert Country Club will start hosting golfers again on January 1st.

Opened in 1962 with 18 regulation-length holes designed by Billy Bell followed later by an executive nine, Palm Desert underwent upheaval in June 2009 when its then-owners filed for bankruptcy. The greens were kept alive, but many area residents who once flocked to the public facility worried that it would be permanently closed.

Particularly concerned were the 1,000-plus Palm Desert Country Club Association homeowners who could only watch helplessly while property values plummeted as their primary recreational amenity sat fallow.

But hopes are high after a group of Canadian investors called PD Golf Operations acquired the property in September. The group has since invested over $10 million in upgrades to the two courses and the 13,000-square-foot clubhouse. Architect Cary Bickler renovated both courses, including the addition of new water hazards.

"Every day we have 10, 20, 30 people come through asking when we're going to open," Louise Neyer, of Louise M. Neyer Interiors, told reporter Sherry Barkas of My Desert.com.

Neyer, whose firm helped restore the clubhouse, knows Palm Desert CC well, having grown up in the non-gated community in the 1970s.

The new proprietors hired a new director of golf, Dave Zickau, formerly of Indian Palms. "We're focused on customer service so when they come here the first day, they will want to come back. That's what will sustain us," Zickau told Barkas.

Zickau said green fees won't be more than $69 for 18 holes on the regulation course, while the highest rate for the executive nine is set at $32. "We want to give people a $100 golf course for $69 or less," Zickau told Barkas. "We're a public golf course, but we want it to feel like a private golf course."

Members of the homeowners association are also thrilled with the turnaround. "They certainly have changed the mood of the community. It's very positive, very upbeat," Palm Desert Country Club Association manager Phyllis Harkins said during a recent Project Area 4 Committee meeting at City Hall.

And it looks like the course's new owners are here to stay. Two of the partners have bought homes within the association, Harkins said. "So they're definitely making a contribution to the community," she told Barkas.

"In 22 years I've never seen the course in better condition," added Terry Archer, a homeowner who lives along the 18-hole course, the former site of the Hope for Tomorrow tournament, whose past winners include Tom Kite and John Cook.

For the full story in My Desert.com, visit http://www.mydesert.com/article/20111222/NEWS05/112210346/Country-club-nearly-ready-reopen.

For more information about Palm Desert Country Club or to get a tee time after the first of the year, call 760/345-2525 or visit http://www.palmdesertcountryclub.com/.