Golfing in the Desert: Are Green Landscapes Overrated?
When golfing in the desert, play early in the day
Hear the word ‘golf’ and you’ll likely associate it with rolling greens, lush landscapes, native foliage, and brilliant robins. However, where your mind usually doesn’t is the desert, where you’ll be surprised to find some of the most spectacular courses in the country.
Classes in the desert provide a unique experience that you might not get in a typical setting, and we’re not just talking about a unique backdrop. While new sports centers plan to increase in 2022, many athletes are returning to the field (or the course). So if you are looking for a desert trip, here is what you can expect when you hit the sand.
What to expect when golfing in the desert
No two desert routes are equal. You may find that they differ in terrain, climate, and general atmosphere. Either way, here are some common factors you can expect to see on a desert course.
Constantly changing weather
Contrary to popular belief, not all deserts are hot. In fact, many of them have temperatures in the dozens, so you’ll need to be wary of freezing, ice, and the risk of hypothermia.
Wildlife and other dangers
If you spend most of your time playing in clubs, you’re probably already used to scavenging your ball from sand traps and bunkers. However, desert routes present greater risks, including rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas, and even Gila monsters. So if you lose a bullet in the wilderness, you better leave it where it was.
Just as they are extremely cold, the desert courtyards are also incredibly hot. Temperatures tend to soar until the mid-1990s, with humidity levels below 10%. Therefore, you never want to go without sunscreen or lip balm.
When you go into the desert, use sunscreen with at least 50 SPF and lip balm with 30 SPF. Also, keep in mind that rising temperatures can put you at risk of heat stroke, so stay hydrated!
Tips for playing golf in the desert
If you want to try golf in the desert, these tips can ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Whether or not you choose to play in the wilderness, staying hydrated is a must. After all, a typical golf match can last anywhere from three and a half to four hours. So always have a drink before you go and take a sip of water between the holes.
While sports drinks like Gatorade may suffice, we always recommend taking bottled water instead.
Wear the appropriate clothes
While your regular golfing may come in handy at your local clubhouse, the same cannot be said for their performance in the desert. For example, while cotton can get a bad rap in the outerwear industry, it will serve you well in the desert thanks to its impeccable moisture retention.
We also recommend that you put on a windbreaker or thicker jacket, especially if you play in the winter. Replace your regular golf pants with lightweight pants that are both breathable and insulated.
What you won’t want to give up is your favorite golf hat. Consider one with a windproof cord to keep it from blowing away in the midst of high winds.
Play early in the day
If possible, you want to leave a desert course at midday to avoid having to deal with the scorching heat. Remember that a typical game lasts three hours (or more), so try to be on the course at 7 a.m.
Know your limits
Competitive players love to challenge themselves, but it should never come at the cost of your health. If you are not feeling well, do not expose yourself to heat exhaustion.
Best desert golf courses
The Southwestern United States is full of the best desert courses in the country. So if you are planning a road trip and want to hike the best desert routes on the map, consider stopping at the following locations.
New Mexico is home to some of the desert’s most spectacular courses, such as Paa-ko Ridge, Rockwind Community Links, and Black Mesa. Not only do they offer awesome views of the Sierra Blanca peak, but they present must-try risk and reward opportunities, tricky shots and experiences for players of all skill levels.
Tuscon is well known for its affordable but high-end golf facilities and challenging playing conditions. While some of its desert courses are graced with grass and water, some are a bigger obstacle: shallow temperatures and high elevation.
If you prefer more variety, however, you might want to head to Phoenix-Scottsdale. Here you will discover layers of desert like no other, especially in Troon North, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes and the Boulders.
California is one of America’s funniest places and has to be the most gorgeous of any desert golf course, especially if Coachella Valley is on your itinerary. Coachella Valley should be on your list if you only have room for one desert course. Plus, if you’re playing in the winter, or sometimes in the spring, expect to see tufts of snow kissing the stunning peaks of the course.
Coachella Valley plays a lot hotter than the Phoenix and Tucson courses during the summer, so if you tend to get cold, take a rest!
Las Vegas is not only famous for its casinos, you can also enjoy a competitive game of high stakes desert golf. Of course, due to its temperamental and unpredictable weather, it offers turf lessons all year round. Nonetheless, you’ll want to account for his tough elevations and prepare for a bit more swing.
While there is little to no rainfall throughout the year, Vegas is wetter than you might think, so dress appropriately and stay hydrated while you gamble.
If the weather is bothering you, consider heading to Nevada in the spring and fall when the weather is much nicer.
The bottom line
When it comes to an exciting new golf-centric experience, don’t leave desert destinations behind. You will be surprised to discover how rewarding and enjoyable a start to Coachella Valley or TPC Las Vegas can be!
To learn more about the author’s work, click here Golf Influence.