Review: Desert Willow Golf Resort (Firecliff Course)

Desert Willow Golf Resort is located in Palm Desert, California and offers two championship golf courses called the Firecliff Course and the Mountain View Course. This review is for the Firecliff Course, and you can also check out my review for the Mountain View Course.

The first thing you’ll notice when pulling into Desert Willow is that it’s a beautiful property. From the rolling fairways you catch glimpses of while driving in, to the large pro shop and enormous patio overlooking the 9th and 18th greens. They’ve set things up proper, and you’ll be greeted by extremely friendly staff.

The entrance:

The Firecliff Course, which can play as long as 7056 yards from the back tees, is rated the more difficult of the two courses.

They have a large practice area which includes a grass tee range, a chipping green and a large putting green. It seemed to adequately satisfy the warm-up needs of two very busy tee sheets without any hassle.

As you set out onto the course, the design feature likely to first catch your eye is the consistently deep bunkers both along the fairways and green-side.

Solid driving of the golf ball is a great start on any golf course, but particularly on the Firecliff Course. Although pretty to look at, you want nothing to do with the deep fairway bunkers which, in many situations, could prevent you from advancing your ball too far.

The par 5 1st hole tee shot:

Approach to the par 5 1st hole:

The par 3’s were all very fun and provided a good mix of different distances, while all demanding well placed shots.

Several of the par 4’s are gently uphill and play longer than the card says, making driver the usual club of choice off the tee. However, there were a couple holes where some other strategies could be considered.

Looking back on the short par 4 6th hole:

Looking back on the difficult par 4 9th hole:

The par 5 13th tee shot:

The par 3 14th hole:

The par 5 18th hole from the patio:

All in all, if you’re up for a challenge, The Firecliff Course at Desert Willow provides everything you need for a fun day on the links.

The course is difficult but very fair. If you strategize your way around the course and leave your ball in the proper spots, it will reward you. If you find a lot of fairway bunkers and miss greens on the wrong side, you will be firmly punished and struggle to score well.

The course has a consistent feel throughout, yet each hole has its own character. As is with a lot of desert golf, you don’t see adjacent fairways while you’re playing and you certainly can’t bail out on to other holes. The surrounding desert is heavily vegetated so keeping it in play is a must, but they certainly give you a fair amount of room to do that.

From my understanding, the prices can fluctuate online and they often advertise specials, so keep on eye out and you might get on for a steal. I highly recommend stopping in at Desert Willow to play The Firecliff Course on a trip to Palm Desert/Palm Springs, it won’t disappoint!

Happy golfing!


7 thoughts on “Review: Desert Willow Golf Resort (Firecliff Course)

    1. Jim

      Had a great time indeed. Jury is still out regarding the effect of winter golf on my game. I had some golfers elbow off the start which held me back a bit. Now that I’m back to nearly 100% I’ll need some more reps to get a better idea. My goal is to just try and stay focused as I’ve had a tendency in the past to be a bit sloppy with my winter “vacation” golf, not a habit I want to get into on a 3 month winter trip. Will be a lot of fun, and a good topic for a blog post.

      Thanks for the comment!


Let Us Know What You Think