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Great Golf Getaways: Indian Wells, California

Great Golf Getaways: Indian Wells, CaliforniaGreat Golf Getaways: Indian Wells, California

As a golfer, I'm constantly looking for convenient destinations I can visit for weekend getaways -- places I can drive to and be on the course and playing within about two hours from leaving home. Less than two hours from downtown Los Angeles, Indian Wells, California, offers golfers a year-round oasis in the desert.

Indian Wells

Indian Wells is easily reached via the 10 freeway from Los Angeles, about 30 minutes past Palm Springs. The Indian Wells Golf Resort is home to the golf TV show "Big Break Indian Wells" and has hosted the legendary Skins Game.

Where to Play

The Indian Wells Golf Resort (44500 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, California) offers 36 holes of amazing golf on what is actually a public course. There are two separate courses, the Players Course and the Celebrity Course, which hosted the Skins Game in 2007 and 2008. I played the Players Course, which is just under 7,000 yards long, set against the backdrop of the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa, and San Bernardino mountain ranges.

Great Golf Getaways: Indian Wells, CaliforniaGreat Golf Getaways: Indian Wells, California

The Players Course is well-maintained and offers a good range of play. It's the kind of course that's challenging to skilled players, yet forgiving for less-skilled players like myself. Our group had both, and we all enjoyed it. There is a good mix of long and short holes and enough bunkers and lakes to keep players challenged. Despite the hazards, careful players who don't take chances can shoot decent scores here.

Aside from the courses, there's a fancy clubhouse with upscale dining at the IW Club. There's an extensive pro shop and a Callaway Golf Performance Center. The resort has a lighted, 18-hole putting practice area and two large driving ranges.

Costs

During the high season (October 1 to May 31), booked online, a round of golf with a cart is $160 per person on either course. For better exercise and a much better price, golfers can "walk the Wells" (no cart) daily after 4 p.m. for $25.

Where to Stay

Great Golf Getaways: Indian Wells, CaliforniaGreat Golf Getaways: Indian Wells, California

I like the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Spa and Resort (44600 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, California), which is on the Indian Wells Golf Resort property. For a true luxury experience, I would recommend one of their Palm Springs Villas, which are like mini houses, each up to 1,900 square feet. My villa came with a large bedroom with a very high ceiling and a huge living room area, complete with fireplace and 42-inch flat-screen TV. The bedroom had another big flat-screen TV. One wall in the living room was an entertainment/kitchen center with a refrigerator, microwave, bar sink, and a full set of dishes and utensils. The entertainment center included a surround-sound receiver with speakers in the ceiling and walls and an iPod/iPhone jack. The living room even had a big faux fireplace. The best part was the private jacuzzi outside on a huge patio, with a BBQ grill and several sets of tables and chairs for guests.

The villas come with their own butler, and I found the service very helpful. He took care of making my tee time arrangements and picked up me and my golf clubs and drove us to the clubhouse. After my round, the butler returned to the clubhouse to pick me up and return me to the villa. Additional butler services include preparing various specialty baths, as well as serving drinks or food at any party I might have thrown. The hotel also features a full-service spa, Agua Serena, with a gym open 24 hours.

Great Golf Getaways: Indian Wells, CaliforniaGreat Golf Getaways: Indian Wells, California

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Spa and Resort room and golf packages are available from $364 per day for one person for a pool- or golf-view room. One-bedroom Palm Springs Villa rates start at $664 per day; both rates include a round of golf and a free same-day replay, plus a free twilight game on day of arrival.

After-Golf Fun

For great dining, drinking, and dancing, join all the Indian Wells locals at The Nest (75188 Highway 111, Indian Wells, California), a retro hotspot that's been the place to go since 1965.

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