The desert’s top 100 golf holes, or what I did on my summer vacation

When the idea of me selecting my personal top 100 golf holes in the desert came up early in the summer, and then the idea of filming a short video of each hole was bounced around, I’m not sure I understood just how much work it would be. I know for sure that’s videographer, Marilyn Chung, didn’t know how much work she would be in for.

The fruits of a summer and early fall of labor, often in the extreme humidity and the heat of the summer that nearly melted poor Marilyn a time or two, will be revealed this Sunday on the One hundred holes from across the desert will be featured with more than 60 courses allowing Marilyn and me access to their courses to film the holes I think are particularly interesting in the desert.

Recognize this famous desert hole? It the 18th green of the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage (Marilyn Chung/The Desert Sun)

The criteria for the list was pretty simple. There was no criteria. This was not particularly the 100 most beautiful holes, or the 100 toughest holes. They are just, well, my holes. Holes that have in some way shape or form said something to me through the years. They might be on the list for beauty, or for difficulty. But they also might be on the list because they are kind of quirky and stand out from the crowd. Or they might be on the list because they are historic holes in the desert in some fashion.

What you will see is that even for the holes that we shot in the summer, the desert is a beautiful and compelling place for golf. The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop, but they also provide interesting opportunities for course architects to use those mountains. You will also see that the desert, at least in the hands of a talented golf architect, can be anything but flat and boring.

The holes on the list are as diverse as I could make them (understanding that some courses just never returned my call when I wanted to include them on the list). There are ultra-private courses, resort courses and daily-fee courses. There are, for the record, 25 par-3s, 22 par-5s and 53 par-4s on the list. But as a way of trying to make sure as many hidden gems in the desert made the list, we decided to limit each 18-hole course to no more than two holes on the list.

The credit for the project goes to Marilyn Chung, who not only shot the video but edited it, gave the videos styles and even produced the opening credits for each video. And Nick Bolland of our editorial online department did wonderful work in producing the pages for each video.

I’m sure I had something to do with this, but I can’t remember what now.

So please enjoy the list when it debuts on the web site over the weekend, or you can access the list directly at And if you want, please take a moment over the new few days and tweet me a comment or a suggestion of a hole you would have had on your list. After all, everyone’s list is a little different. My Twitter account is @mydesertgolf. Use the hashtag #my100holes.

Enjoy and debate.