Remembering Terra Lago

I had a chance Wednesday to hang out at Terra Lago Golf Club in Indio watching some of the nation’s best prep golfers in the very impressive Champions Invitational high school tournament. But what was just as interesting as the high school players was the flood of memories that came back just walking into the clubhouse at Terra Lago.

The two 18-hole courses used to go by the name Landmark Golf Club and from 1999 to 2002, the courses were the home of the Skins Game. This is back when the Skins Game still had some juice behind in and players like Greg Norman and Colin Montgomerie and Vijay Singh and Fred Couples were playing in the event.

There were many reminders of the days when Landmark was a budding course. Opening day ceremonies that included Johnny Bench and Robert Wagner are celebrated with photos and ceremonial shovels. The Skins Games are celebrated with massive replica cards on the walls.

The first event held at Landark was the 1999 Skins Game, an event that came to the course on the north side of I-10 in Indio becauseĀ  the course’s developers, Joe Walser and Ernie Vossler, had a relationship with the Skins Game producers dating back to Joe and Ernie’s time at PGA West.

It didn’t end particularly well at Landmark for the Skins Game. The event left after four years of a five-year deal because Landmark couldn’t pay its bills and was taken over by its financial partners. That meant they couldn’t pay the site fee for the Skins Game, and so the Skins Game left for Trilogy Golf Club in south La Quinta.

Today, Terra Lago is doing a thriving business, offering all kinds of deals to get players on its two courses. But there is no chance that the folks who show up and play Terra Lago will miss the fact that the Skins Game was once played there. There are too many reminders all around the place.