Playing a Desert Golf Course
Some of the best golf courses in the US are smack dab in the middle of deserts. For many of us, these are great
vacation spots, but we often find difficulty playing on such dry, arid courses.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your desert golf course play.
One tip that may help many golfers planning to play their first round on a desert course is that many of these
courses do not allow metal spikes to worn.
If your golf shoes have metal spikes, you may want to call ahead to see if you can wear them on the course.
Some desert courses have what is known as the "desert rule". This rule keeps players from wandering off into the
natural desert which can be risky on many levels. In general, the desert rule is played the same as a water hazard
rule would be played elsewhere. Player takes a one stroke penalty and will drop the ball within 2 club lengths of
the entry point.
Most golf courses that are located in or right next to a desert environment do not allow players to drive golf
carts into the desert itself. This is to protect both the golfer and the desert.
Playing a desert course may mean running into some exotic and, sometimes, dangerous creatures. If you have to go
looking for a ball in the rocks or bushes, use a club to search for it and not your hand. You never know what is
taking a nap in there.
Desert golf courses can get very hot during the day. Some may even break the 100 degree mark. You will need to
have plenty of water with you as well as a good sunscreen. It is always best to play with someone else in case of
If you begin to feel faint or your vision begins to blur, seek help quickly and get out of the heat. This could
be the beginning of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
You may notice, depending on the course you are playing, that your ball seems to go farther in this climate. Dry
air offers little resistance (drag) to golf balls and they can travel a bit farther if hit properly.
Also, this type of climate can cause the ball to roll farther once it lands on the fairway. All of this may
require you to make a few adjustments with your club selection. Long shots are great unless they happen to fly over
A good tip to remember when playing a desert course is that balls tend to break toward water and away from
mountains. Many desert courses have man-made lakes and ponds on them, and your ball may break toward them once you
get on the green.
Likewise, many desert courses are located near mountain ranges, and balls may tend to break away from those.
These two tips can help you sink more putts, which is always nice.
Desert courses often contain some very unique features, many of which involve sand. For this reason, you may
want to consider changing up your clubs a bit. Carrying a couple of wedges (the sand wedge and the lob wedge, for
example) is often a very good idea as these lofted clubs come in very handy.
All in all, playing a desert golf course can be challenging and fun if you are prepared for the adventure. If
you are not sure about a course's dress requirements or other issue, contact them before you begin your journey. It
is better to know what to expect than to be surprised and not allowed to play.
Remember that being golf fit can also help take the edge off in
conditions such as these. Check out Mike Pedersen's program for some help: