Shoot for the Moon at
The Reserve Club
The Reserve in Indian Wells, CA
By Tim Cotroneo
When The Reserve Club’s Golf Course in Indian Wells, CA, was built back in 1998, there was a shoot for the moon mentality that said, “What if we design and build a golf course that exceeds our members wildest dreams?”
The Reserve Developers, Bob Lowe and Ted Lennon discussed choosing an acclaimed designer for their project, one who specialized in desert golf. A second “what if” was envisioning a course that offered amazing views from every angle. That led to a search for the perfect site, and a golf course surrounded by not one, but four mountain ranges.
The next level of dreaming tapped into the hidden desires of golfers everywhere, the desires that are rarely met. The developers pushed the envelope and made it a priority that The Reserve would not only be beautiful, but tee times would not be required. If that wasn’t enough, they added superb practice facilities that included a massive driving range along with three extra golf holes.
Bring the Dream to Life
Fast forward to today, and The Reserve Club’s Golf Course has checked every box. Just so you don’t think The Reserve members have gotten complacent over the past two decades, realize that they’ve recently celebrated a $10 million renovation to their clubhouse. The dreaming never stops in Indian Wells.
Flash back to when The Reserve projections were first formulating, that’s when Tom Weiskopf and design partner Jay Moorish were selected as the golf architects who would bring the dream to life. As important as choosing the maestros to orchestrate The Reserve’s grand design was, the development site was even more paramount.
The Reserve’s timing was impeccable. A 700-acre parcel framed by the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains was purchased. This property offered breathtaking views that were suitable for framing. The setting blended within a pristine desert eco-system that offered photogenic elevations and vistas that stretched for miles.
The 7000-yard, 18-hole course that members and guests play today is an ever-evolving dream come true. The Reserve woos golfers well before teeing it up on the Par 5, 510-yard, first hole. The jaunt over the bridge leading to the Club Village is a visual stunner. Reserve members burst their buttons showing off the refurbished 30,000-square-foot clubhouse that features a Tuscan stone exterior and glass rich interior reflecting the epic mountain views.
The Reserve’s boundless imagination is also evident with a golfer’s first glimpse of the double-ended 382-yard driving range. The Reserve what if mantra is on display with not one, not two, but three trophy holes. These Par 3, Par 4, and Par 5 golf holes are for practice, for lessons, and for playoffs during tournament play. It doesn’t take long for first time visitors to realize The Reserve is a real-life golf dreamscape. If that’s not enough, your 18-hole round triggers something that is wonderfully unexpected.
The Quietest Place
The Reserve Golf Course is one of the quietest places on earth. The magnificence of the canyons and four neighboring mountain ranges generates a sense of peace that is hard to put into words. In fact, members comment that guests are often rendered speechless by their surroundings. To play golf in an environment in which Mother Nature is on display in all her glory is simply priceless.
When asked about his impressions of how The Reserve Club’s Golf Course has evolved over the past two decades, course designer Weiskopf couldn’t help gushing a bit. “No matter how many times I visit, I always am impressed by the exclusive feeling of the setting and the attention to detail here,” Weiskopf said.
Nowhere is this detail more evident than on The Reserve’s picturesque 17th hole. “On this 197-yard, Par 3, it was extremely difficult building the triple-tiered tee box. From each vantage point golfers enjoy a separate and wonderful view. When I look back on the work that went into building those tee boxes and that green, and then see the way it looks today, that’s gratifying,” Weiskopf recalled.
Gratitude is the perfect word to describe what Reserve members feel about one of the golf community’s first hires. Lori Gavitt was working as a horticulturist at another club when she was approached by The Reserve just after the course opened in 1999.
The Reserve team’s environmental game plan struck a nerve with Gavitt. She came on board after learning that coexisting with native desert, trees, and plants was part of The Reserve’s long-term vision. “Keeping the right plant in the right place is easier said than done. The Reserve didn’t want to look or feel like every other course,” Gavitt said.
Gavitt’s nurturing green thumb is evident everywhere you look at this desert mountain slice of paradise. Gavitt pointed to a 15-foot Texas Mountain Laurel tree that is flourishing by the ninth green. “That tree started out as a potted plant next to the clubhouse. What you see at The Reserve is inspiring. It’s like watching a child grow,” Gavitt said.
From the renovated clubhouse, to the three-tiered tee box, to the flourishing plant life that accents throughout, The Reserve is an ever-changing work in progress. It’s amazing what can happen when you shoot for the moon and ask, “What if?”