Mountain climbs higher


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Pete Dye's Mountain course at La Quinta in California has just been extensively renovated by the resort, with the assistance of the architect and his son Perry.

The renovation was designed to preserve the Mountain course's reputation as one of the toughest in the state. Director of golf Brad Benkey said the course is now even more challenging for lower handicap golfers, yet more enjoyable for higher handicappers. Among the most dramatic aspects of the renovation is a new championship tee on the par three 16th hole. The new tee is set back well into the natural desert area – to the extent that a small mower is kept permanently on the tee to cut the grass – and the hole now features a three storey drop in the 167 yards between tee and green. All 18 tee boxes on the 5,010-6,758 yard, par 72 course have been reconstructed, and the greens resurfaced using Tifdwarf Bermuda grass, which is expected to help the course better withstand the desert's extreme climate. New cart paths have also been installed around the facility.

In addition, the two Dyes consulted on the reshaping of the second, fifth and sixth greens as well as significant changes that were made to four of the tee areas.

"We took a certain amount of slope out of the greens to make more pinnable area available," said Benkey. The second and 14th tee boxes were redesigned and enlarged to double and triple their previous sizes. As well as the 16th hole, the fifth now also has a mountainside championship tee box.