Sunday, January 1, 2017

A long weekend in Borrego Springs California

Borrego Springs CA

  Never heard if it? Neither had I, but 45 or 50 miles south of  Palm Springs sits the tiny, sleepy, peaceful,  town of Borrego Springs. So peaceful, in fact, that there isn't a stop light in or even near the town  (the closest stoplight  is over 25 miles away).

  The town is surrounded by  Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in California with over 500 miles of dirt roads and many wilderness areas, hiking trails, bird watching and is an International Dark Sky Community.  The almost black night sky is a star gazers paradise.

What to do here
There are thousands of miles of hiking trails  (the most popular is Borrego Palm Canyon)   a Desert Botanical gardens, hundreds of miles of off roading and 4WD trails.
And of course the many sky art sculptures of Ricardo Breceda.  And don't let me forget to mention the Golf because that is primarily why  I came in the first place.  

At the Warner Springs Airport you can take a gilder ride over this beautiful mountain landscape.  This is a dark sky community so the star gazing is superb and if you are lucky you will spot some big horn sheep in the park.

Family Activities in Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs is a hidden gem for the family. There are families who make an annual pilgrimage here  to unwind, get away and spend quality family time together.  You could spend days exploring Anza- Borrego Desert State Park,  A couple examples:  drive 4 miles off road to visit Fonts Point.  Its like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon with an awesome view. 

The park has a Junior Ranger program for kids 7-12 with a classroom in the visitors center where they meet with park rangers and are given a junior ranger log book. They learn the secrets of the desert environment, about  animals that do and used to live here, The ancient Indians who used to live here. Fossils from prehistoric times when this park was under the ocean and much more.  There are also Ranger led hikes and talks in the park everyday.

La Casa del Zoro
We stayed at La Casa Del Zorro,which reopened in 2013.  Its wonderfully renovated 44 pool side guest rooms and 19 private casitas with multiple bedrooms  make it an easy place to bring the entire family. And if you really want to live it up rent the Happy Days house, the former winter get away for publishing magnate James Copley.

There are enough activities here that you may never want to leave the resort and it  also has an extensive kids club with Bocce ball, horseshoes, dive in movies, treasure hunts and much more— just contact the hotel for details.

All this and world class golf too
Rams Hill is a golf course gem in the most unlikely of destinations. 
This Tom Fazio designed course is one of the few in the U.S. that is open to public play.  Lakes, streams, waterfalls, elevation changes and vistas for miles into the  Santa Rosa mountains of the Anza-Borrego State Park make this a very special place.  Stretching from  7247 yards down to 5064 yards with 5 sets of tees, make this a wonderful place for all levels of golfers.  And if you don't like golf  your are still going to love the views that keep changing on each and every hole.

 Numbers One and Two start off up the hill from the clubhouse and then three levels out.  The 4 par threes are all spectacular and the view of Santa Rosa Mountain from  the downhill number seven almost makes you want to just sit down and soak it all in for a while on the tee box.

Rams Hill is in a housing development  but the houses are set back so far that  after a few holes you forget they are even there, and the fairways are so wide that most errant tee shots will probably find a safe place to land.

You wont soon forget number eleven  a 556 yard downhill par 5 with a stream running down the entire left side. and views of the surrounding mountains that seem like they go on forever.  Number seventeen is a classic  drivable par 4 but  when you look at all the bunkering that lays before you, you better think twice about where to put your tee shot.  Number eighteen, a par 5 around a lake is a serene finish to a wonderful day.
Having spent 3 nights here I can clearly say that if you are coming to play golf in the Palm Springs area  you should include a night or two down here.

Rams Hill is not the only golf in town—- if you want a simpler yet fun round head for  Borrego Springs Golf Resort.  It is desigined by San Diego golf architect  Cary Bickler. With his creative use of mounding he turns a flat piece of desert land into one with some interesting elevation changes.

Getting here

1 hour 15 minutes by car from Palm Springs  and less than a two hour drive from San Diego—  Its also just a 4 hour drive from the Phoenix airport.