Water rules at The Classic Club in Palm Desert, California

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- Even from a considerable distance, the clubhouse of The Classic Club towers over the flat desert landscape.

This cathedral clubhouse, home to excellent food and facilities, serves as the symbol of just how classy clubs must be to thrive in the Coachella Valley. Troon Golf runs a first-class operation, providing complimentary valet service and course conditions good enough to still host the pros, as the semi-private club did during the Bob Hope Classic from 2006-08.

Water defines the essence of Arnold Palmer's 7,322-yard design. It's everywhere, 30 acres in all, in play on roughly 12 holes. Palmer provides wide corridors with a caveat: Miss it on the proper side or sink in the drink. There's a seven-hole stretch in the middle of the round -- holes 7-13 -- where water dictates virtually every shot.

The striking clubhouse frames the approach shot to the seventh green that dangles into a pond. The eighth tee shot will feel like the most daunting of the day, an all-carry poke over the same hazard. The island-green 12th might be the most photogenic par 3 in the entire valley. Water-drenched par 5s at Nos. 9 and 18 end both nines in dramatic style.

Well groomed plants, trees and flowers keep The Classic Club looking as good as it plays.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Water rules at The Classic Club in Palm Desert, California
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