If you appreciate golf course architecture and the strategic intricacies of the game, make a tee time to play Shadow Ridge Golf Club when you are in Palm Springs. The course, which opened in 2000, is the star amenity of the Marriott Shadow Ridge Resort in Palm Desert, though you don t have to stay at the resort to play here. Shadow Ridge Golf Club was the first American design by six-time major winner Nick Faldo. Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley assisted Faldo on this stunningly beautiful course that is considered one of Faldo s best creations. Over the years Shadow Ridge Golf Club has racked up a slew of honors. Not only has it been a fixture on lists of the best Palm Springs layouts, it has appeared on the honor roll of top resort courses in the country and top public courses in California. Faldo wanted the playing field to sport a unique look. He took inspiration from the great sand-belt courses of Australia, notably, Kingston Heath and Royal Melbourne. Set against the sublime backdrop of the Santa Rosa Mountains, Shadow Ridge Golf Club s big fairways are lined by large, boldly shaped bunkers and tall native fescue grasses. The contrasting colors present an aesthetically appealing scene and vividly define the holes. Though a few holes?feature water, it s Faldo's bunkering and green complexes?that give Shadow Ridge Golf Course its bite. The sand traps are large and deep with tall faces Sir Nick has called them menacing and most importantly, strategically placed. Faldo famously stated that in addition to giving the playing field a unique look, he sought to design a course that not only tests a player s skill, but also his imagination and character. Shadow Ridge Golf Club may be a resort course but it doesn't?play like a resort course.The layout features an abundance of doglegs and approach shots that are full of intimidation. It's?a challenge not only to reach the heavily bunkered greens, but also to hold the large undulating putting surfaces (beware of false fronts), as balls tend to drift off into closely mown collection areas. Options abound for players who have a creative short game. Less skilled players can take some solace because the game here is not about forced carries,?especially if you play from a distance that?suits your?skill level. Additionally, Shadow Ridge Golf Club is conducive to players opting to use a putter from well off the putting surfaces. If you can survive the?very difficult front nine without blowing?up your scorecard, the par 4s and risk-reward holes on the back nine are a bit more manageable and fun to play. Just be ready for a great finish with a par-3 that calls for a carry over water and a brilliant par 4 with a rock-lined creek running through it. Before taking to the first tee at Shadow Ridge Golf Club, be sure you are warmed up. The practice facilities here are excellent. They include a driving range, pitching and chipping area with practice bunkers, and putting greens. The clubhouse boasts a full-service pro shop, locker rooms, and a restaurant and bar. When he designed Shadow Ridge Golf Club, Nick Faldo wanted the layout to take the Marriott resort, a family-friendly property with lots to do, to a new level. The exacting standards of all aspects of the golf course suggest that he has achieved that goal.