Sheri's Palm Springs Area Blog

Whether it be real estate updates, restaurant reviews, events, or highlights of unique homes in Palm Springs, follow Sheri as she covers all that Palm Springs and the surrounding area has to offer.

Toughest Hole in the Desert

They call it Alcatraz — an island green that taunts players at the tee a mere 166 yards away at PGA West in La Quinta.

EMILY CHAVOUS APRIL 16, 2019 CURRENT GUIDEGOLF

The 17th hole at PGA West is touted by pros as being among the sport's most diabolical.   PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PGA WEST

The 17th hole at PGA West is touted by pros as being among the sport's most diabolical.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PGA WEST

They call it Alcatraz — an island green that taunts players at the tee a mere 166 yards away. The entire Pete Dye–designed Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta brims with hazards, and the 17th hole, with more lake than grass, is touted by pros as being among the sport’s most diabolical. As Dye described it, “Love and hate can be found here.”

• See related story: 10 Must-Play Public Golf Venues

Its 1987 PGA Tour debut stirred up quite the rumble. “The course is on the outskirts of Indio but host [Bob] Hope says the back tees are in Hemet. It doesn’t matter where they are. No one will ever play them,” Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray wrote that year. “You need a camel, a canoe, a priest and a tourniquet to get through it.” In the 1987 Skins Game, swinging alongside Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Fuzzy Zoeller, Dallas-born Lee Trevino conquered Alcatraz with a hole-in-one. Even so, tour pros collectively — and successfully — signed a petition to remove Stadium Course from the rotation in 1988. It took almost three decades for the Professional Golfers Association to warm up to Dye’s design, but in 2016, Alcatraz reassumed its position on the tour. Jason Dufner cinched his 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge (now Desert Classic) victory with a par-saving recovery shot from the 17th green’s rocky perimeter.

• See related story: Apps and websites that will save you money on desert golf courses.

Keen to try your hand at Alcatraz’s par 3? Book a stay at sister property La Quinta Resort & Club to take advantage of special golf offers. Stadium Course reservation fees are discounted June through September.

Pickle People

Pickleball Changes the Recreational Landscape in the Desert

Local pro Marcin Rozpedski provides the lowdown on the pickleball craze and how to play.

JUDD SPICER FEBRUARY 21, 2019 ATTRACTIONSCURRENT GUIDESPORTS

Marcin Rozpedski won the gold medal at the 2016 U. S. Open Pickleball Championship.   PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MARCIN ROZPEDSKI

Marcin Rozpedski won the gold medal at the 2016 U. S. Open Pickleball Championship.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MARCIN ROZPEDSKI

A seismic shift has been shaking up the recreational landscape as venues across the Coachella Valley convert their tennis courts for pickleball play. Last year, the USA Pickleball Association signed a multiyear deal to move its decade-old National Championships tournament from Arizona to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The event in November drew more than 2,200 players from 46 states and garnered a massive audience, thanks to an ESPN broadcast and livestream.

Marcin Rozpedski, who won the gold medal at the 2016 U.S. Open Pickleball Championship and is a former Davis Cup tennis member for Team Poland, teaches pickleball lessons daily at The Lakes Country Club in Palm Desert, where he is the sports director. He also leads beginner, intermediate, and advanced clinics on Mondays from November through May.

• See related story: Local players talk about the sport’s popularity.

“This sport is very social with a lot of fun and a lot of action,” Rozpedski says, “and the learning curve is much easier than, say, tennis or golf. It’s a fairly easy game to learn and be introduced to at an entry level.”

Rozpedski also hosts the country club’s annual Pickleball Spring Fling, the largest local pickleball tournament in Southern California with more than 500 participants. The event returns March 22–24, and admission for spectators is free.

Eager to hit the court? Here, Rozpedski reveals five tips for novice players.

LACE UP

“People often start playing with the incorrect shoes,” Rozpedski says. “They’ll be out there with street shoes or running shoes. Pickleball is played on a tennis court, so, for safety, players need to have a proper tennis or court shoe, allowing for side-to-side movement.”

PREPARE YOUR PADDLE

“Start with a composite paddle — something strong and light, with carbon or graphite — for around $50,” he suggests (Rozpedski uses Engage Paddles). “Then, if you like the sport, move up to more advanced paddles where the face or the skin of the paddle provides more spin and feel. But the beginner won’t need this advanced paddle [or] the additional costs.”

BE THE BALL

“The ball is made of plastic, so it doesn’t come up high [or] come to you. That means you need to go to the ball: Bend your knees and stay lower. I see a lot of new players swinging at air because they’re waiting for the ball to bounce.”

DON’T GET CAUGHT COOKING IN THE “KITCHEN”

“The ‘kitchen line’ is the nonvolley zone, which means players cannot cross or step on this line while hitting a volley — this is what makes the game so much fun. Players can’t stay back on the baseline, or opponents will hit drop shots. Players need to stay close to the kitchen line and, therefore, close to the net — all of which makes [for a] game based on touch, quick volleys, and a lot of action.”

YOUR COURT AWAITS

For the casual player, opportunities abound across the desert. If you seek a game, check out the USA Pickleball Association hub, “Places 2 Play,” at usapa.org.

• View our VIDEO on pickleball on our YouTube Channel. Click HERE.



Dining Around the Desert: Commons Club at the Virgin Hotel in San Francisco

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THROUGH THE LENS OF
GLOBALLY INSPIRED CHEFS

Commons Club offers an elevated menu with a fresh, modern take on California cuisine. Bringing culinary delight to the downtown San Francisco restaurant landscape by combining unexpected ingredients with bold flavors and technique, Commons Club infuses a relaxed, yet elegant experience.

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Michael, Adam, Jeanne and I started out with the Parker House Rolls, which were buttery, flakey and I could have eaten about a dozen of them, along with the Crudite which had a buttermilk, almond, dill sauce. Michael had an excellent Old Fashioned, and I had one of the house crafted cocktails named Tangerine Dream made with Absolut elyx, Aperol, tangerine juice, peppermint ginger, served up. Very tasty.

For our main dishes, we had Sonoma Duck ruby beet, broccoli rabe, guajillo, Schmitz Ranch N.Y. Strip potato puree, red wine, spring onion, Halibut English pea, black trumpet mushroom, miso, and Tortelloni wild mushroom, swiss chard. Everything was prepared beautifully, the service was top-notch, and it was a fun atmosphere.

Due to the fact that they have a DJ playing house music at the entrance, which spills over into the dining room, it’s not the place for quiet conversation. Aside from our group of four, that didn’t seem to be an issue with everyone else who was there as it was more of a club vibe.

They also have a rooftop bar and on our way out, we went up to see it. Packed at that time of night, but I would imagine earlier in the evening for cocktails, it would be nice.

Read more about Virgin Hotels here

Everyone Rooftop Bar

Everyone Rooftop Bar


Ground Floor at Virgin Hotels
250 4th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

DAYTIME MENU

DINNER MENU

BOOK A TABLE

Daytime Menu: 7am-10:30am
Daytime Menu: 11:30am-2pm
Bar Menu: 2pm-10pm
Dinner Menu: 5:30pm-10pm
Fri-Sat Dinner Menu: 5:30pm-10:30pm

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Dining Around the Desert: Angler in San Francisco

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This past weekend Michael and I were fortunate enough to enjoy a couple of days in San Francisco, a city near and dear to my heart as I used to live there and loved it. And since it’s only an hour flight, it’s a nice, quick get-away from the desert.

The current restaurant scene has exploded. It’s always been great, but as my friend, Adam and his wife Jeanne who joined us at Commons Club, said, “It’s like the old days”! He’s in the restaurant and hotel consulting business and knows what he’s talking about.

On Friday we enjoyed one of the hottest new places, Angler. Angler is a sea-life focused restaurant with views of the expansive wood-burning hearth as well of the San Francisco Bay from Chef Joshua Skenes and Saison Hospitality located on the Embarcadero waterfront. The service was flawless, the food perfection, the ambiance warm and inviting, and the location can’t be beat. In fact, it’s right next door to Boulevard, which is a long-time favorite in the City.

Beautiful Potato

Beautiful Potato

We enjoyed oysters that were out of this world, and a whole chicken with a potato side that was heavenly. I know. It’s a seafood restaurant, but the menu is small and the chicken was calling our names.

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Read more about Angler here

132 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

LUNCH
Thursday to Saturday: 11:30AM - 2:00PM

DINNER
Sunday to Thursday: 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Friday to Saturday: 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM

415.872.9442

Make a Reservation