Filed under: California, Golf Courses, Travel Destinations
Toscana Country Club – Luxurious lifestyle in a desert oasis
When my travels take me to wonderful golf destinations like Palm Springs I am reminded how fortunate I am to visit some of our country’s finest golf courses and resorts. Visiting one of the finest private clubs an area has to offer is always a special treat. Such was the case when I was able to experience Toscana Country Club in all its amazing glory.
Toscana is one of a small handful of luxury private country clubs in the Palm Springs area. Centrally located in the town of Indian Wells, Toscana is comprised of a Tuscan inspired “village” center surrounded by two Championship Jack Nicklaus courses, over 800 estate homes and homesites and a full slate of first class amenities. My host and tour guide was Crista Collins, Director of Membership. She had a wealth of knowledge about Toscana, seemed to know every member by name and made a strong first impression regarding the level of customer service Toscana members expect and enjoy.
Toscana is a very active and health oriented club and offers its members everything they would want, or need, when choosing to belong to a club of this stature. From the moment you enter the impressive gates your senses are soothed by the beauty of the landscaping, the impeccable service and welcoming atmosphere. A true oasis. A place to escape. A land where arid desert is the last thing you think of and serenity the first.
The core of Toscana Country Club is its Club Villa or central village. The beautiful brick buildings (surrounding the large main courtyard/carport) house all the community common areas and amenities. They are separated by very short walks along covered walkways, landscaped paths and through classically designed gardens.
On one side you will find the Golf Shop, driving range and putting green plus the separate Men’s and Women’s locker rooms and lounges. In the middle is the Il Forno Trattoria complex with its dining room, bar and covered porch. A short stroll across a lovely patio is the large indoor/outdoor Event Center and the soon to be completed pool, casual restaurant and Sports Club Pavilion. A few steps further bring you to the outstanding Sports Club, Spa Bella Vita and Charlie Pasarell Tennis Center.
Toscana golf members have the choice of to two amazing, and very different, Nicklaus designed golf courses. The South Course, opened in 2004, might remind you of being in Florida with its wall to wall grass, sand, water hazards and soaring palm trees. The North Course, whose back nine holes opened in November 2015, has a completely different feel. It looks “desertish” and features arroyos, native vegetation and playable waste areas. It looks more like the traditional desert layouts so many of you have seen.
This trip I played the South Course with my friend Richard and the aid of a very helpful forecaddy. If I had to sum up the South I’d say think of a land with emerald green carpet as far as the eye can see generously sprinkled with sugar white sand and watery blue depths. From the tees to the fairways and onto the greens one sees nothing but perfectly manicured turf with hardly a divot or ball mark in sight.
Although I love desert golf, too many courses are quite flat with man-made terrain and little visual interest. That is not the case here. The South offers a rolling landscape that belies its desert location. While very playable and with generous landing areas, this is a difficult golf course. It rises and falls, swoops left and fades right sometimes all on the same hole. Sand, water, uneven lies, large undulating greens and Nicklaus’ strategic design will test every aspect of your game.
While many courses strive to feature a signature hole or two the South at Toscana has a bevy of beautiful and memorable holes. Two of my favorites were the 6th and 7th holes. The Par 4 sixth may be the prettiest and most treacherous on the course. It is fairly long and disaster lurks. The landing area for your tee shot is guarded on the right by sand and squeezed from the left by water…which continues all the way to the putting surface. From here, the fairway, narrows and curls left along the shore. The large angular green wraps further around and into the lake giving it a peninsula feel. Any far left pin placement leaves little room for error. Simply a beautiful hole.
The Par 3 seventh is quite the opposite… very moderate in length but with a premium on accuracy. The tee shot is all carry across a small lake to a green that looks like a sliver of land that angles nearly 450 from front right to back left. A large trap guards the back of the green while there is safety for those bailing out to the right. The 7th is fun, short, sassy, pretty and intimidating.
Two other holes of note are the finishing holes on each nine. Both are challenging par fours. They wrap around opposite sides of the lake that sits just below the beautiful Il Forno dining room and patio. These are great holes for a heroic finish especially if you are being watched by those enjoying their after golf refreshments.
Spa Bella Vita and the Sports Club
The spa and the sports club share a beautiful facility just a short walk from the dining area, golf pro shop, tennis complex and soon to be opened community pool area and casual dining restaurant. This is another stately stone structure with vaulted beamed ceilings throughout.
The Sports Club occupies the right half of the building with Spa Bella Vita housed on the left and a very nice little pro shop, reception area and cozy sitting room in the center. Sports Club members have the use of a fully equipped gym as well as separate designated spaces for Pilates, stretch and strength training. There is also a comprehensive program of classes including, yoga, spinning and dance. Just behind the Sports Club a stroll through the Tennis Gardens brings you to the Charlie Pasarell Tennis Center. It features a luxurious center court, surrounding hard and clay courts as well as dedicated pickle ball courts. Members enjoy lessons, leagues, clinics and social play. This was one of my favorite areas of Toscana. Secluded, beautiful, vibrant and inviting.
Spa Bella Vita is a 5 star spa experience for Toscana members and guests to enjoy. I was fortunate to have enjoyed a few hours here including a wonderfully relaxing massage. To say that the matching Men’s and Women’s facilities here are nice would be a vast understatement. As with the rest of Toscana, everything is exquisitely designed and executed leaving an air of quiet and welcoming sophistication.
Men and women each have access to their own steam room, sauna, aromatherapy shower (think scented water) and outdoor whirlpool in a garden setting. You start your journey with a locker complete with robe and slippers. Since I had an hour before my massage the sauna, whirlpool and steam room provided the perfect way to ease into my afternoon. After a nice rinse in the refreshing aromatherapy shower I bundled up in my robe and headed to the “Quiet Room”.
The quiet room is a warm and comforting space to decompress, read or even nap before your treatment. The room has a vaulted beamed ceiling, large fireplace and 5 oversized chaise lounges complete with reading glasses, tea, water, fruit and nuts. I could have stayed there for hours. When my therapist did arrive, we stepped outside and into a small, intimate water filled courtyard which is encircled by the treatment rooms. This is a Zen like space and a perfect setting to further set the mood and slow the heart rate. The treatment rooms are large and cozy and members can pay by the hour to stay and just relax when their treatment is done. You can even have food delivered. Feel like a couples massage? There are two Grand Suites that can’t be beat. Each has a fireplace, two massage tables, a claw foot tub, plenty of relaxing seating and, of course, a private little courtyard and outdoor shower.
Toscana Country Club is a top notch private club in the heart of the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs area. The overall quality of the common areas, buildings and amenities instill a feeling of comfort, quiet and home while simultaneously transporting you to a far away Tuscan village magically set in the middle of the California desert. With Member’s having access to two championship golf courses, a wonderful spa, excellent dining, tennis center, gym and so much more it is not hard to see why so many are calling Toscana Country Club home. For more information see their website at toscanacc.com