Desert Willow Golf Resort sees an increase in rounds

Rounds of golf are up 6 percent over last year at the city-owned Desert Willow Golf Resort thanks in large part to a comeback in smaller group excursions and invasion from the north, resort General Manager Richard Mogensen said this week.

“Corporate America and large associations still aren’t spending like they used to, but groups of 14 to 20 are showing up, so that’s very positive,” he said. “And the Canadian influence continues to grow in the valley.”

Firecliff, one of the two 18-hole courses, has been closed for reseeding and will reopen Dec. 26, Mogensen said.

Mogensen runs the 215-acre, two-course resort for Kemper Sports Management, the company with which the city officially signed on for another year as the City Council voted 5-0 on Thursday.

The city will pay Kemper an annual management fee of $894,000 for the year beginning next July 1, which will be Kemper’s 15th at Desert Willow.

Mogensen said the city’s $4.8 million upgrade to the Desert Willow clubhouse and restaurant near Cook Street and Country Club Drive, paid for with redevelopment funds, has boosted that side of the business as well.

The city opened Desert Willow in 1997 in the hopes that it would attract more high-end hotels to Palm Desert; while some timeshares have come to the site, other hotel pads still sit vacant.

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