The Inn at Death Valley

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Experience a round of golf at the lowest elevation golf course in the world during a stay at The Inn at Death Valley.

Image of Furnace Creek Golf Course, The Inn at Death Valley, 1927, Member of Historic Hotels of America, Death Valley, California, Golf

Located 214 feet below sea level, the Furnace Creek Golf Course at Death Valley is the lowest-elevation golf course on Earth. It features palm and tamarisk trees framing the fairways and majestic mountains, which are visible from all areas of this 18-hole, par 70 course. The Furnace Creek course is part of the Inn at Death Valley, which opened in 1927 as the Furnace Creek Inn. The inn was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2012.

Furnace Creek Golf Course at Death Valley is in an American oasis within the three million acres that is Death Valley National Park. The Pacific Coast Borax Company built the Furnace Creek Inn in 1927, hoping to attract business to its Death Valley Railroad. Owned and operated by Death Valley mining magnate Francis Marion Smith, the railroad transported borax from mines scattered throughout the area. Another borax magnate, Richard C. Baker, eventually took control of the railroad during the 1920s. By this point, the railroad was in dire need of additional revenue. Baker thus began running passenger trains along the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad, which carried tourists who wanted to experience the natural beauty of Death Valley.

The Furnace Creek Golf Course dates to the same year the inn opened, 1927, when Murray Miller, one of the date-palm caretakers at Furnace Creek, set up a three-hole golf course to give local borax miners something to do in their spare time. It was a hit with the guests at the resort, too, and in 1931, a nine-hole course was developed around ranch land and date-palm orchards. It was the first grass golf course in the California desert.

In 1968, west-coast and southwest golf course designer William F. Bell expanded the course to a full 18 holes. Notably, Bell is the son of golf course architect William Park Bell. Both known as “Billy Bell,” they are well-known for their work designing award-winning championship golf courses across the west coast and southwest, especially in California, Arizona, and Nevada. The course was redesigned in 1997 by noted golf course architect Perry Dye – son of renowned 20th and early-21st century golf course designer Pete Dye. Championship Bell and Dye golf courses are some of the best in the world and can be found at historic hotels across the United States.

Around the time of Perry Dye’s redesign, a high-tech irrigation system was installed. The course is irrigated using recycled water from the resort’s spring-fed swimming pools. This state-of-the-art irrigation system was installed to allow the course to remain open all year. In 2017, Furnace Creek Golf Course underwent further renovations that made it more environmentally friendly. Today, it is water neutral and features more native foliage. Fred Dickman, Director of Golf Course Maintenance and Hotel Grounds for The Broadmoor (1918) resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, oversaw this recent renovation.

Athletes familiar with the course include basketball champion Bill Walton and Australian golf champion Steve Elkington – who played the course for his TV show, Secret Golf. Future golf champion Phil Mickelson received his first set of clubs at the Furnace Creek Pro Shop, purchased for him by his father. To young Mickelson’s delight, the shop sold clubs for left-handed players. He went on to win six major PGA Tour championships, which were three Masters titles, two PGA Championships, and one Open Championship.


Image of Furnace Creek Golf Course Sign, The Inn at Death Valley, 1927, Member of Historic Hotels of America, Death Valley, California, Golf Image of Furnace Creek Golf Course, The Inn at Death Valley, 1927, Member of Historic Hotels of America, Death Valley, California, Golf
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