Earlier this year, I was treated to a guided tour of The Quarry Golf Club in La Quinta, Calif., by landscape architect Ken Alperstein.
Although I had seen pictures of the course and was also familiar with areas of the lower Coachella Valley in which La Quinta sits in its beautiful mountain canyon, I was not prepared for what was, frankly, the nearly giddy awe I experienced while cruising around the links in a golf cart. I’ll cop to getting pretty excited about beautiful settings of all sorts, but this place was basically off the charts.
It was a beautiful winter’s day, with desert temperatures already in the high 80s. A light breeze rustled through the fan palms, and the arid mountain terrain practically glowed in the brilliant desert sunshine.
Ken works for Pinnacle Design Co. and is a specialist in the art of golf-course watershaping. At the time, we were in the early stages of discussing an article about this project – and the result of our communications appears in this issue (click here).
I’ve been to my fair share of golf courses through the years – although infrequently on such nice ones – but I’ve never seen any course that comes even close to The Quarry: The golf holes were sublimely contoured and beautifully groomed, and each one had its own character, both aesthetically and in the sorts of challenges offered to players.
What made me laugh out loud as we lingered on the course that day, however, was how integral the watershapes were to the overall environment. The streams, waterfalls and ponds had been so expertly and artistically designed and installed that they are the defining feature of the course’s considerable beauty – as significant to its appeal, I’d say, as the dogwoods and azaleas are to Augusta National in Georgia.
I was lucky in that not many people ever get to see this hidden place. The club’s membership consists of an assortment of the wealthiest of duffers, many of whom live in estate homes adjacent to the course. It’s a ritzy enclave to be sure, and although I can fully appreciate the prerogative of anyone to be a part of such an exclusive and private club, I do wish that more people could partake of this dramatic example of just how beautiful landscaping and water can be when they’re done very nearly to perfection.
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For years now, Camma Barsily, our National Sales Manager, has used some form the following line when explaining what WaterShapes is all about: “We cover every kind of body of water, except bird baths.” It’s a durable line, and truer words were never spoken – until this issue, that is, where Delaware-based birding enthusiast Bill Fintel, owner of Avian Aquatics – a firm that specializes in, yes, bird baths – offers a compellingly detailed discussion of the ins and outs of designing and building bodies of water that attract wild birds (click here).
There’s certainly more to bird baths than anyone outside the birding world might think, and I for one have gained an even greater appreciation for the many benefits water can lend to a space – in this case by attracting our fine-feathered friends.
But now, sadly, my friend Camma must retire one of the favorite arrows in her quiver. Sorry!