Thunderbird Country Club
Rancho Mirage, California

“Some outstanding candidates applied to retain the job. But Tripp was the one who was really accepted by the membership.  He also wanted to bring it back to the original historical design and not try to create a different golf course. There might have been one or two others who in my opinion wanted to completely transform Thunderbird and that’s not what any of the membership wanted. They wanted to keep the original design.” - Nick Dekock, Thunderbird PGA head golf professional

The new green and bunker work on the 2nd hole at Thunderbird Country Club in 2021


The Story

Tripp Davis and Associates completed a master plan in 2020 and is overseeing the course renovations in 2021 and 2022.  Our focus at Thunderbird Country Club will be on bunkers, greens, tees and new turf.  TDA tested different bunker sands and liners at the current short game area to identify which will work best for the golf course.  The 18-hole renovation work will modernize the grasses, rebuild five greens, redesign bunkers.  We also removed a few small bunkers behind the greens on the course converting them into chipping areas that make easier play for the average to higher handicap player, while making shots more interesting around the green.  Work began Summer 2021 with three holes and the practice areas.  The renovation will continue into 2022 with the remaining 15 holes on the course.  Tripp and TDA Staff Shaper Jason Gold are working with Golf Course Builder Total Turf, Thunderbird Superintendent Roger Compton and his staff.  


Thunderbird Country Club, which enjoys an amazing history going back to 1946, was the first golf course in the Coachella Valley – two hours east of Los Angeles.   The popular club that attracted both Hollywood celebrities and top players.  Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were founding members, Ken Venturi spent winters at the club while playing the tour in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and Claude Harmon was the winter head pro for most of the club’s formative years.  Thunderbird hosted the Ryder Cup in 1955 on the Lawrence Hughes 1951 designed course.  Thunderbird was the first host of the PGA TOUR’s Desert Classic, which became Bob Hope’s tournament and now is named the American Express, one of the longest standing events on tour.