by Tim J. ButlerThe Drummond Company’s championship golf course, Rancho La Quinta, opened for play in December and recently the master-planned golf community celebrated their grand opening.

An authentic “fiesta-style” celebration attracted 2,500 guests, including John Pena, mayor of La Quinta, to visit the model homes and witness the unique desert landscape. “The response was overwhelming,” said Guy Balencie, executive vice president of Rancho La Quinta “represents something different in the desert–from the beautiful La Quinta-setting, to the golf, land plan and architectural quality of the homes.”

The 7,002 yard, 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones II provides landscape amenities aspiring to provide relaxation and beauty to the community it wraps around, which includes single-family and custom homes designed to highlight the landscape.

To accomplish the desired setting, Southern California Hydroseeding was invited to begin work on the project which involved hydroseeding fairways, greens and pads for the entire course. Southern California Hydroseed planted nearly 300 acres of the development. “You can see the results,” said Micke Santoro, owner. “Everybody should get a chance to see it–it’s a beautiful course.”

West Coast Turf provided sod for the entire development. By using a Tifgreen hybrid bermuda sod, instead of a tall fescue, the landscaping is more tolerant to the temperature extremes found in the desert. This sod will stay green year-round,” said Jeff Cole, director of marketing. West Coast Turf also provided citrus trees and landscaping around the entry-way monumentation and model homes. Combined with versatile Tifgreen all locations now share universal style. “We’ve worked continuously to provide materials to conform to the ‘early California’ style the course has,” said Cole.

High Tech Irrigation, in Indio, supplied and supervised the installation of all the holes of Rancho La Quinta. The components included Rainbird Maxi 5 valve and heads with SBM controllers designed to water evenly, yet efficiently, John Dixon, owner of High Tech Irrigation, mentioned the eight-month installation progressed very smoothly. The course pumps from its own well for water, and environmental standards were easily met. Dixon said High Tech continues to assist with upkeep of the course.

According to Dave Howerton, Partner, Robert Lamb Hart, the San Francisco-based land planning and architectural firm, “La Quinta was a landscape of large citrus and date ranches and we’ve attempted to reinterpret the traditional landscape patterns and Spanish Colonial Style of architecture of the original estates.” The finished project offers buyers a selection of homes ranging in size from 1,550 to 3,265 square feet. Three styles, which opened February 12, included the Casitas, the Ranchos and the Haciendas start at $195,000. All are two-four bedrooms and have access to the racquet club, fitness center and all of the superior golf amenities. “I believe the fact that Rancho La Quinta will offer a detached single-family home with distinctive architectural character and a view for about $208,000 will be major opportunity for the desert homebuyer,” said Howerton.

In addition, larger custom home sites are also available. The Enstancias, situated on some of the naturally beautiful $18 million property, provide much larger living space. Buyers enjoy 4,000 to 5,000 total square feet and prices reflect a rejuvenated buyer’s market. Rancho La Quinta is developed by the Drummond Company. One of the nation’s largest natural resource companies. This Alabama-based developer strives to blend new ideas with the traditional landscape found in the area. “These homes have a very unique orientation,” said Laura Temple Janes, director of sales and marketing for Rancho La Quinta. “They represent a real departure for the desert, maybe best illustrated by the open space-to-home ratio of the land plan. Only 426 homes will be built in contrast to the some 1,200 homes that are typically built in many communities of comparable size.” To highlight the original style of the community, development was designed to respond to the open space of the land, not overwhelm it.

–Special thanks to Carol Ruiz of Redding for her timely contributions.