New SilverRock Resort to Host Bob Hope Desert Classic

With a unanimous vote last week, the city of La Quinta, Calif., agreed to a 15-year commitment to host a winter mainstay in the Coachella Valley, The Bob Hope Desert Classic. SilverRock Resort’s first 18-hole track, an Arnold Palmer Signature course, is now under construction and is set to open in early 2005. The Hope Classic could premier there as early as ‘06.

By hosting this premiere golf event, La Quinta hopes the tournament raises the profile and revenue-generating potential of the citizen-supported 45-hole resort project. It is expected that increased play on the course will generate greens fees capable of offsetting tournament costs. However, attracting the Hope comes with a price: from $250,000 to $464,000 annually. That number includes a $100,000 annual fee plus $10 per green fee for rounds in excess of 20,000 and up to 40,000 annually. The tournament will net $1 per green fee for rounds that reach or exceed 40,000. Additional costs in the form of lost public play and course maintenance are included in the city's estimate.

The first SilverRock course keeps Arnold Palmer's design company linked to the Bob Hope Desert Classic. The private Palmer Course at PGA West – located immediately south of SilverRock – has long been the finishing venue for the tournament. And the private Tradition Golf Club to the north is the part-time home of the legendary golfer with “Arnie’s Army.”

While La Quinta officials have yet to set the green fees for the municipal course, they’re not planning on passing the Hope costs on to taxpayers. The use of Redevelopment Agency Funds for the resort project (the first phase will cost over $100 million), is designed to add revenue to the general fund. City officials believe the marketing benefits of being the home course for the venerable Bob Hope Desert Classic justifies the site fee.

The Hope will make a one-time contribution of $50,000 for parking, and the tournament will pay the city $1 a year for exclusive use of the course during the tournament. It will also donate 10 seats to a tournament-related formal ball, 1,000 passes to the event and access to the Bob Hope Club.

Consultants to the city for SilverRock Resort include GMA International master planners, Keith Company engineers, and Landmark Golf, former owners of the site and the developers of PGA West.