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Mission Hills Country Club

Home of the Dinah Shore Tournament Course and Kraft Nabisco Championship


Island green 18th hole at Mission Hills Country Club

Looking across the water that rings the island 18th green on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills CC.

David Cannon / Getty Images
There are many golf courses in the United States named Mission Hills, but this article is about the club in the Palm Springs, Calif., area, that is the site annually of the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship.

That Mission Hills Country Club has 54 holes of golf, including the Dinah Shore Tournament Course, the site of the major championship KNC for every year of the tournament's existence. The course is named after entertainer Dinah Shore, who was long a major figure in Coachella Valley-region celebrity (and golf) circles, and whose name graced the tournament for the early part of its history.

Because of its role hosting the LPGA major, when non-members talk about Mission Hills, we're almost always referring to the Dinah Shore Tournament Course. But the other two courses on site were designed by Arnold Palmer and Pete Dye.

Mission Hill's most famous hole is the par-5, island-green 18th hole of the Dinah Course. The winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship annually makes a running leap off the bank next to the 18th green, flying into the waters of the adjacent "Poppie's Pond." It's known as the Champion's Leap.

Unlike many desert golf courses, the Dinah Shore Tournament Course (plus the club's other two tracks) has some tall, mature trees, and there are moderate elevation changes, too.

Contact Info
• Address: 34600 Mission Hills Drive, Rancho Mirage, Calif., 92270
• Phone: (760) 324-9400
• Website: missionhills.com

Can I Play Mission Hills Country Club?

Mission Hills Country Club is a private, membership club; non-members can play as the guests of members. One other option exists: the club has four "casitas" on-site. If you book a stay in one of these guest rooms, you have the option to play any of the club's golf courses for the standard member guest rate.

Dinah Shore Tournament Course Pars/Yardages

Bunker on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club

Large and often deep bunkers like this one are not an uncommon sight on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course.

David Cannon / Getty Images
Here are the pars/yardages for the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills, which opened in 1970 and was designed by Desmond Muirhead. Listed yardages are for the course's back tees:

No. 1 - Par 4 - 450 yards
No. 2 - Par 5 - 520 yards
No. 3 - Par 4 - 475 yards
No. 4 - Par 4 - 418 yards
No. 5 - Par 3 - 185 yards
No. 6 - Par 4 - 393 yards
No. 7 - Par 4 - 393 yards
No. 8 - Par 3 - 185 yards
No. 9 - Par 5 - 538 yards
No. 10 - Par 4 - 382 yards
No. 11 - Par 5 - 544 yards
No. 12 - Par 4 - 438 yards
No. 13 - Par 4 - 448 yards
No. 14 - Par 3 - 191 yards
No. 15 - Par 4 - 405 yards
No. 16 - Par 4 - 418 yards
No. 17 - Par 3 - 192 yards
No. 18 - Par 5 - 646 yards

There are six sets of tees on the Tournament course. Here are the ratings for each:

  • Gold: 7,250 yards, par 72, 75.1 course rating, 139 slope rating
  • Blue: 6,906 yards, par 72, 73.6 course rating, 133 slope rating
  • Kraft: 6,673 yards, par 72, 71.7 course rating, 130 slope
  • White: 6,355 yards, par 72, 69.2 course rating, 122 slope rating
  • Silver*: 5,990 yards, par 72, 75.2 course rating, 138 slope
  • Red*: 5,679 yards, par 72, 73.5 course rating, 134 slope rating

(*Ratings for Silver and Red tees are for women.)

There are 22 acres of fairway and 150 acres of rough, according to Golf Course Superintendants Association of America data, with 66 sand bunkers and six water hazards.

Bermudagrass is used on the tees; the rough is a mix of bermudagrass and perennial ryegrass. Fairways use bermudagrass and Kentucky bluegrass; and the greens are bermudagrass, perennial ryegrass and Poa trivialis.

Other Courses at Mission Hills Country Club

  • Arnold Palmer Course: Opened in 1978, it was, Arnold Palmer's first desert golf course, according to the Mission Hills website. It plays to 6,834 yards. The club's website calls it a "member favorite," and mentions its "rolling fairways with many doglegs and strategic driving holes."

  • Pete Dye Challenge Course: Opened in 1988, it plays to 6,955 yards. The Mission Hills CC website describes its "rolling fairways, elevated greens, classic deep bunkers," and mentions the railroad ties that designer Dye likes to incorporate into bunkheads around lakes.

Significant Tournaments at Mission Hills Country Club

The Kraft Nabisco Championship, of course, which is played every year on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course. See our KNC tournament profile page for the list of winners and more info about the tourney.

In addition, Mission Hills has also been the site of the California State Open, the PGA Club Professionals Championship, in addition to qualifying tournaments for the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and U.S. Open.

More Mission Hills Country Club History and Trivia

Dinah Shore Tournament Course Hole 15

Yani Tseng tees off down the chute at No. 15, with mountains in the background, at Mission Hill's Dinah Shore Course.

David Cannon / Getty Images
• The pond adjacent to 18 into which the winner traditionally leaps is called Champions Lake, or - more commonly - Poppie's Pond. "Poppie" is a reference to a nickname of Terry Wilcox, who was the Kraft Nabisco Championship's tournament director for 14 years (ending in 2008).

• Poppie's Pond was a dark, dank body of water - a typical pond, in other words - when LPGA players first started jumping into it to celebrate KNC victory. Over the years, it's been cleaned up to make the so-called "Champions Leap" experience safer and, well, cleaner. Today the water is clear. (See our FAQ: Why do KNC winners jump into the lake?)

• Note that the two nines of the Dinah Shore Tournament Course follow the same configuration: par-3s on the fifth and eighth holes of each nine, par-5s on the second and last holes of each nine.

• LPGA legend Judy Rankin once lived in a house on the golf course and represented Missons Hills on the LPGA Tour.

• The so-called "Indio effect" is an important piece of local knowledge about playing the Dinah Shore Course. Indio is a city southeast of the course, and many putts on the Shore Course break in the direction of Indio. So knowing where Indio is in relation to one's position on the golf course can help in reading putts.

• After a second course was added to Mission Hills, the 18 we now call the Dinah Shore Tournament Course (which was unnamed originally) was referred to by members as "the Old Course." The "Old Course" was officially renamed the Dinah Shore Tournament Course following the death of Shore in 1994.

• At the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship, Brittany Lincicome won by making eagle on the final hole, the island-green 18th of the Shore Course. This is the only time a PGA Tour or LPGA Tour major has been won by a final-hole eagle.

• Mission Hills Country Club is also a major tennis venue, with 27 courts on site. The club was the host site for the finals of the 1978 Davis Cup, won by the United States over Great Britain. The American team included John McEnroe, Brian Gottfried, Bob Lutz and Stan Smith; the British team, John Lloyd, Chrstopher Mottram, Mark Cox and David Lloyd.

Photos: KNC Winners Jump In the Lake
Check out our gallery of Kraft Nabisco Championship winners making the leap into Poppie's Pond.

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