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Original Issue

People, paintbrush palms and mirrored mountains

Palm Springs' elegant Eldorado, latest of the desert spa's booming collection of golf courses, plays host to the Ryder Cup matches

Elegant Eldorado Country Club, 10 miles southeast of the chic, cellophaned community of Palm Springs, is, in the words of its creator Johnny Dawson, "the Taj Mahal of golf." Cut out of a date palm grove in the purple shadows of the Santa Rosa Mountains, landscaped in living orchids with a canopy of arched pear trees in its entranceway, it is as automated as a moon rocket, with closed-circuit television monitoring, Big-Brother-like, every fascinating facet of its operations. The clubhouse, in teakwood and mosaic stonework, is windowed from ceiling to fairway level to give a 200° breathtaking panoramic view of people, paintbrush palms, green fairways and mirrored mountains such as those on the following pages. The errant golfer who reaches the rough can comfort himself by reaching up and plucking a ripe orange or grapefruit from the tree hanging over his lie. Homes in the $100,000 price range lurk in strategic oases between tees and greens, and the whole is on an opulent par with the rest of Palm Springs, an area where palm trees have their own pastel floodlights.

The golden setting of Eldorado is, in fact, so manicured and magnificent that the first duffer to behold its $3 million beauty was moved to murmur it was so gorgeous it was a shame to have to spoil it by going out and playing golf on it.

Nevertheless, a lot of fancy and newsworthy golf will be played on it next week at the meeting of the British and American Ryder Cup teams, selected from the leading pros of each country. For the Palm Springers who are bankrolling the event at a gracious loss, it will be—to use a phrase borrowed from the show-biznik golfers like Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Desi Arnaz in their midst—"a swinging gasser."

Upwept fronds of Eldorado's transplanted date palms dwarf a mixed foursome on putting green

Mirrored with glassy sharpness on the surface of a water trap by Eldorado's 13th green are the Santa Rosa Mountains and golfers in the desert's early morning sunlight

Golfers like Bing Crosby and Ryder Cup Team Member Jack Burke (above) flock to Palm Springs courses