The Historic O’Donnell Golf Club

Cathy Muldoon December 30, 2020


If you like to golf, be sure to check out the Historic O’Donnell Golf Club. After a visit to the Palm Springs area, Thomas Arthur O’Donnell and his wife Winnefred Willis Jenny decided to make Palm Springs their winter home. After building a beautiful home on the mountain facing Palm Springs, they decided that their home would not be complete without a golf course. The course was originally known as the Desert Golf Course. O’Donnell and his friend Captain J.F. Lucey laid out and began construction on the course in 1926. Today it is known as the O’Donnell Golf Club.
O’Donnell used the course personally and as a place to entertain. He enjoyed the course for years. In his mid-thirties, his health began to decline and he was unable to continue the game. At first, he contemplated shutting down the course as he loved the sport so much and hated watching others play. Fortunately, he did not and kept it open for others to enjoy.


O’Donnell’s health continued to decline and the course was very expensive to maintain. He decided to incorporate the golf course and leased the course to his friends. Initially, there were 25 leaseholders.
In 1944, just before the new lease was to go into effect, O’Donnell met with the city council of Palm Springs, as well as the mayor. He proposed that he deed the course to the city. Acceptance of the gift was contingent upon the city accepting the current lease agreement which had a 99-year term. The council accepted the proposal in December of that year.


Referred to as the Jewel of the Desert, the O’Donnell Golf Club exists today much as Tom O’Donnell laid it out with a few enhancements. Located in the heart of Palm Springs, it is a sanctuary with its rolling green fairways and breathtaking views of the mountains. The Club remains private today with membership at 250. To learn more about the club click here.
To search for properties near this fabulous golf course, click here.
Cathy Muldoon, [email protected], Pacific Sotheby’s Realty

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