This week we visited Desert Island Golf & Country Club – new owners, a new look and new vibe.
As of December 2021 Miguel Nelson is the proud new owner of the dreamy magical Desert Island Country Club located directly across Frank Sinatra Drive from Sunnylands. Miguel is an artist who paints natural geological formations, many of which are, you’ll never guess… desert islands?!
A few of his paintings are currently displayed in The Parlor, a new piano lounge on Desert Island.
Miguel and his wife Sherry Walsh live in Santa Monica and own/operate several private event spaces in Los Angeles. The couple designed their venues as urban oases for ceremonies, receptions and productions. Desert Island Country Club is totally open to the public and evolving into a destination golf resort offering world class dining, hospitality and exclusive member and guest experiences.
A private membership has been created within the now public Desert Island Country Club. Go to www.Di71.com or call (760) 328-2111 for membership inquiries.
The upper level of the Club House was remodeled this spring and now includes The Parlor, Desert Island Ballroom, Northern Gallery and a terrace restaurant and spirits library named The Penney. The Penney is open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner all summer long and showcases Executive Chef Jon Butler’s elevated and locally sourced classic American cuisine.
Miguel’s “Why” is creating inspired, playful experiential atmospheres, intersections between his passions for art, design, architecture and entertainment. He thinks of Desert Island as a secluded, fun factory of sorts with a soul richly steeped in five decades of interlaced experiences between members, residents and many characters who have participated in DI’s colorful history. Four interesting stories:
L.L. “Red” Oakes was the Thunderbird Country Club member who officially drilled the well back in 1968 creating the oasis that is now Desert Island. Red and three pals opened Desert Island Country Club in 1971 when Rancho Mirage had yet to be incorporated. Other than Sunnylands, Tamarisk and Thunderbird, the area was sandy desert dunes and farms.
Frederick Doyle Penney was an artist living on Desert Island who gave away his paintings as prizes to annual fishing and “yacht club” racing competitions.
Zeppo Marx was one of DI’s most avid fishermen and nicknamed “Fishing Commissioner.”
Desmond Muirhead was not only the architect for DI’s site and championship golf course, he was also a pilot, surfer, author and palm tree enthusiast. Today, Muirhead’s fifty-year-old groves continue to thrive across his utopic 160-acre landscape.
The Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce is the center of Valley business. We work with businesses looking to create or expand their presence in Rancho Mirage and help them create more jobs. For more info or to get involved visit ranchomiragechamber.org or give us a call at 760-568-9351. Until next time!