7 Reasons to Add The American Express™ to Your Bucket List
Updated: Jan 6
When The American Express™ golf tournament returns to Southern California’s PGA WEST® in La Quinta January 16-23, 2023, it will mark 64 years of a desert tradition that has seen some of the greatest moments in golf. Back in 1960, Arnold Palmer captured the win at the inaugural tournament (then known as the Palm Springs Desert Classic). Fast forward to 1992, when John Cook holed a 100-foot chip shot to defeat Gene Sauers in sudden death, 1999 when David Duval shot the famed final round 59 to beat Steve Pate by one shot, and 2001 with Joe Durant’s phenomenal, record-breaking 36 under par finish.
This PGA TOUR event tradition also attracted the global spotlight in 1995 when U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, legendary comedian Bob Hope (the tournament’s longtime namesake) and defending champion Scott Hoch teed up for the opening Pro-Am round.
Today, The American Express, a highlight of the PGA TOUR’S West Coast Swing, has evolved into a major golf and entertainment event. This highly anticipated tournament is played at PGA WEST on the Pete Dye Stadium Course and Nicklaus Tournament Course, and at the historic La Quinta Country Club.
Below are seven reasons why this fabled golf tournament at PGA WEST should rank #1 on your golf event bucket list!
1. The Destination
Attending The American Express is a win-win—it offers an amazing opportunity to see the best professional golfers in the world and the “Western Home of Golf in America™” in person. Together with the gorgeous weather that ensures ample golfing time year-round, PGA WEST features nine iconic championship golf courses designed by the greatest in the game: Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Arnold Palmer, and Tom Weiskopf. Five of the courses are open for public play, each with a one-of-a-kind layout, spectacular scenery and varying levels of playability and challenge. Plus, multiple tee boxes make the courses accessible to all.
PGA WEST Pete Dye Stadium Course Photo Credit: JP Henebry
Add to this the PGA WEST Golf Academy with world-class golf instruction to help you level up your game. And you’ll want to give equal time—and plenty of it—to the Tournament, Pete Dye, and Greg Norman Clubhouses for fun times, great fare, spirited bar scenes, and panoramic views.
PGA WEST Golf Academy Director of Instruction, Bryan Lebedevitch and Cristie Kerr. Lebedevitch is ranked in the Top 100 Teachers in America by Golf Magazine, and is best known for his coaching work with Cristie Kerr.
2. The Golf Courses
The Pete Dye Stadium Course and Nicklaus Tournament Course will be closed to the public during The American Express tournament. Golfers familiar with the Stadium Course will notice a few phenomenal changes. The course has been undergoing a phased restoration project designed to bring Dye’s original vision back to life and will remain open to the public during much of the renovation.
PGA WEST Nicklaus Tournament Course Photo Credit: Evan Schiller
The great news is that the three other PGA WEST public access resort courses will be open for play during The American Express – rounds are sure to book up so secure your tee times now.
Players have also been raving about the Greg Norman Course, sporting a new look after undergoing a renovation in 2021. The only Norman design in the Coachella Valley, the 7,200-yard Australian Outback-inspired course spans a prehistoric ocean bed. And, you’ll want to book your tee times right away for both the Pete Dye Mountain Course and Pete Dye Dunes Course. The Pete Dye Mountain Course nestled at the base of the picturesque Santa Rosa Mountains is famed for its design, playability, and brilliant visuals. The sheer beauty of the landscape showcases the Pete Dye Dunes Course, a signature Dye design with well-guarded greens and railroad tie wrapped water hazards.
PGA WEST Pete Dye Mountain Course Photo Credit: JP Henebry
3. The Field
The American Express consistently draws top players from around the world. Check the 2023 American Express website as the elite player field continues to expand. PGA TOUR pro golfers committed to date include:
Reigning Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, ranked #2 in the world behind Rory McIlroy.
2021 FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, currently ranked #4 in the world.
Xander Schauffele who, in 2021, became the first American since 1900 to win an Olympic Gold medal in golf.
Tony Finau, ranked #12 in the world and one of the sport’s longest hitters.
Sungjae Im, a two-time PGA TOUR winner and 2019 Arnold Palmer Award winner as the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
Brendan Steele, an Idyllwild, CA native and three-time PGA TOUR winner.
4. The Concerts
The tournament launched The American Express™ Concert Series in 2020 with Huey Lewis and the News and the Goo Goo Dolls. Since then, the two-night concert series headliners Sammy Hagar, Bad Company, Stevie Nicks, Luke Bryan, Maroon 5 and Brad Paisley have wowed the crowds (no concerts in 2021 due to pandemic) after Friday and Saturday play. This year, Grammy Award winning artists Gwen Stefani (January 20) and Darius Rucker (January 21) headline the performance party, taking the driving range stage after play each day.
5. The Fan Experience
In addition to the concert series, spectators will find fun fan experiences at every turn. The popular, open-air Casamigos Deck on the 18th green of the Pete Dye Stadium Course offers a prime viewing spot to watch the pros complete their rounds. All ticket holders also have access to the Michelob Ultra Beers for Birdies Venue located at the notorious “Alcatraz” par-3 17th hole. This fan favorite venue takes the fun up a notch—whenever a pro birdies, beers are discounted.
Grounds tickets include access to the tournament, all public venues, and general admission for Friday and Saturday night concert series. Premium and Champions Club passes elevate The American Express experience with exclusive amenities. For Champions Club passholders that translates into a complete package of VIP benefits, including a private venue at the 18th green with hosted breakfast, lunch and full bar, daily preferred parking, and an exclusive viewing area featuring complimentary beverages at both concerts. View ticket and pass details here.
6. The On-the-Course Opportunities
If playing in the Pro-Am and/or watching the pros close-up is on your wish list, take advantage of inside the ropes experiences and openings to play with PGA TOUR professionals during the Pro-Am. Play one or all three days in the Pro-Am and get a real feel for what it’s like to be on tour. Get as close to the action as possible as an Honorary Observer, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the pros as you follow an entire round. Consider reserving an open-air Executive Suite to entertain clients and friends. Suites overlook the Pete Dye Stadium Course’s signature 17th green, Alcatraz. This premier experience package includes four days of golf, food service, flat screen televisions, and tiered seating.
7. The Generosity
Whether as a player or spectator, be a part of a tournament that has raised more than $64 million for nonprofit organizations in the Coachella Valley since its inception in 1960. This past November, the American Express™ Impact Through Golf Foundation distributed $1 million in funding from 2022 event proceeds to 37 Coachella Valley nonprofits including Alzheimer’s Association of Coachella Valley, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Desert, Desert Cancer Foundation, JFK Foundation/Ophelia Project, and Volunteers in Medicine.
Play where the pros play and book your PGA WEST tee times online here now!
Grounds tickets and premium packages for The American Express™ are available at www.theamexgolf.com