The ever-prolific Tom Fazio designed The Madison as the star attraction in an ambitious real estate development that opened in the mid-2000s after some tricky negotiations. It occupies one of a dwindling number of sites available for new courses in La Quinta, which was one of the first areas in and around Palm Springs where golf really took off, mainly owing to the picturesque landscape. Fazio carried out extensive excavations during the construction, but the seams are invisible and the layout blends right in. What with the mountains, creeks and ponds, it would be hard to go wrong creating a scenic course, and this one benefits from the contrast with a rugged old train track that goes across the site. At a full 6790 meters, The Madison has some imposing length, but the crisp, clear desert air seems to make the holes play shorter than you would expect.