MESQUITE, Nev. -- In these parts, you could make an argument the roulette wheel should be split into red and green.
Look around, and it's usually one or the other.
Located only an hour drive from Las Vegas in the northeast corner of Nevada and with seven championship golf courses in a stretch of about five miles, Mesquite has muscled its way into the conversation of must-see golf destinations in the Silver State. This growing community in the Virgin River Valley is also site of the annual RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship.
If the type of scenery you're looking for is neon lights and showgirls, you won't find that here. If golf is your game, though, you'll find plenty of eye candy among the desert landscape and red mesas that give this area a distinct look.
Searching for the most scenic golf courses in Mesquite? Look no further, we've got you covered. Since you'll likely have a rental car, we've even sweetened the pot with an out-of-state bonus.
So much for saving the best for last. Not to knock the back nine, but Conestoga Golf Club's better half is undoubtedly the front side.
While some courses need time to grow on you, this 7,232-yard track gets good -- really good, in fact -- in a hurry. The finest of four shorties on this Gary Panks design is the second hole, a 188-yard assignment that plummets from an elevated tee to the valley floor below.
The best of the entire bunch is the 536-yard sixth, a true desert dandy that forces golfers to cross not one, not two but three waste areas en route to the dance floor. With a routing that chases Abbott Wash through the canyons, the trick to posting a good score at Conestoga is enjoying the scenery without having to try to hit your ball from it.
Equal parts beauty and brute, Wolf Creek Golf Resort is probably the most photogenic setup in Nevada, and the best part is that the scenery lasts from start to finish.
With a slope rating of 138 from the 6,309-yard blue tees (and 154 from the tips), be warned it's easier on the eyes than the ego. This roller coaster ride is laid across the red rocks, creating a fascinating contrast of colors. While the number of shots on your scorecard could be bigger than usual, you could also fill the memory card on your camera or drain the battery on your smart phone long before you loop back to the clubhouse.
It's almost impossible to pinpoint a signature hole, but it's tough to beat the panoramic view from the second tee-box.
Before Wolf Creek and Conestoga, Palmer Course at Oasis Golf Club was the track the out-of-towners couldn't wait to tell their friends about.
Although not the original championship-length layout in this area, the Palmer Course was arguably the first to showcase the stunning views and sweeping elevation changes that have become synonymous with Mesquite's golf menu. Arnold Palmer's design dips and dives through the hills, serving up terrific views of the valley.
The highlight is the 541-yard eighth hole, with a hold-on-to-your-hat drop-off from the tee box to a landing area that's not as narrow as it appears. If some of these tests look familiar, it's because the 6,633-yard Palmer Course was the site of Golf Channel's Big Break Mesquite in 2007.
Oasis Golf Club is also home to the Canyons Course, making it Mesquite's only 36-hole setup.
Links golf doesn't often look like this. Designed by John Fought and located within easy day-trip distance of Mesquite in what's known as Utah's "Color Country," the Championship Course at Sand Hollow combines wide fairways and tight lies with a handful of holes that seem to teeter on the edge of the valley.
Sand Hollow is about an hour drive northeast of Mesquite, and you can kill time on the commute back -- it won't technically be killing time, since you'll switch time zones -- by arguing with your buddies about which hole was the most eye-pleasing. My vote goes to the 320-yard 13th, where the green is squeezed between a wall of red rocks on the right and a cliff on the opposite side.
In addition to the 7,315-yard Championship Course, Sand Hollow is home to a nine-hole Links Course.
April 4, 2013