MESQUITE, Nev. -- Mix in one of golf's legendary players/designers, a world-class golf destination and 18 challenging golf holes, and you've got the perfect recipe for a great golf outing.
Welcome to the Palmer Course at Oasis Golf Club. Arnold Palmer's design, a par-71 layout, is a mixture of stunning views, amazing golf challenges and dramatic elevation changes all rolled into 6,633 yards. From start to finish, the Palmer Course winds over, around and through canyons beautifully. Throw in panoramic views, challenging water features and smooth-rolling greens, and you've got a Palmer masterpiece.
"This is one of his original desert courses, and he did a great job," said Randy Tickner, Director of Golf Operations for Oasis Golf Club. "It's a challenge, but it's also a very playable golf course. As a testament to that, Golf Digest rates us at 4½ stars. Players come back here year after year, and they have since 1994."
Palmer gives players a break early in the round with a scoring chance on the opening hole. Playing uphill at just 349 yards from the tips, driver and a wedge will give most players a chance at birdie. But the green is uphill, so be aware of flag position before hitting that second shot.
After a long par-3 second hole (223 yards from the tips), the roller-coaster ride begins with holes rising, falling and winding through rugged canyons. It's an amazing ride made better when players check out the perfect course conditions and well-manicured greens (if you three-putt here, you better start looking for a greens-reading class because these babies are true).
The par-5 fifth hole may be one of the finest golf holes anywhere. Playing just 540 yards from the tips, it is reachable in two with a good drive.
But it's the drive up to the hole that will amaze players as they will see a golf hole that is as visually stunning as it is challenging. Standing on an elevated tee, players will take aim at a narrow fairway from 100 feet below. Fairway bunkers must be avoided for those laying up with their second shots, but this is a definite birdie hole.
"The hole basically looks toward Vegas," Tickner said. "The Black Mountains are to the left and to the right is Flat Top Mesa. It's just a great view." But there is trouble. "The fairway is wider than players think," he added. "But the desert definitely gobbles up a lot of balls left and right."
The 17th and 18th holes, a pair of par 4s, feature deep-blue ponds that will force players to take a deep breath before going flag-hunting. These two holes can definitely make or break a round and need to be played smartly. Flags near the water need to be avoided. Play for the middle of the green and take your chances with the flatstick.
"No. 18 is definitely a tough driving hole," Tickner said. "There is OB left and a lake on the right. Once you're in the fairway, that lake juts back out into the fairway in front of the green and circles (to the right) all the way around the green."
In other words: Be precise with approach shots.
This isn't your usual burgers and hot dogs shack. Oasis Golf Club's Grille Room is comfortable and offers a wide variety of dining options -- food and spirits. Reminisce about the round or talk about tomorrow's round at the Canyons Course at Oasis, the sister course to the Palmer Course.
Forget something? Chances are they'll have what you need in the clubhouse. From golf shoes to shirts to slacks to clubs to clothing, the Oasis Golf Club features all the name brands at great prices. And with the desert coming into play early and often in the round, an extra sleeve of golf balls just may come in handy.
This is a no-brainer. With 36 holes to choose from, the Oasis Golf Club is a golf mecca by itself. Store your clubs overnight and play both courses over a two-day stay for a great golf experience. "The Palmer Course is still the favorite," Tickner said. "But we get a lot of players who like to do the one-stop shopping deal and play both courses."
November 1, 2010