LITTLEFIELD, Ariz. -- Las Vegas is known for its variety of golf courses. You've got plenty of resort-style layouts as well as a number of desert-style designs.
But one golf course, -- The Palms Golf Club up near Mesquite, Nev., an hour north of Las Vegas -- has both of those designs weaved together in one 18-hole layout.
"The Palms was the first golf course built in Mesquite," Director of Golf Scott Sullivan said about The Palms. "They played the Nevada Open on it, and it was a very prestigious golf course."
The Palms Golf Club, which opened in 1990, has a front nine that's a rolling, resort-style course. Palm-lined fairways, numerous ponds and a plethora of bunkers test golfers' accuracy.
On the back nine, prepare for desert golf at its finest. Massive elevation changes help give golfers a completely different feel.
The course plays 7,008 yards from the tips, but it's also female friendly at 5,016 yards from the forward tees.
"We can stretch it out to almost 7,500 yards," Sullivan said with a laugh. "We can really give them a test."
The Palms Golf Club's resort nine has water features on seven of the nine holes. That should grab players' attention right from the start.
The first three holes, a par 4, a par 5 and a par 3, are all very scoreable -- if players think before they swing. Play for position -- and to the center of the green on the par 3 -- and you've got a chance to start your round on a very positive note. Try to bite off more than you can chew, however, and water, bunkers and trees will definitely come into play everywhere on the front nine.
On the back comes the roller-coaster ride. Tee shots will come from elevated tees to greens below -- sometimes as much as 120 feet.
The 14th (a 190-yard par 3 with a tee shot that must cross a deep desert arroyo) and the 15th (a 507-yard par 5 that features a tee shot that drops some 120 feet to the fairway below) highlight a back nine that is both memorable and challenging.
The 14th is all carry over the arroyo. Come up short and you'll face a long walk down to your ball and then a second shot some 70 feet to the green above. Players won't be able to see the flag (or the green for that matter) so hitting the green is paramount.
"It's almost like an island green," Sullivan said. "And we have a back tee that almost no one sees. It can play to 230 yards, and it's all carry to the green. If you want a challenge, that's it."
That hole is quite the challenge, but it's just an appetizer compared to what's next.
The 15th is a reachable par 5 -- if your tee shot finds the fairway far below. Rip it and watch as the ball hangs in the air for what seems like an eternity. But the tee shot has to be straight as lush vegetation guards both sides of the fairway. Find your mark and the second shot is into a green with bunkers left and right, but a surprisingly wide opening into the green. It's a definite scoring hole.
The clubhouse at The Palms Golf Club has the usual fare -- hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches -- and the variety of menu items will satisfy any appetite.
"We've got the best burgers in town," Sullivan said. "And the patio is a great place for your group to relax and watch the action on the 17th hole."
The par-4 17th is just 364 yards from the tips. An elevated tee gives players a great look at this golf hole as players must avoid two bunkers and two ponds. Accuracy off the tee -- as well as with the second shot -- is a must if players are looking for a birdie putt.
In the pro shop, players will find an array of clothing options along with sunscreen and an ample supply of golf balls (which can come in handy on the back nine).
It's not often players get the chance to tee it up on two distinctly different layouts -- on the same course. The variety of holes, the challenges and the views make this one course that will appeal to everyone in your group.
"Don't judge a book by its cover," Sullivan said. "It may look a little flat, but it's a very challenging golf course. It's a golf course that's a lot of fun for everyone."
June 13, 2014