CasaBlanca Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada mixes wetlands with desert surroundings
MESQUITE, Nev. -- Wetlands and the desert don't usually go together, but at CasaBlanca Golf Club, they mesh wonderfully.
Cal Olson's 7,011-yard masterpiece definitely fits well in the desert, but the layout winds though the wetlands, bringing water features into play on seven of the 18 holes -- including a five-hole stretch from Nos. 7 to 11 that can make or break your round.
"It's an affordable, beautiful desert golf course that also has a lot of water features," said Head Professional Mary Ochs. "It's challenging but very playable, and it's always in superb shape."
One bit of advice: Don't bite off more than you can chew. From the tips, this golf course is quite the challenge, even at just more than 7,000 yards. After an opening hole that eases players into the round with a straightaway par 4 of less than 400 yards, CasaBlanca G.C. shows its teeth on the second hole.
Distance isn't the problem at just 505 yards from the tips on the par-5 second. But bunkers on the right test players off the tee, and then comes the dilemma: To lay up or go for it? If you decide to give it a go, avoid a pond to the right that borders the edge of a bunker guarding the green. It's a definite birdie hole -- if you play to your strength.
"It's important for players to keep the ball in play," Ochs said. "We don't have bowls on the edge of the fairways to send shots back into the fairway. If you hit bad shots here, you will be penalized. And there's lots of sand and water, so players really need to play it smart."
Do that and you'll find yourself with scoring chances on a golf course that appeals to everyone in your foursome.
Rolling the dice at CasaBlanca Golf Club
Okay, we're in Nevada, so gambling is legal. And the golf course at CasaBlanca presents a couple of opportunities to gamble. A pair of drivable par 4s -- the third hole on the front nine, at 292 yards from the tips, and the 13th on the back nine, 264 yards from the tips, encourage many players to reach for the driver. But beware, it's not always the wise choice. Both are well guarded by bunkers, and errant shots can turn a potential birdie into one of those dreaded "others" on the scorecard. The safe -- and smart -- play is usually a hybrid or long iron into the fairway, leaving a wedge into these greens.
"If you don't thread the needle with your drives," Ochs said, "you will be in one of the fairway bunkers, and those aren't easy shots."
That's the par-3 eighth hole. Playing 230 yards from the tips, it is a beast. And with bunkers, a waterfall and a pond to catch your eye, it's also a beauty. The test is to tame the beast while still appreciating the stunning beauty before you.
"It's a challenging hole," Ochs said. "Even from the forward tees, it's about 155 yards. It is just a beautiful golf hole -- but a tough one." It's also part of that five-hole stretch that plays around a huge lake, adding to the challenge.
While CasaBlanca Golf Club tops out at 7,011 yards, five sets of tees (hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades and double spades) make it playable for everyone. The hearts, or forward tees, play to 5,209 yards, so don't feel intimidated if you're just learning the game. You can play this golf course and have fun doing it.
In the clubhouse
Variety, affordability and comfort abound for players before or after the round. The menu features many golf staples as well as specials that will satisfy any appetite. And with the great weather, grab a cold one and relax on the patio and watch tackle No. 18.
"We also have a wide variety of balls, clubs and lines of clothing in the pro shop," Ochs said. "It's really one-stop shopping."
CasaBlanca Golf Club: The verdict
CasaBlanca Golf Club is one of those golf courses that looks like a pushover, but plays like something else entirely. Doglegs, wetlands, risk-reward shots and perfect bunkering turn CasaBlanca into a challenge worth taking. And large, smooth greens reveal the putting aces. Get the ball rolling on line, and you'll make your share of putts.
Now, whether you're playing for birdie or bogey depends on how smartly you played the rest of the way.
Golf Mesquite Nevada
CasaBlanca Golf Club is part of the Golf Mesquite Nevada group, which also includes Oasis Golf Club, Coyote Springs Golf Club, Conestoga Golf Club, Falcon Ridge Golf Course and the Palms Golf Club as well as Sand Hollow Resort and Coral Canyon Golf Course (both in St. George, Utah). Whether you're heading up for the day, or an extended vacation, the folks at Golf Mesquite Nevada can set you up with a golf package at any or all of the courses.
November 15, 2010