Primm Valley: more than a rest stop on the way to Sin City

By Murray Anderson, Contributor

PRIMM, Nev. - Interstate 15 is the main highway for the countless SoCal residents who make the quick jaunt to Vegas each weekend. But about five years ago some of these drivers began to notice they may not need to go all the way to Sin City to get a quick fix of gambling and golf.

45 minutes south of Vegas is the town of Primm, which lies just inside the Nevada border. Today, three casinos and 36 holes of Tom Fazio at the Primm Valley Golf Club attempt to lure the Vegas dollar to the middle of nowhere, where there's nothing but weeds and desert in all directions.

The three hotel-casinos in Primm, along with the Fashion Outlet mall and the Primm Valley Golf Club, make for a quick getaway for Las Vegas residents and an early stop for California vacationers.

"We are definitely more of a golf destination where golfers come to stay and play," said Tom Delaney, head golf professional at Primm Valley. "It is a perfect place to spend a couple days. We've got the outlet mall giving the wives something to do and two great courses here for the golfers. And in the evening there are great restaurants and shows in the casinos."

The club also caters to resort guests by offering a considerable discount on greens fees.

The Lakes Course

Primm Valley opened its highly acclaimed Fazio-designed Lakes Course in 1997 and brought him back for an encore in 1999.

The par-71 Lakes Course plays 6,945 yards from the black tees and 6,008 yards from the white tees. From the forward green tees the course stretches 4,842 yards.

No. 2 on the Lakes is a par 5,530-yard hole that features water tee to green along the left side. But Fazio left enough room on the right side landing area for those playing cautious off the tee box. A long bunker stretches along the left side of the fairway and another small bunker guards the front of the green, advising brave souls not to try this green in two shots.

No. 10 on the Lakes (aptly named "Temptation") figures to be the most exciting hole on the Lakes for a lot of foursomes passing through. This hole is risk/reward all the way. A drivable 347-yard dogleg left from the back tees, but a big hitter can reach the green with a good poke, but the closer to the green, the more danger awaits you, including a steep slope leading down to water if you come up short. Bunkers dot the right hand side, leaving little room for a safe bailout.

"You know, if you've been driving the ball well on the front nine you should certainly go for it," Delaney said. "It's probably 280 yards to get it to the green but be careful of the landing area in front of the green. It's real steep and you might not be able to see the flag from down there."

The finishing hole on the Lakes is aimed at leaving a lasting impression as one of the most picturesque on the property. The 451-yard, par 4 has water on the right side at the landing area and two bunkers on the left side. A bunker guards the right side of the green.

All the holes on the Lakes Course are lined by lush foliage and, like most Fazio-designed courses, have the cart paths hidden from sight when viewed from the tee.

"The Lakes is very forgiving off the tee, but the undulating greens and water makes it tough," Delaney said. "And with the back nine on the Lakes, you're going to have to play some good golf to get a good score."

The Desert Course

The newer Desert Course is a par 72 measuring 7,131 yards from the black tees, 6,085 yards from the white and 5,397 yards from the front tees. Desert course it may be, but it can't be associated with a "target" golf label so many Arizona and Vegas desert layouts are dubbed.

"It is really just desert in name only," Delaney said. "You can step on any tee box and it will be fun and challenging. Fazio realized that people are coming here for a golf experience and not to be playing their ball out of the desert all day."

The opening hole on the Desert is a par 4, 433-yard slight dogleg left around water. The fairway is extremely narrow about 100 yards from the green with bunkers on both the right and left side. A bunker also guards the left side of the green.

No. 2 is a par 4, 435-yard hard dogleg left, also around water. Cutting the hole short by hitting the drive left as a host of bunkers awaits the ball along the left side of the landing area is a very appealing thought, although probably foolish. The second shot from this spot must be played over water that shoots out in front of the green.

The 10th on the Desert is straight, but deceiving. The par 4, 473-yard hole looks to be downhill but once you find yourself in the landing zone, the green is above the fairway, leaving a quasi-blind approach, and a hidden bunker to the right.

"They are definitely two unique courses," Delaney said. "Golfers will get a different experience each day. You get two distinct different feelings after playing both courses."

"We are catering to the resort guest," Delaney said. "If you break a club while out here in the afternoon, we'll take care of it and have it ready for you when you come back to play the next course the next day."


The three resorts in Primm, NV, are the Primm Valley Resort & Casino, Buffalo Bills and Whiskey Pete's. Eleven restaurants at these locations, thrill rides, entertainment and shopping. The Fashion Outlet, adjacent to the Primm Valley Resort, features upscale stores including DKNY, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Williams Sonoma Marketplace.


Primm is located along Interstate 15 at the Primm exit. The golf course is located four miles from Primm in California and can be accessed by exiting at Yates Well Road.

Murray Anderson, Contributor

Murray Anderson attended Imperial Valley College for two years and then California State University, Fullerton. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications in 1992 with an emphasis in journalism. He began his journalism career at the Imperial Valley Press newspaper as a sports writer and later became a full-time news writer, then sports writer and eventually sports editor.

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